Strachan plays down row

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Gordon Strachan, the Celtic manager, played down an unseemly spat between his captain, Neil Lennon, and his striker Aiden McGeady at the end of the 2-1 win at Dunfermline yesterday.

The Hoops were two goals to the good before Stephen Simmons hit a Pars consolation in injury time. That goal sparked an angry confrontation between Lennon and McGeady before the Celtic midfielder Evander Sno and Owen Morrison, of Dunfermline, parted the players.

However, the Celtic manager insisted that the clash was merely the result of professional pride. "It is fear of getting beaten and letting goals in," Strachan said. "You have to have that fear not to let anything slip or let goals in and be annoyed every time you concede."

Celtic are top of the league with 47 points from 18 games while Rangers lag behind on 31 following their 3-0 win over Hibernian on Saturday thanks to first-half goals from Dado Prso, Libor Sionko and the captain, Barry Ferguson. "It was a brilliant first half and our best performance of the season," the Rangers manager, Paul Le Guen, said.

The Croatian striker Prso grabbed the first goal from a Nacho Novo pass on 15 minutes before his Czech Republic compatriot Sionko slotted home the second. Ferguson added the third with a back header.

The two Glasgow clubs meet next Sunday at Ibrox in a match which, even though the season is only four months old, is unlikely to have any impact on the destination of the title.

Aberdeen are third in the League following their 2-1 win over Falkirk, and now await crucial encounters with Hearts and Rangers ahead of Christmas, before playing Kilmarnock and Dundee United.