Manchester United, Celtic and Glentoran last night underlined their hunger for silverware with crucial victories in three separate title races.
All three are sitting pretty at the summit of their leagues and after a night of considerable drama and tension, the trio displayed their desire to become champions.
Dimitar Berbatov fired Manchester United seven points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League despite Newcastle spoiling Edwin van der Sar's night. The Bulgarian clinched the points with a 56th-minute strike, but United had to come from behind to re-establish their advantage over Chelsea and Liverpool with a game in hand.
Peter Lovenkrands opened the scoring with Wayne Rooney levelling matters. Sir Alex Ferguson said: "It wasn't a great performance. We got off to a terrible start, and Newcastle were pumped up for it. We expected that and we should have dealt with it better. But coming from 1-0 down was a good result for us. It required a lot of grit."
In Scotland, Rangers' home defeat to Inverness allowed Celtic to go top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with their win at Kilmarnock. A Scott McDonald double at Rugby Park took the champions three points clear of their Ibrox rivals and in pole position to take their fourth title in succession.
Meanwhile, at the Oval in east Belfast, Glentoran hit top spot in the JJB Sports Premiership with a 2-0 victory over champions Linfield. Goals from Gary Hamilton and Michael Halliday lifted Alan McDonald’s men over the Blues into pole position.