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36-year-old Jermain Defoe's hat-trick sends Rangers to top of Scottish Premiership

Steven Gerrard’s side move into pole position for the first time this season.

Jermain Defoe with the matchball.
Jermain Defoe with the matchball.
Image: Jeff Holmes

JERMAIN DEFOE’S hat-trick blasted Rangers to the top of the Scottish Premiership as their 5-0 thrashing of Hamilton took advantage of Celtic’s shock loss at Livingston on Sunday.

Defoe’s goal-blitz helped Steven Gerrard’s side move into pole position for the first time this season.

Former Tottenham forward Defoe opened the scoring at Ibrox before Connor Goldson’s header and a Borna Barisic free-kick increased the lead.

It was Defoe who completed the rout with two more second-half goals as Rangers moved two points clear of champions Celtic.

Earlier on Sunday, Celtic were rocked by Livingston’s first-ever victory over the Glasgow club, as the hosts won 2-0.

It meant Neil Lennon’s side lost for the first time in the Scottish Premiership this season.

“You can’t panic but I am expecting better. I did tell them before the game that the fixture was a concern,” Lennon said.

“It’s a dangerous opponent in a dangerous environment. I knew Livi would be well up for it and they were. It is a poor result.”

Celtic were in trouble when midfielder Ryan Christie received a straight red card in the 26th minute for a reckless challenge on Scott Robinson.

Robinson fired Livingston ahead two minutes into the second half before Lyndon Dykes added the second in the 73rd minute.

A 1-1 draw at Hibernian last week was the first time Celtic had dropped points this term. Once again they were well below their best.

It was only the second defeat in 20 games for Celtic this campaign. They now have to wait until the end of the international break to make amends.

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The sodden artificial surface proved to be a leveller and the home side, all hustle and bustle, came close in the 12th minute when defender Jon Guthrie side-footed a cut-back from Nicky Devlin past the post from six yards.

The game’s complexion changed when Christie went in high on Robinson in the middle of the pitch to earn a red card.

Livingston took full advantage of their numerical superiority when Robbie Crawford slipped in Robinson and he quickly fired home from 16 yards.

Lennon reshuffled and sent on Ivorian striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo for James Forrest.

Celtic’s pressure and corner count increased but a long free-kick from keeper Matija Sarkic went all the way through to Dykes.

Dykes ran past Christopher Jullien and calmly lobbed the ball over Fraser Forster for a victory which put an unexpected dent in Celtic’s title defence.

  - © AFP 2019 

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