Scottish Premier League Roundup, Feb. 20

BY foxsports • February 20, 2011

Celtic increased its lead over Rangers in the Scottish title race by coasting to a 3-0 victory over the champions in the Old Firm derby on Sunday.

Gary Hooper scored twice in the first half and Kris Commons netted from 25 meters (yards) in the 70th minute.

Celtic has an eight-point lead over Rangers, which has won the last two Scottish Premier League titles.

"I know Rangers have two games in hand but the shift is that we are now in control of our own destiny," Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. "I felt at times last year that the mentality was weak. We would score against them and then concede but I think now there is a greater belief among the squad that we can go on and achieve something.

"It was a real acid test of them today and I thought we were fantastic. It was an all-round great performance under tremendous pressure."

Celtic took the lead after 17 minutes when Commons supplied the pass for Hooper, who beat defender David Weir for pace before shooting past Allan McGregor in the Rangers goal.

Nikica Jelavic tried to equalize quickly but the Rangers striker hooked the ball.

And Hooper was on target again in the 28th. Georgios Samaras started the move by releasing Emilio Izaguirre on the left and he whipped the ball into the feet of Hooper to fire home.

"Hooper gave them all sorts of problems," Lennon said. "His touch for the first goal was world class. He is technically brilliant and as strong as an ox. At 22 we've got a real player."

In the second half, Hooper turned provider for Commons, who sent a swerving shot past McGregor into the back of the net.

"Commons is a very intelligent player," Lennon said. "He picks the right pass and he can go by people. He has a real eye for goal. It's something we've not had, a goalscoring midfield player."

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