Advantage Celtic again. Two thumping wins for the Old Firm clubs keep Neil Lennon's side as favourites to win the Scottish Premier League as Celtic followed Rangers' 5-0 success at Motherwell on Saturday with a regulation victory of their own yesterday. They are now a point behind, with a game in hand on Rangers after a comfortable 4-1 win over Dundee United at Celtic Park.
Gary Hooper's close-range strike after 23 minutes gave Lennon's side the lead and second-half goals from Beram Kayal, Kris Commons and substitute Daryl Murphy sealed the win. United substitute Johnny Russell grabbed a consolation goal for the Taysiders before Murphy struck deep in stoppage-time.
It was a convincing performance from the home side, who could go top of the table on Wednesday when they travel to Inverness for their game in hand over the Ibrox men. Celtic have four games to play – Rangers have three – and it is not until 15 May that they both play on the same day.
Lennon said: "I thought it could have been more than four [goals yesterday], comfortably. There were some great performances from some individual players but the team as a whole was superb."
In the 23rd minute, the visitors succumbed to Celtic's pressure but it was Dundee United captain Garry Kenneth whose carelessness gifted possession to Anthony Stokes wide on the left. The Irishman hesitated at first but then set up Hooper with a pass across the six-yard box that allowed the striker to score.
It took Celtic until the 54th minute to extend their lead, Kayal arrowing in a wonderful shot from 30 yards.
In the 84th minute, Commons drove in number three from 10 yards out, after good work from substitute Shaun Maloney. Russell grabbed a late consolation for the visitors before Murphy restored the margin of victory with a fine solo goal.
Man of the Match Kayal.
Referee I Brines (Scotland).