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Rangers start fast and crush Motherwell, Celtic ease past Hibs

Glasgow (AFP) – James Tavernier and Cedric Itten both scored twice as Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers crushed Motherwell 5-1, while Celtic ran out 3-0 winners over third-placed Hibernian on Sunday.

Having not had a Premiership penalty in exactly 11 months, Rangers found themselves with two inside 26 first-half minutes at Fir Park.

Tavernier tucked both away as he extended his scoring streak to six goals in six games.

Jordan Jones made the most of his first league start since August 2019 as he curled home his first Rangers goal.

Cedric Itten then opened his Rangers account with a late double for Steven Gerrard’s side.

George Edmundson’s late own goal was little consolation for Motherwell, who remain just one point above the foot of the table.

“I’m very pleased with the performance, I thought our standards throughout the game were top,” said Gerrard, who was happy to secure the three points early on ahead of Galatasaray’s visit to Ibrox in the Europa League on Thursday.

“We got comfortable in the game pretty early when we scored the third goal and I was happy that the level never dropped.

“Goals are coming from different areas. The pleasing thing as a manager is that everyone’s chipping in and getting goals.”

Celtic remain just one point behind their Glasgow rivals with a game in hand after one of their more convincing performances of the season so far.

Odsonne Edouard was left on the bench by Neil Lennon for the second consecutive weekend with speculation surrounding the French under-21 international’s future.

But the Hoops never looked back after Callum McGregor’s long-range effort arrowed into the bottom corner after just seven minutes.

Albian Ajeti then scored for the fifth time in six league appearances since his move from West Ham as he tucked home the rebound after Mohamed Elyounoussi’s initial effort was parried by Ofir Marciano.

Celtic have injury concerns ahead of a trip to Sarajevo for their playoff round of Europa League qualification as Ajeti had to be replaced by Edouard before Ryan Christie also came off at half-time.

But Elyounoussi rounded off a sixth consecutive league win for the Scottish champions from David Turnbull’s through ball 11 minutes from time.

Aberdeen moved to within two points of Hibs with two games in hand in the race to be the best of the rest behind the Glasgow giants with a 3-0 win at Ross County.

Marley Watkins opened the scoring with his first goal for the Dons before two Lewis Ferguson penalties punished County after Iain Vigurs was sent-off.

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