Celtic went two points clear of Rangers again at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with a nervy 2-1 win over Dundee United at Parkhead.
First half goals by striker Gary Hooper and midfielder Victor Wanyama gave the home side a comfortable interval lead but Tannadice midfielder John Rankin pulled a goal back five minutes after the break.
It was an uneasy second half for Neil Lennon's side but they did enough to leapfrog the champions who had beaten St Johnstone 2-1 at McDiarmid Park earlier in the day.
In the eighth minute Hoops goalkeeper Fraser Forster had to make a good save from United defender Garry Kenneth's drive from 12 yards after Gary Mackay-Steven's cross from the left found its way to the back post.
However, United found themselves two goals down in the space of five minutes.
In the 12th minute Hooper drove the home side into the lead after a swift Celtic break all too easily cut open the United defence following a mistake by Sean Dillon. The Parkhead striker ran onto an incisive pass from Anthony Stokes before confidently sending a right-footed shot past Dusan Pernis from 14 yards.
Five minutes later Wanyama, who picked up his Clydesdale Bank Premier League young player of the month award for December on Friday, rose highest in the United defence following a short corner between Georgios Samaras and Emilio Izaguirre to head the latter's cross past Pernis.
In the 41st minute a decent move involving Johnny Russell, John Rankin and Mackay-Stevens ended with skipper Jon Daly sending a drive from 25 yards just past Forster's left-hand post.
It looked like the afternoon might turn into a Celtic procession but in the 50th minute United found themselves back in the game when Rankin's long-distance drive sped past Forster and went in off the post.
Forster had to make a great save from Daly's close-range header after United defender Paul Dixon got clear down the left to deliver a great cross but the Hoops held on in a tense finale.
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer
- Sports & Recreation