Celtic 2-0 St Mirren

By Kheredine IdessaneBBC Scotland at Celtic Park

Celtic moved four points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League with victory against St Mirren.

Victor Wanyama fired the hosts in front from Charlie Mulgrew's corner on the quarter-hour mark.

Mikael Lustig went close for Celtic after the break, crashing a header against the St Mirren crossbar.

Mulgrew's curling free-kick slipped past the post before Gary Hooper sealed all three points for Neil Lennon's side with a tap-in late in the match.

It was Celtic's first win at home in the league in over two months, and just the result the club was looking for as the focus now moves onto Friday's draw for the Champions League last-16.

It was one-way traffic for most of the match, with Celtic forcing a corner-count into double figures before the interval, and the home side claiming for at least five penalties, two of which Lennon felt should definitely have been given.

Celtic had something to show for all their pressure and possession after just 15 minutes.

Mulgrew's corner was met by Wanyama's powerful header, and despite a fine save from Craig Samson in the Saints' goal, the Kenyan immediately despatched the rebound for his seventh goal of the season.

The St Mirren keeper was also called into action by Georgios Samaras, as he dived low to his right to palm away the Greek striker's shot. Before that, Samaras had curled a fine effort just wide.

The hosts should have been enjoying a two-goal lead five minutes after the break when a Samaras cross was headed down to Scott Brown by Hooper.

But the Celtic captain's diving header was somehow saved by Samson right on his own goal-line.

Another Brown effort was blocked away shortly afterwards as Celtic sought the second goal their play promised.

It was almost delivered by Swedish defender Mikael Lustig just after the hour but he headed Mulgrew's corner off the crossbar.

Would Celtic regret all these near misses? There were a few home hearts in mouths when keeper Fraser Forster was forced to make his first meaningful save to keep out John McGinn's low shot.

But, after Mulgrew flashed a free kick narrowly wide for Celtic, the second goal they craved duly arrived seven minutes from time.

Again it was from a corner, again the Saints defence failed to clear; and this time Hooper was on hand to lift the ball high into the net from just a couple of yards out.

The striker passed up the chance to grab a double in the closing seconds when Samson saved his low shot, but the points were already safe.

So, Celtic's attention now turns to Switzerland, and that Champions League draw.

Mulgrew says he wants a "Battle of Britain" against Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson has already been in touch with Lennon to have a nice bottle of red wine waiting if their paths do indeed cross.

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