by John Reid

Celtic and Inverness go on the goal hunt while there are contrasting fortunes for the Edinburgh sides and Rangers hit six in this week’s round-up.

Celtic overcame a poor first-half performance to beat Ross County 4-0 at Parkhead.  After a goalless first-half Celtic hit four in twenty second-half minutes, with Scott Brown, a Gary Hooper double and a strike from the returning James Forrest ensuring that Celtic are top going into Christmas,

Inverness are up to second after a 4-1 win over bottom side Dundee. The prolific Billy McKay scored twice for the SPL’s highest scorers, as Caley’s superb recent form continued.  Dundee are six points adrift of eleventh placed Ross County.

Motherwell dropped down to third after a 2-1 defeat to St. Mirren, which eased the Saints’ relegation fears.  A double from Steven Thompson was enough to give the Buddies all three points.

Aberdeen returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win over St. Johnstone, a double from the prolific Niall McGinn giving the Dons all three points in a game hampered by poor weather conditions.

Hearts beat Dundee United 2-1 with two goals form Ryan McGowan, Keith Watson pulled a goal back for United but Hearts held on to keep the points, and they now trail city rivals Hibs by only three points, after the Hibees were held 1-1 by Kilmarnock, Paul Heffernan giving Killie the lead with Eoin Doyle getting the equaliser.

Interestingly enough, five players scored two goals each in the SPL this weekend. I’m sure some tactics guru will be able to tell us the last time this happened.

The first division games have been staggered over Christmas, with neither Partick, Dunfermline or Morton in action this weekend, in the games that were played, Falkirk won 4-1 at Airdrie and Cowdenbeath and Livingston drew 1-1. In the second division, also only two games were played, with victories for second placed Alloa and East Fife.

Rangers are now nine points clear at the top of the third division after a 6-2 win at Elgin, McCulloch and Little both scored a double.

The SPL returns on Boxing Day, with top of the table Celtic visiting bottom placed Dundee, Motherwell facing Aberdeen and second placed Inverness against St. Mirren looking the most intriguing fixtures.

Finally, a Merry Christmas to all readers of the Scottish Stramash and the Daisy Cutter.