Celtic 2-1 Dundee Utd

Celtic regained the top slot in the Scottish Premier League with a hard-fought win at home to Dundee United.

Gary Hooper drove the hosts into the lead in the 12th minute after Anthony Stokes split the United defence.

Midfielder Wanyama doubled the advantage five minutes later when he headed an Emilio Izaguirre cross.

Five minutes after the break, John Rankin fired in an unstoppable strike, but Celtic held out to jump two points clear at the top of the table.

Hooper was one of five changes made by Neil Lennon, with Fraser Forster, Adam Matthews, Thomas Rogne and Wanyama all in.

For the Tannadice side, defender Robbie Neilson replaced Stuart Armstrong, who started as a substitute.

In the eighth minute Forster had to make a save when United defender Garry Kenneth drove from 12 yards after Gary Mackay-Steven's cross from the left found its way to the back post.

However, United soon found themselves two goals down in the space of five minutes.

In the 12th minute Hooper drove the home side into the lead after a swift Celtic break all too easily cut open the Tannadice defence.

The Celtic striker, subject of two rejected bids so far from Southampton, ran on to an incisive pass from strike partner Stokes before sending a right-footed shot past Dusan Pernis from 14 yards.

Then, in the 17th minute, midfielder Wanyama rose highest in the United defence following a short corner between Georgios Samaras and Izaguirre, to head the latter's cross past Pernis.

United were racking up the corners, which hinted at danger, but the Celtic defence stood firm.

The hosts appeared to believe the points were already in the bag as they coasted towards the break, albeit still well in control.

In the 41st minute a decent move involving Johnny Russell, Rankin and Mackay-Steven ended with skipper Jon Daly sending a drive from 25 yards just past Forster's left-hand post.

Rogne then headed Charlie Mulgrew's inswinging corner from the right past the far post, before Pernis made a good save from Stokes' ferocious right-footed angled drive at the expense of a corner which came to nothing.

Shortly after the interval, Rankin fired United back into the game with one of his trademark squigglers that skidded in off the inside of the post with Celtic keeper Forster at full stretch.

Moments later, Daly's header was palmed away by Forster as United pushed to equalise.

Celtic soon found the tables turning as United regained some composure and sensed a chance to take something from the match.

Mackay-Steven's long range shot in the 70th minute could have levelled the scores, but it sailed over Forster's crossbar.

At the other end, a Samaras diving header landed straight in the arms of Pernis as the hosts sought to put the game beyond United.

Hooper fired a late free-kick into the Dundee United wall in the dying moments of the match, then Ki Sung-Yeung was too clever for his own good when bearing down on goal and United defender Kenneth was on-hand to clear the danger.

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