Hoops back on top

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Georgios Samaras' double helped Celtic return to the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League in style with an emphatic 3-0 win over 10-man Aberdeen at Parkhead.

Scott McDonald gave the home side a first-half lead and after Samaras scored six minutes after the break, Dons defender Jerel Ifil was sent off by referee Mike Tumilty after appearing to kick out at the Greece international as they clashed on the touchline.

In a second-half siege, Samaras bundled in his second to take the Hoops two points clear of Old Firm rivals Rangers, who won at Falkirk earlier in the day, although the Ibrox side have a game in hand.

The first effort on goal came in the 14th minutes from former Parkhead defender Charlie Mulgrew who edged towards the Celtic box with some ease before firing wide with a right-footed shot.

That spurred the Hoops into immediate action and a surging run by Danny Fox ended with Pittodrie keeper Jamie Langfield making a fine save from the left-back's shot with Andrew Considine completing the clearance.

In the 39th minute Andreas Hinkel picked up a Marc Crosas pass, burst in to the Aberdeen box and set up Australia international McDonald, who swept in from close range.

The Dons promised a more positive approach at the start of the second half but they were put in their place in the 51st minute when Samaras doubled Celtic's lead.

A needless foul by Aberdeen right-back Maurice Ross on Barry Robson at the corner flag had Aberdeen pressed back in their own box and when they failed to clear their lines from the Celtic midfielder's free-kick, McGeady floated a cross back in to the area and the Greece international steered his header past Langfield.

Four minutes later Samaras was involved in a controversial incident which saw Aberdeen reduced to 10 men when Ifil was shown a straight red card by referee Tumilty. The Hoops' striker was penalised after clashing with Ifil near the touchline but, after being alerted by his assistant referee, Tumilty sent the Pittodrie defender off, television pictures appearing to show he had kicked out at Samaras as they untangled.

It was one-way traffic and in the 75th minute Samaras raced on to a McGeady pass, held off Considine all too easily before flicking the ball past the helpless Langfield.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Jerel Ifil
Premier League
Scott McDonald
Jerel Ifil
Queens Park Rangers
Charlie Mulgrew
Barry Robson

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