Celtic pulls within four points of Rangers

Gary Hooper scored a hat trick as Celtic 0 win over St. Mirren on Saturday at Parkhead.

Georgios Samaras opened the scoring inside 5 minutes, and Hooper followed with the first of his three goals in the 8th minute. Hooper notched his other goals early after halftime, scoring in the 53rd and 57th.

Dylan McGeouch capped the scoring in the 72nd as Celtic won for the fifth time in its last six during the unbeaten run.

Celtic trailed Rangers by 12 points entering last weekend, but a victory over Inverness coupled with a Rangers draw, then a midweek win over Dunfermline put the club in position put the pressure on the idle leaders.

Rangers visits Kilmarnock on Sunday, when it must maintain its unbeaten record to spoil Celtic's huge stretch of three wins in just eight days.

St. Mirren was unbeaten in three with a pair of wins in that stretch, but sits 19 points back of Rangers after its sixth loss of the season.

Dunfermline 3, Aberdeen 3

Dunfermline, Scotland - Josh Magennis scored 2 minutes from time as Aberdeen escaped East End Park with a 3-3 draw on Saturday to end a three-match losing streak in the Scottish Premier League.

Andrew Considine opened the scoring just before halftime for Aberdeen, and the teams combined for five goals in the second half.

Dunfermline turned the deficit into a 3-1 lead on goals from Andrew Barrowman, David Graham, and Liam Buchanan, but an own goal pulled Aberdeen with one and Magennis notched the tying goal with a shot to the bottom left.

Aberdeen moved one point off the bottom, while Dunfermline is two points clear of the last spot.

Hearts 2, Inverness 1

Edinburgh, Scotland - Eggert Jonsson scored in the 76th minute as Hearts edged Inverness, 2-1, on Saturday at Tynecastle Stadium to snap a four-match winless run in the Scottish Premier League.

Rudi Skacel opened the scoring early in the second half for Hearts before Ross Tokely tied the match on 58 minutes. Jonsson added the winner with a header to the upper-left corner, as Hearts escaped with the home win.

Inverness lost for the fourth time in its last six, and remained at the bottom of the standings on just 12 points from 16 matches. Hearts is fifth, but still 17 points behind first-place Rangers.

Motherwell 0, Dundee United 0

Motherwell, Scotland - Third-place Motherwell played to a 0-0 draw at Fir Park against Dundee United on Saturday, as it picked up just a single point on idle leaders Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.

Motherwell had won five of its last seven to stay within reach of Rangers and Celtic, but Rangers can move 12 points clear Sunday when it visits Kilmarnock, and Celtic defeated St. Mirren to move five points clear in second.

Dundee had won two of its last three, but settled for its sixth draw this year in the windy conditions in Motherwell, and is 21 points off the top in seventh place.

St. Johnstone 3, Hibernian 1

Perth, Scotland - Francisco Sandaza, Marcus Haber and Dave Mackay scored in a 10-minute stretch bridging the first and second halves as St. Johnstone downed Hibernian, 3-1, on Saturday at McDiarmid Park in the Scottish Premier League.

St. Johnstone snapped a three-match winless skid, and extended Hibernian's run without a victory to four matches.

Richard Towell scored for Hibernian, which is just two points above the bottom of the standings. St. Johnstone is in fourth place, seven points behind third- place Motherwell.