GLASGOW (AFP) - Dundee United and Hibernian both took advantage of the Old Firm's international break to close the gap at the top of the Scottish Premier League on Saturday.
Celtic and Rangers were given the weekend off to help Scotland prepare for their crucial Euro 2008 qualifier at home to Italy on Saturday, November 17.
And a 2-0 victory for Dundee United at home to Kilmarnock, and a 1-0 win for Hibs away to Gretna, took the two clubs level with second placed Rangers on 25 points - three behind leaders Celtic.
Dundee United had taken the lead in only the eighth minute with a left-foot shot from six-yards, after Darren Dods had headed into his path.
The Tannadice team were handed a great opportunity to finish the match when they were awarded a penalty in the 85th minute, after Killie's Ryan O'Leary fouled Ghanian Prince Bauben in the box.
In the melee that followed the home side's Jordan Robertson was sent-off for appearing to strike Killie goalkeeper Alan Combe. And Combe then recovered to make a brilliant save from Hunt's penalty kick.
But in injury time United did make sure of the three points when Hunt cut the ball back for Bauben who finished clinically from close range.
United manager Craig Levein said his side should have won more comfortably and believed Robertson's sending-off was a bit harsh.
He said: "We should have had the game dead and buried in the first half. It was incredible how much we were on top and we created some great chances.
"Killie then pushed us a bit harder in the second half but no-one could say we didn't deserve to win.
"I saw Jordan push the goalkeeper but thought it was really soft. I thought the goalkeeper had been shot the way he went down. It was a little bit silly though and Jordan knows you can't do that."
Hibs were expected to sweep bottom of the table Gretna away but they were made to struggle by the team from the Scottish Borders.
It took until the 52nd minute for John Collins side to break the deadlock when Lewis Stevenson cut the ball back from the byline for Steven Fletcher to volley home from six-yards.
And in the final SPL match on Saturday Motherwell won 3-0 away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle - who finished the match with nine men.
The visitors were ahead in the 15th minute after David Clarkson got on the end of Ross McCormack's corner, which had been flicked on by Stephen Craigan, and his right-foot effort from six-yards beat Caley goalkeeper Michael Fraser.
Caley's chances of taking anything from the game suffered a blow when they were reduced to 10 men after Graham Bayne was sent-off in the 50th minute.
Motherwell did not waste time in making the extra man count and in the 53rd minute Clarkson scored his second goal of the game, smashing the ball high past Fraser from 12-yards.
And the result was beyond doubt in the 62nd minute when Ross Tokely was given a straight red card for a rash challenge.
With only three minutes remaining Darren Smith completed the scoring, finishing beyond Fraser from 12-yards.
|Bale: I´ll never forget this year|
|Griezmann: I deserve Best Player in Europe Award|
|No surgery for Ayew as West Ham target December return|
|Villarreal did all they could to make it through - Escriba|
|Spalletti rues lack of Roma discipline|
|Conte: Chelsea must learn to kill matches|
|Watford and West Brom crash out of League Cup|
|My longest 90 minutes as a coach - Rodgers|
|AFC Champions League: Goalless draws leave quarter-finals on a knife edge|
|Klopp hopeful over Can injury|
|Champions League play-offs: Nine-man Roma crash out as Monaco edge Villarreal|
|Henderson hails ´outstanding´ Mane after Burton thrashing|
|Chelsea 3 Bristol Rovers 2: Conte´s side survive scare thanks to Batshuayi double|
|Hapoel Be´er Sheva 2 Celtic 0 (4-5 agg): Visitors survive Israeli scare|
|Burton Albion 0 Liverpool 5: Sturridge at the double in Reds rout|
|Leverkusen sign Austria star Dragovic|
