Lennon galvanises Hoops but Gers win again

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The end of Tony Mowbray's brief and unsuccessful era at Celtic arguably began with a 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock at the start of last month.

Robbie Keane was making his début for the Hoops following his loan move to his boyhood idols and the elated Celtic support began to believe that with the Republic of Ireland star in their ranks they could catch league leaders Rangers.

However such hope was short-lived with the match ending in disappointment for Keane and the Celtic faithful as another on-loan débutant Chris Maguire scored the only goal of the match for Kilmarnock to further dent the title aspirations of Mowbray's side.

With Mowbray handed his jotters following the crushing 4-0 midweek defeat to St Mirren, it seemed apt that Killie would provide the opposition for interim manager Neil Lennon in his first game in charge of the Hoops.

This time Keane's presence would not be overshadowed as the striker netted his 10th and 11th goals in 11 games to lead his side to victory. Scott Brown added a third before Craig Bryson grabbed a late and meaningless consolation for the Ayrshire outfit.

The Celts appeared galvanised by Lennon's presence in the dug-out, with his Killie counterpart Jimmy Calderwood admitting afterwards that he felt his side were “lucky to get away with 3-1.” However next week's trip to Easter Road to face Hibernian will prove a much sterner challenge for the inexperienced Celtic manager.

"Oi! Over there!"

Elsewhere, Rangers were out to rubbish the accusations that they play defensive, negative football with an all-out attacking display as they ran out 4-1 winners over Hearts. Steven Naismith continued his recent run of good form by scoring twice for the Gers, who remain 10 points ahead with two games in hand.

The performance of the day, however, could be credited to Peter Houston's Dundee United. Despite being reduced to 10 men after only 16 minutes when full-back Paul Dixon saw red, United scored three without reply against a Motherwell defence that had been breached only three times in their previous 11 matches.

Hibernian recovered from their midweek Scottish Cup exit to Ross County by running out 3-1 victors over bottom side Falkirk, while Aberdeen clung onto their faint hopes of reaching the top six with their first win in 12 matches against a jaded St Mirren.

Hamilton Accies, meanwhile, took a gigantic step towards SPL safety with a 1-0 win over St Johnstone thanks to James Wesolowski's strike to move Billy Reid's men 11 points clear of Falkirk.

Scottish Football League Round Up
Inverness Caledonian Thistle claimed top spot in the First Division with a fine 1-0 win over Partick Thistle. Ross County did their Highland neighbours a favour by scoring a late equaliser against Dundee, who are now a point behind Terry Butcher's pacesetters.

Stirling Albion got themselves back into the Second Division promotion race by handing Cowdenbeath their first defeat in eight games. League leaders Alloa Athletic also stumbled at Gayfield Park with a goalless draw against Arbroath.

Livingston's march towards the Third Division title continued with a 1-0 win over Queen's Park. The Livi Lions only need six points from their remaining eight matches to secure the title.

It's been a good week for... Terry Butcher. Not so long ago it looked like nobody could catch Dundee in the First Division title race but Inverness have toppled the Dens Park side as the league draws to an exciting climax.

It's been a bad week for... Tony Mowbray, obviously. A disastrous 4-0 defeat to St Mirren ended Mowbray's time in charge at Celtic Park and it is now up to interim boss Neil Lennon to rouse the Hoops.

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