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Celtic and Rangers win as Jermain Defoe stretchered off

Celtic won 3-0 against St Johnstone, while Rangers beat Ross County 2-0.

Celtic and Rangers win as Jermain Defoe stretchered off SNSGroup

Celtic and Rangers secured comfortable wins as they pressed on in the title race – but Steven Gerrard’s men may have been dealt a major blow after Jermain Defoe was stretchered off.

The champions strolled to a 3-0 victory against St Johnstone, with all three goals – from Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths – coming in the first 26 minutes.

Rangers made sure they didn’t lose further ground, beating Ross County 2-0, courtesy of strikes from Jermain Defoe and Scott Arfield on either side of half time.

Goalscorer: Leigh Griffiths

Defoe’s goal was an instinctive finish after a knock-on from Arfield and for the second goal, the roles were reversed as Defoe played in Arfield who finished beyond Nathan Baxter.

However, it was a significant setback for Defoe and the Ibrox side as boss Steven Gerrard saw the veteran forward pull up after chasing a ball in behind the County backline.

Stretcher: The veteran forward was forced off <strong>SNSGroup</strong>” /><span class=

The 37-year-old had to be stretchered off, which will be a concern for Gerrard, who is not inundated with options in attack.

Alfredo Morelos has been nursing a calf injury and could only make the bench at Ibrox. However, he did make an appearance for the last 22 minutes.

Asked if he was concerned about Defoe, Gerrard said: “I’m concerned now but I don’t know the extent or how long the injury’s going to keep him out.

Pulls up: Jerman Defoe felt his calf running in behind

“I don’t think it looks as bad as obviously going off on a stretcher suggests. He’s up on his feet in the dressing room and he’s walking about.

“But he’ll be scanned in the next 24 hours and I’ll know more about it then.

“He has got an injury in the calf, whether it will be a week, two, three or four, or longer, we’ll have to wait and see what the scan says.”

Gerrard said the result of the scan could “possibly” affect transfer negotiations and added: “We’ve got a couple of things brewing besides that, so it might alter a few things.

Concern: Mikey Johnston hobbled off.

“It might make us go in. I’ll speak to the doctor first thing in the morning, once he’s had a second look at it. Depending on the extent, we’ll decide from there.”

Celtic were not without injury concerns themselves, with substitute Mikey Johnston hobbling off with a knee problem in the final few minutes.

“He twisted it a bit so he will have to be assessed,” manager Neil Lennon said.

The Parkhead boss also said goalscorer Olivier Ntcham is going nowhere in the current transfer window.

“I’m delighted for Olivier. He could do that a little bit more, get in the box,” Lennon said.

Speculation: Lennon claims Ntcham is going nowhere

“He was outstanding. There is a lot of speculation around him and you could see why. He is not going anywhere.

“He is getting better and better as the season goes on. I’m a big fan of him.

“The last thing I want is good players going out of the door. If anything we want to bring players in – but that’s a difficult thing to do.

“I had a joke with him after the game, saying: ‘Did you do that for the cameras? Showing yourself out there’.

“He has played a lot under me and I thought he was terrific.”

The results mean Lennon’s men maintain a five point gap over Rangers, who have a game in hand.