Celtic take five-point lead in Scotland
Scottish champions Celtic opened up a five-point gap on arch-rivals Rangers with a 2-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead on Saturday, CNN reported..
Paul Hartley's first goal for Celtic in front of his home fans helped Celtic past 10-man Motherwell with his fine strike just before the break.
The former Hearts player had previously only scored at Spartak Moscow and Dundee United since arriving from Tynecastle in January 2007, but his 20 meter effort was a welcome breakthrough.
Celtic, who held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in a Champions League thriller in midweek, were understandably a little below their best for much of the match against spirited opposition.
But their cause was helped by the sending off of visiting striker David Clarkson in the 57th minute for a push in the face of substitute Paul Caddis, on for Shaun Maloney.
Australian international and former Motherwell player Scott McDonald scored the second from the edge of the box in the 70th minute to cement the three points.
However, Celtic are facing an injury crisis, with manager Gordon Strachan saying that he has the equivalent of a full team out.
Japan's Shunsuke Nakamura is the latest to join the list with a knee injury.
"It's not easy but they are sticking to their job and doing well," Strachan said. "I was very pleased with them because it was a hard game."
Rangers, who play Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Sunday, can cut the gap to two points with a victory, but have been in indifferent recent form.
In other matches on Saturday, Inverness Caledonian Thistle beat Hibernian 2-1 at Easter Road with goals from Don Cowie and Ian Black.
Hamilton and Falkirk played out a 1-1 draw while Dundee United held on to third place by beating Aberdeen 2-1 at home.
Hearts won 1-0 at St Mirren with a late goal from Eggert Jonsson.