Lennon welcomes Rangers challenge as Celtic thrash Livingston to edge ahead

James Forrest (right) scored twice as Celtic beat Livingston 4-0 (AFP Photo/Tiziana FABI )
James Forrest (right) scored twice as Celtic beat Livingston 4-0 (AFP Photo/Tiziana FABI )

Glasgow (AFP) - Celtic manager Neil Lennon is relishing the tougher challenge being posed by Rangers this season as the Scottish champions thrashed Livingston 4-0 on Saturday to edge ahead by three points in the title race.

Steven Gerrard's men can move back on level terms at the top of the Scottish Premiership with victory at Hamilton on Sunday.

"You either relish it or fear it," said Lennon. "So relish it. It's great.

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"Maybe it's something new for some of the players but I think they are taking on the challenge well and I think the fans are enjoying it as well."

Celtic are aiming for a record-equalling ninth straight Scottish title and made it eight consecutive wins in all competitions since they lost to Livingston last month.

Odsonne Edouard put the Hoops ahead in the 19th minute with his 10th league goal of the season before Scott Brown's deflected effort made it 2-0 just before the hour mark.

James Forrest then struck twice to round off the scoring.

"The football was superb and it was a very comprehensive win against a tough team to beat at times," added Lennon.

Jack Ross' first game in charge of Hibernian ended in a 3-1 victory over Motherwell at Easter Road.

Liam Polworth had put the visitors in front before a quickfire double from Christian Doidge and Florian Kamberi turned the game on its head inside the opening 25 minutes.

Substitute Daryl Horgan made sure of the three points with four minutes remaining as Motherwell missed the chance to go third.

Caretaker boss Austin MacPhee's chances of landing the Hearts job on a permanent basis suffered a body blow as his side conceded three times in the opening 16 minutes to lose 3-0 at Kilmarnock.

Chris Burke scored twice either side of an Eamonn Brophy goal to hand Killie their first league win in four games.

St Mirren moved off the bottom of the table as Sam Foley's first goal for the club secured a 2-1 win over Ross County.

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