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.
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