Celtic FC's John Hartson scored four goals in a 7-0 rout of Aberdeen FC on Sunday as his side kept pace with Scottish Premier League leaders Rangers FC.
Rangers had stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points with a 3-0 away win against Dundee FC 24 hours earlier. But inspired by Wales international Hartson, Celtic responded with a comprehensive victory over Aberdeen to narrow the gap once again to a single point.
Hartson's 25th-minute header sparked the win and the same player made it 2-0 with a tap-in nine minutes later. Henrik Larsson's free-kick three minutes before the interval put the game beyond Ebbe Skovdahl's side and Hartson's lob after 51 minutes was a fitting way to mark his hat-trick.
Balde on target
Defender Dianbobo Balde's powerful drive midway through the second half was followed by Hartson's fourth from Mohamed Sylla's cross. Shaun Maloney's swerving free-kick four minutes from the end completed the scoring spree.
Three for Rangers
While Celtic continued their fine form, Rangers showed no signs of wilting under the pressure of being top. Dundee were already trailing to Robert Malcolm's 30th minute strike when Georgia international Zurab Khizanishvili was sent-off for a hauling back Ronald de Boer as he bore down on goal.
Predictably the ten men could not contain Rangers after half-time and Peter Lovenkrands and Craig Moore popped up with headed goals to ensure the Ibrox side remained top after 13 games of the campaign.
Joy for Hearts
The bragging rights for the city of Edinburgh were taken by Heart of Midlothian FC after a spirited fightback killed off Hibernian FC. Mixu Paatelainen's 35th-minute goal from two metres was cancelled out by Kevin Mckenna and then in stoppage time Phil Stamp scored to seal a sensational win and take the Tynecastle side into third place in the table.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Dunfermline Athletic FC took the lead against Livingston FC at Almondvale, but had to settle for a point with a 1-1 draw. Craig Brewster's cool finish from 15 metres in the 47th minute was cancelled out eleven minutes from time by Livingston's Cherif Toure Maman.
United off the bottom
At the bottom end of the table Dundee United FC and Partick Thistle FC earned themselves vital wins. United's 2-1 victory came against Kilmarnock FC with a goal in stoppage time from Jim McIntyre separating the teams. Steven Thompson had put the Tannadice side ahead only for Stevie Fulton to equalise. But McIntyre's goal from close range lifted United off bottom spot.
That dubious honour now lies with Motherwell FC who lost 2-0 at Partick. Martin Hardie scored the first for the Firhill club in 30 minutes and Alex Burns scored against his former team in the 52nd minute. Scott Leitch's red card completed the misery for the financially stricken Lanarkshire side who have just nine points from 13 games.
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|Last updated: 02/02/2012 04:19 CET|
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