CELTIC remain seven points clear at the Premiership pinnacle after St Mirren failed to cut the gap in Paisley this afternoon.

Stephen Robinson’s side had the opportunity to redice the advantage to four if they overcame struggling Ibrox opposition, reeling after back-to-back defeats from Aberdeen and Aris and without a manager after sacking Michael Beale a week ago.

However, the hosts saw the game turn on its head when they had defender Ryan Strain red-carded as VAR stepped in to instruct referee Nick Walsh to review an incident in the box as a cross came in from the right.

PARADISE…Reo Hatate celebrates his opening goal against Kilmarnock with a little help from Kyogo Furuhashi.

The match official returned to the pitch, banished the Saints right-back and awarded the Govan club a penalty-kick. James Tavernier, a bit of a specialist in this field after scoring over half-a-century of spot-kicks, fired the visitors ahead on the half-hour mark.

The Paisley club struggled manfully to get back into the contest, but were undone when Abdallah Sima netted a second midway through the second-half and Tavernier hit a stoppage-time third to make the final score 3-0. This time he scored without the aid of a penalty-kick.

The champions made certain of remaining in pole position with their 3-1 victory over Kilmarnock at Parkhead the previous day in Brendan Rodgers’ 700th game as a manager.

Reo Hatate, Luis Palma and Greg Taylor were the Hoops’ marksman to put the Hoops on 22 points with their nearest challengers pegged on 15.

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