Lennon slams sloppy Celtic after unbeaten run comes to an end

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The Independent Football

Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, condemned his team after their 2-0 defeat at Motherwell led to their lead at the top of the table being reduced to five points after Rangers' 4-0 home victory over St Johnstone.

"We never got a foothold in the game," said Lennon. "They looked the hungrier side. We were poor defensively, were were poor in midfield, we were poor going forward. It was a bad day." John Sutton scored both the goals for Motherwell to end Celtic's unbeaten run of 17 games.

Sutton acted upon a mistake from defender Charlie Mulgrew to score early on and Motherwell made sure of the points in the 49th minute when they were awarded a penalty. The referee, Euan Norris, adjudged Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre to have tripped Keith Lasley in the area, and Sutton slotted home from 12 yards.

Rangers' win against St Johnstone was helped by Nikica Jelavic's double, Kyle Lafferty and Sasa Papac scoring in between the Croat's efforts to give themselves hope in the title race.

The Aberdeen manager, Craig Brown, expressed his delight with his side's defence after they drew 0-0 with Hearts on Saturday. "Three clean sheets in a row against reasonably difficult teams [is] the most pleasing aspect," said Brown, whose side have not conceded in 270 minutes of playing time.

Dundee United could have earned more than a 1-1 draw with Hamilton Academical, according to United's manager, Peter Houston. "It was two points dropped when you look at the chances we had. We should have been four up. That's no exaggeration," said Houston. Mickael Antoine-Curier's penalty was equalised by a late header from United's Andis Shala, as Hamilton were unable to record their first home win of the campaign.

Hibernian manager Colin Calderwood hailed his team's perseverance after they defeated Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2-0. "It's the fruition of keeping going and keeping the basics the same," Calderwood said. Hibernian triumphed courtesy of goals from Callum Booth and Lewis Stevenson.

If Kilmarnock finished sixth it would be "like winning a title", claimed their head coach, Mixu Paatelainen, after his side won 2-0 against St Mirren at Rugby Park. William Gros and Alexei Eremenko got the goals for the fourth-placed side.