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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019

Bayo scores twice as Celtic keep pace with Rangers at top of Scottish Premiership

Neil Lennon’s side lead their rivals on goal difference ahead of next weekend’s Old Firm derby at Ibrox.

Celtic's Vakoun Issouf Bayo celebrates scoring his side's first goal.
Celtic's Vakoun Issouf Bayo celebrates scoring his side's first goal.
Image: Jeff Holmes

VAKOUN BAYO STRUCK twice on his first start as Scottish champions Celtic beat Hearts 3-1 on Sunday to maintain their 100% start to the season. 

Ivory Coast striker Bayo had to wait seven months for his full debut, but he made up for lost time to keep Celtic top on goal difference ahead of Rangers.

Bayo has returned to fitness following the hamstring problems which had restricted him to three substitute appearances since arriving from Slovakian side Dunajska Streda in January.

The 22-year-old showed his predatory instincts to get the final touch to crosses from James Forrest and Kristoffer Ajer.

Between those goals, Callum McGregor added a long-range effort as Celtic made it 15 goals from their opening three league matches.

Fraser Forster also came into the Celtic side after rejoining the club on loan from Southampton and the goalkeeper saved Conor Washington’s 81st-minute penalty, only for the Northern Ireland international to net the rebound.

Irish international Glenn Whelan played the full 90 minutes in the Hearts midfield, heightening the likelihood of his playing in Ireland’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland on Thursday week. 

Earlier today, Borna Barisic’s 25-yard free-kick gave Rangers a battling 1-0 win over St Mirren. 

It means both Celtic and Rangers have made perfect starts to the title race, with three victories each to set the stage for the first Old Firm derby of the season at Ibrox next weekend.

- © AFP, 2019

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