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A Johnny Russell hat-trick hands Dundee United their first win in six at Kilmarnock, bottom side Dundee claim a point at Hibernian while Ross County reduce the gap on St Mirren

SPL

Round 23 Results
CELTIC
4 1 HEARTS
 

 MATCH REPORT



HIBERNIAN
1 1 DUNDEE
 
Dundee maintained the pressure on both Ross County and St Mirren above them with a valuable point away to Hibernian.

Barry Smith’s side still remain marooned at the bottom of the SPL, sitting nine points behind the Highland side and having played a game more.

They were handed a huge boost in the opening minutes of the as John Baird exchanged passes with former Hibernian striker Colin Nish before slotting the ball beyond Ben Williams and into the back of the net.

The home side did have chances to get level, but neither Jorge Claros nor Eoin Doyle could find a way past Rab Douglas in the Dundee goal.

Dundee could have extended their lead, but Lewis Toshney, Nish and Mark Stewart all failed to find the back of the net with their efforts, that would have handed the bottom side some breathing room.

The equaliser did come just after the half-time break, as on-loan Wolves striker Leigh Griffiths continued his impressive scoring form, whipping a free kick over the Dundee wall and past Douglas to claim a point for the Leith outfit.
INVERNESS CT
3 0 ABERDEEN
 
Inverness CT remain in second place after a thumping three-goal victory at home to Aberdeen.

With boss Terry Butcher turning down the Barnsley job to remain in the Highlands, Inverness CT handed him the perfect tonic before their League Cup semi-final clash with Hearts on Saturday.

The first half was a stalemate, with the best of the efforts coming from former Caley Thistle winger Jonny Hayes, but the Irishman couldn't find a way past Antonio Reguero.

The opener came within minutes of the restart, as Andrew Shinnie jinked his way past Aberdeen defender Russell Anderson and fired the ball beyond the arms of Jamie Langfield.

Inverness doubled their lead on the hour mark as Ross Draper found Billy McKay inside the Dons penalty area and the Northern Irish striker smashed the ball into the net from just inside the area.

The misery was further piled on the visiting fans as with a quarter of an hour left Andrew Shinnie played in McKay, who managed to claim his 20th goal of the season and secure the victory for the home side.
KILMARNOCK
2 3 DUNDEE UNITED
 
A hat-trick from Johnny Russell helped to get Dundee United back to winning ways, claiming all three points at Kilmarnock.

On the week that manager Peter Houston announced that he will be leaving at the end of the season, the Terrors claimed their first victory in six league games.

The visitors had a goal chopped off early on as Russell managed to get onto the end of a Barry Douglas free kick, but he was flagged offside.

To make matters worse for Houston’s side they went a goal down midway through the first half as Paul Heffernan knocked down a corner into the path of Manuel Pascali, who tapped home from six yards out to give the Ayrshire side the lead.

On the stroke of half-time Dundee United got level as Kilmarnock failed to properly deal with a Keith Watson cross from the right wing and that allowed Russell to smash home the equaliser.

With just over an hour gone the visitors took the lead, when yet another Watson cross from the right found Russell, who rose above the Kilmarnock defence to power home a header for his second of the game.

Late on Russell claimed his hat-trick getting the ball inside the box from Douglas and placing the ball into the net to claim all three points for the Tayside outfit.

With seconds remaining on the clock the home side reduced the deficit as skipper Pascali headed home a Borja Perez corner, but by the time they got back to the centre circle, the referee blew for full-time.
ST MIRREN
1 4 ROSS COUNTY
 
A double from new boy Ivan Sproule and strikes from Richard Brittain and Sam Morrow helped Ross County to a comfortable victory against St Mirren.

The victory sees the Highland close the gap on their Paisley rivals to one point, with Derek Adams side having two games in hand.

Staggies skipper Brittain put his summer move to St Johnstone to the back of his head to fire Ross County into the lead as he hit a stunning long range free kick past Craig Samson in the Buddies goal and into the net.

With five minutes gone in the second half St Mirren got back on level terms after some great work from David Barron set-up Stephen Thompson and the former Scotland international striker spun and blasted the ball past Mark Brown in the Ross County goal.

Barron’s day got a lot worse minutes later as his short back pass to Samson was cut out by Ross County substitute Morrow, who slotted the ball beyond the Buddies keeper to restore the lead for the visitors.

Another mistake at the back by St Mirren, from Jon Robertson saw Iain Vigurs race in and he found former Hibernian winger Sproule, who tapped home his first goal for his new club.

The victory was secured late on when Samson failed to hold onto a strike from Rocco Quinn and that allowed Sproule a simple task to claim his second of the game.

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