Leaders Celtic leave it late

Celtic remained three points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League after two late goals sealed a 4-2 victory against Hibs on Saturday.  Rangers, who have played one game less, briefly had pulled level on points with their Old Firm rivals after a Kris Boyd double and a Nacho Novo goal secured all three points in a 3-1 win over Hamilton. At Celtic Park, the home side opened up a two-goal lead with a goal from Stephen McManus and a strike from Cillian Sheridan on his first start for the club. Colin Nish pulled one back for Hibs in the first-half before Stephen Fletcher equalised but goals from Glenn Loovens and Scott Brown made sure of the points for Celtic.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan said he was pleased with his side's performance. "Goals, tackles, controversial decisions - they were all there in this match," he said. "I have been pleased with the football and performances all round this year. Our stamina and drive was phenomenal. Going to 2-2 was a mental test for them but I didn't learn anything from my players today as they have been doing that for three years now."

Hibs manager Mixu Paatelelainen thought his side deserved something from the game. "At 2-2 we had the upper hand and looked dangerous but to lose a goal with 15 minutes to go was a blow," he said. "We had one or two people not doing their jobs as well as they should have but that is the way it goes sometimes."

Celtic took the lead through McManus after 31 minutes. Shunsuke Nakamura's low corner was missed by John Rankin and the Celtic captain knockrf the ball home. Celtic doubled their lead four minutes later when Sheridan scored his first goal for the club. A back-heel pass from Scott McDonald sent the Irishman clear and he slotted home after rounding Yves Ma-Kalambay.

Hibs pulled one back five minutes before the break through Nish. The striker deflected Fletcher's stinging shot from the right wing into the net past goalkeeper Artur Boruc. Hibs equalised through a well worked goal by Fletcher after 49 minutes. Barry Robson, again asked to fill in at left-back, was beaten for pace by Ian Murray and his pass across the box was met by Fletcher who slammed the ball past Boruc.

Celtic took the lead in the 76th minute when substitute Loovens out-jumped the Hibs defence to power home a header. Maloney's corner found the Dutch defender, on for the injured McManus, who knocked the ball off the post and into the net.  Brown made sure of the points with nine minutes remaining. The midfielder scored for the second game in a row when his left-foot drive from 15 yards beat Ma-Kalambay at his near post.

At New Douglas Park a Boyd double helped Rangers to a 3-1 defeat of Hamilton.  The Accies had taken the lead through Easton before Boyd equalised from the penalty spot.  The striker then headed Rangers into a second-half lead before substitute Nacho Novo completed the scoring. First-half strikes from Darren Mackie and Lee Wallace meant the points were shared at Tynecastle between Hearts and Aberdeen.

Goals from Steve Lovell and Scott Arfield secured a 2-1 win for Falkirk over third-placed Kilmarnock. Motherwell won 2-1 away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle with goals from Chris Porter and Bob Malcolm after Adam Rooney had given the home side the lead. Late goals from Roy O'Donovan and Craig Conway gave Dundee United a 2-0 win over St Mirren at Tannadice.