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SPL wrap: Hooper, Forster step up for Celtic

By Football News



Celtic striker Gary Hooper was the difference as the defending champions edged Motherwell 1-0 at Celtic Park on Wednesday.

Hooper's goal 10 minutes from time was enough to separate the two sides and ensure Celtic heads into the winter break nine points clear atop of the SPL standings.

Celtic looked to have opened the scoring inside two minutes when Georgios Samaras found the net with a header but the assistant referee flagged for offside.

The home side bombarded the Motherwell goal throughout the first half but to no avail as Neil Lennon's men went into the break on level terms.

Celtic began the second half just as they started the opening 45 minutes, forcing the visitors onto the back foot.

However, with quarter of an hour left Motherwell were awarded a penalty as Kelvin Wilson brought down Jamie Murphy inside the area and that allowed Tom Hateley to step-up from the spot, but Fraser Forster denied the midfielder.

Celtic then made Motherwell pay minutes later as they launched a counter-attack down the left wing through Samaras, who picked out Hooper to finish from close range in the 79th minute.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Aberdeen came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Dundee United.

Scott Vernon opened the scoring for Aberdeen after 11 minutes but the visitors went into the break with a 2-1 lead thanks to Gavin Gunning and a Jamie Langfield own goal.

However, Aberdeen secured a share of the spoils thanks to Niall McGinn's brilliant free-kick eight minutes into the second half.

Meanwhile, St Johnstone edged cellar-dwellers Dundee 1-0 and St Mirren held Kilmarnock to a 1-1 draw.