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Celtic increase Scottish Premiership lead

Press Association logoPress Association 1/02/2017 Gavin McCafferty

Dedryck Boyata has headed his second goal in three games to earn Celtic a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen and send the Scottish Premiership leaders 25 points clear of closest title rivals Rangers.

The Belgian defender has seized his chance after stepping for the suspended Erik Sviatchenko against Albion Rovers and he netted his second winner in only his fifth appearance of the season.

Without a recognised striker, Celtic had toiled to break the Dons down before Boyata converted Scott Sinclair's 57th-minute free-kick, but Aberdeen had offered little sign that they could stop their hosts stretching their record unbeaten start to a domestic season to 28 games.

Brendan Rodgers had emerged from the transfer window with his team intact but he was without Socceroo midfielder Tom Rogic, Stuart Armstrong and strikers Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths through injury.

The Celtic manager experimented with his formation in their absence. Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Boyata formed a back three with James Forrest and Kieran Tierney deployed as attacking wing-backs, while Sinclair and Callum McGregor supported Patrick Roberts up front

Hearts have claimed their biggest victory over Rangers in 21 years as the Ibrox men were blown away 4-1 at Tynecastle.

Not since Allan Johnstone grabbed a Govan hat-trick in January 1996 had the Jambos routed the Light Blues by three goals.

But the hungry hosts devoured every mistake made by Mark Warburton's shambolic Gers back-line as they dished out a remarkable thrashing.

Krystian Nowak's fourth minute opener was cancelled out by Emerson Hyndman's second goal in as many games.

But Jamie Walker's second-half double either side of Don Cowie's tap-in sealed a precious victory for under pressure Jambos boss Ian Cathro.

It is just his third win since replacing Robbie Neilson but ensures his team stay in fourth place.

Rangers also cling on to second place but Mark Warburton will face more questions over his management after his defence imploded in a fashion similar to September's 5-1 Old Firm disaster.

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