SCOTTISH FOOTBALL Celtic to draw on experience

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The Independent Online
SCOTTISH FOOTBALL

BY DAVID MCKINNEY

Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager, will conclude contract talks with several key players before Friday's Tennents Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibernian. Brian O'Neil and Tony Mowbray are both expected to sign new contracts, as is Paul McStay, but the future for Charlie Nicholas and Rudi Vata seems to lie elsewhere.

Although they are 18 points behind Rangers, Celtic have lost one game less, but have drawn 17 of their 29 games this season. The latest was Saturday's game against Motherwell, which ended 1-1.

Rangers moved a step closer to the league title with a 2-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice, thanks to early goals by Gordon Durie and Alan McLaren. Aberdeen, however, must dread the closing weeks of the season, which bring with them the increasing reality of relegation.

Defeat by Kilmarnock at Pittodrie leaves the Dons vulnerable to Partick Thistle, who can leap-frog Aberdeen and move off the bottom if they beat Hearts on Tuesday.

Falkirk edged further out of the relegation equation with a 1-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle, although there was police intervention after Steve Kirk, the Falkirk striker, struck a young spectator in the face when he kicked the ball out of play to allow treatment to a team-mate.

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