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Rangers hit Hamilton for eight as Celtic revive their hopes with Motherwell win – The Guardian

Rangers hit Hamilton for eight as Celtic revive their hopes with Motherwell win – The Guardian

Rampant Rangers racked up the biggest win of Steven Gerrard’s reign as they hammered hapless Hamilton 8-0 at Ibrox.

Scott Arfield got the onslaught started as Gers struck three times in three first-half minutes to kill the game early. The Light Blues have been threatening to dish out an almighty beating for much of this season and unfortunately for Brian Rice’s basement boys, they were the team to feel the full wrath of the unbeaten Premiership leaders as Gers scored eight goals in the top-flight for the first time since 1981.

Kemar Roofe, Joe Aribo and James Tavernier all scored doubles while Brandon Barker was also on the scoresheet as Gers maintained their nine-point lead at the top.

Old Firm foes Celtic do have two games in hand but this huge win now gives Gerrard’s team a healthy advantage in the goal difference stakes, with their tally 13 better off than the Hoops.

Earlier on Sunday, Mohamed Elyounoussi responded to the distress signals coming out of Neil Lennon’s team this week with a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Motherwell at Fir Park.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon had found himself under pressure and his players heavily criticised after the painful 4-1 Europa League defeat by Sparta Prague at Parkhead on Thursday night left them with one win in the last six matches in all competitions.

However, Hoops attacker Elyounoussi, who grabbed headlines when he was spotted on his phone after being substituted against the Czech side, put Celtic in control with a first-half double.

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Well defender Declan Gallagher reduced the deficit in the 72nd minute with a fine header but Elyounoussi sealed his hat-trick three minutes later with an equally-impressive header before late second-half substitute Olivier Ntcham stroked in a fourth near the end.

Lennon had promised to make changes after the chastening Sparta defeat and under-fire defender Shane Duffy – the summer recruit from Brighton on loan – was replaced by fit-again Kristoffer Ajer, while Albian Ajeti took over from French striker Odsonne Edouard who also dropped to the bench.

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