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Celtic stay three points clear of Rangers after both sides win on the road | Scottish Premiership

Written by on April 28, 2024

James Forrest hit a double on his first start for five months as Celtic maintained their lead at the top of the cinch Premiership with a 2-1 victory at Dundee.

Forrest was drafted in for only his fourth start of the season after coming off the bench to net in last weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen.

Such was Forrest’s influence at Hampden that manager Brendan Rodgers admitted he might have underused the 32-year-old this season.

And his feeling could only have grown as the winger stole the show at Dens Park to take his season tally to six goals.

Forrest volleyed home a powerful strike from 18 yards on the half-hour mark and started and finished the move that doubled the lead midway through the second half.

The victory swiftly restored Celtic’s three-point lead following Rangers’ 2-1 win at St Mirren in the early kick-off, although their goal difference advantage stayed at five after substitute Adam Idah sliced the ball into his own net as he tried to clear Antonio Portales’ shot.

Rodgers was relieved with the three points. “We were in control of the game, 2-0. When the goal goes in, it gives them a little bit of hope. You then have to show your spirit and defend your box. It was very pleasing to get over the line,” he said.

“We’ve played better at times than what we did today but it was all important to get the three points. Two great finishes [by James Forrest]. He’s one of the fathers of the great success that this club has had over the last decade. Very humble, very understated but what he has, he’s got immense quality.”

Cyriel Dessers heads home Rangers’ winner. Photograph: Euan Cherry/PA

Cyriel Dessers’ second-half header gave unconvincing Rangers a hard-fought 2-1 win to keep their Premiership title bid on track.

The Ibrox side arrived at the SMiSA Stadium without a league win in three matches and they were helped in the 32nd minute when Saints defender James Bolton put the ball in his own net attempting a goalline clearance.

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Home striker Mikael Mandron deservedly levelled with a well-placed header five minutes later and the second half was a struggle for the visitors before Dessers popped up with a powerful header in the 74th minute to seal the points.

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Afterwards the Rangers manager Philippe Clement said: “A very important three points and again it shows the mentality of this team. It is maybe not our best game of the season, but the team showed a lot of character, a lot of resilience, a lot of belief also when it was 1-1 to go for the second goal and also to go for a third.

“We need to continue this in our next four finals in the league – and the final in the cup.”

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