McDonald brace sees Hoops home

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A Scott McDonald double in Celtic's 3-1 win over Hibernian helped the Hoops stretch their lead over Rangers at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to four points.

The Australian international slammed the home side into a third-minute lead and when skipper Stephen McManus grabbed a second from close range six minutes later, it looked all over for the Parkhead visitors.

However, Hibernian skipper Rob Jones pulled a goal back with a header in the 17th minute to give the Easter Road men a glimmer of hope but McDonald grabbed his second 15 minutes from time late to seal a deserved victory.

The home side looked in the mood to take advantage of second-placed Rangers' draw at Aberdeen earlier in the day as they stormed in to an early two-goal lead, both coming from Shunsuke Nakamura corners.

In the third minute the Japan international floated a corner in from the left and after Hibs keeper Grzegorz Szamotulski had impressively parried Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink's powerful header, McDonald was perfectly placed to bundle the rebound in from six yards.

Celtic doubled their lead in the ninth minute when Vennegoor of Hesseslink again rose to reach a Nakamura corner, the ball this time ricocheting around the six-yard box before McManus slammed the ball in from close range.

The contest seemed over but in the 17th minute, out of the blue, Hibs pulled a goal back. Following Celtic defender Gary Caldwell's handball on the left, Jones flicked Derek Riordan's in-swinging free-kick past Parkhead keeper Artur Boruc to stun the home fans.

In the 37th minute Vennegoor of Hesselink had a good chance when he took Marc Crosas's deflected pass on his chest but his volley from the edge of the box flew wide.

Two minutes later, after Hibs midfielder Sol Bamba had fouled the Dutchman 25 yards from goal, Szamotulski pulled off a great fingertip save from Nakamura's free-kick and Hibs survived the resultant corner kick.

The killer third goal finally came in the 75th minute after good work by in-form midfielder Scott Brown who burrowed his way past Lewis Stevenson on the right before cutting the ball back to McDonald who hooked it high in to the net from 12 yards.

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

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Gary Caldwell
Stephen McManus
Scott McDonald
Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink
Queens Park Rangers
Scott Brown
Grzegorz Szamotulski
Scott Brown

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