|Sakho in the clear as WADA opt against appeal|
|Enyimba 3 Mamelodi Sundowns 1: Udoh brace secures CAF Champions League win|
|Pulisic and Ramos on target as Dortmund wrap up Bundesliga preparations|
|Calleri hoping for Tevez advice|
|Defour hoping for Belgium recall|
|Alaba warns against complacency as Bayern begin Bundesliga defence|
|Bravo arrives in Manchester ahead of City move|
|Dyche backs Gray after striker´s apology for homophobic tweets|
|Gray charged by FA over homophobic tweets|
|Pique: Olympic gold proves Neymar is one of world´s best|
|Marin makes Olympiacos move|
|Zidane arrival the catalyst for one of my best seasons - Ronaldo|
|Moyes ´worried´ about Mannone elbow injury|
|Sidibe rejected Arsenal over playing-time fears|
|Guardiola: Toure could feature against Steaua|
|Hernandez out for two weeks after falling down stairs|
|Bravo nearing City move, admits Guardiola|
|Ballack impressed by Dortmund signings but still backing Bayern|
|Lucescu questions De Boer tactics|
|Milan reject Chelsea bid for Romagnoli|
|Dortmund know how to treat Gotze - Ballack|
|Shevchenko: Bacca must improve consistency|
|´If you heed 100 idiots you will go crazy´ - Bauza on Messi return|
|Valdano relieved over Messi U-turn|
|Nordfeldt in line for loan move after signing fresh Swans deal|
|Dante joins Nice from Wolfsburg|
|De Boer expects fierce fight for Barca number-one spot|
|Newell´s confident over Messi return|
|Stoke confirm Jones interest|
|MLS ´attractive´ to Rooney - Timbers owner|
|Burke re-signs with West Ham|
|Sassuolo rejected Balotelli - CEO|
|Valencia coach Ayestaran rules out Mustafi sale|
|Allardyce plans Guardiola talks over Hart|
|Cahill warns rivals over City attack|
|Allardyce open to Terry England return|
|Drogba dismisses Villa rumours|
|Tuchel pleased despite Dortmund wastefulness|
|Stam´s Reading sign Manchester United youngster Blackett|
|Champions League place main objective for Rodgers|
|Eintracht Trier 0 Borussia Dortmund 3: Kagawa at the double as Tuchel´s men stroll|
|Escriba urges cool heads in Monaco|
|Cherchesov sets bar high for Russia|
|Tite defends Neymar´s captaincy credentials|
|Ancelotti wowed by fit-again Martinez|
|Spalletti: If Roma players are afraid, I don´t want them|
|Klopp laments Origi´s absent rhythm|
|Barcelona let Neymar stay in Brazil ahead of qualifiers|
|De Jong brothers joins forces at PSV|
|Rudiger returns to training|
|Liverpool transfer talk frustrates Klopp|
|Klopp demands final third improvements|
|Everton loan Galloway to West Brom|
|Manchester United loan Borthwick-Jackson to Wolves|
|Braithwaite to snub Premier League interest to stay at Toulouse|
|Strachan leaves out McCormack, Rhodes|
|Napoli plan to limit media commitments|
|Taarabt eager to make Marseille switch|
|Kruse suffers knee ligament injury|
|Rummenigge expects Ribery to be targeted|
|Delaney: Benteke is not Messi, he needs service|
|Ballack urges patience with Pep over City project|
|James happy at Real Madrid - Zidane|
|Harper backs Phelan for permanent Hull role|
|Flexibility the key for Allardyce|
|Allardyce concerned over Hart situation|
|De Bruyne praises Sterling reaction|
|Cavani vows to improve strike rate|
|Britton signs Swansea extension|
|Higuain motivated by ´fat´ comments|
|Conte perplexed by Costa criticism|
|Drinkwater poised to sign new Leicester contract|
|Bobo completes Sydney move|
|Bilic: You can´t count on Carroll|
|MLS Review: Dempsey´s Sounders sink rivals Timbers|
|Zidane: Important year for Bale|
|Galaxy star Rogers alleges homophobic abuse|
|Vieira: Pogba just needs to be himself|
|Bacca: I made a promise to Milan|
|Angry Handanovic critical of Inter|
|Gameiro: Atletico must win at home|
|Klopp: I´d be an idiot if I made a panic buy|
|Simeone: Draw leaves a bad taste in my mouth|
|Montella: Milan must win back fans|
|Asensio revels in goalscoring LaLiga debut for Madrid|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Alaves 1: Hosts denied in dramatic finale|