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  • Dominant Celts left frustrated after Highland draw

    Dominant Celts left frustrated after Highland draw

    By: Laith Al Naeme on 18 Sep, 2016 17:17

  • Scottish Premiership
    Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness
    Sunday, September 18, 2016

    (King 27, Fisher 90)

    (Rogic 16, Sinclair 33)

    CELTIC dropped their first two points of the SPFL Premiership season this afternoon (Sunday) in a 2-2 draw with Inverness Caley Thistle at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

    It was a landmark afternoon for Scott Sinclair who bagged his fifth goal in five opening league matches for the Celts, a feat last accomplished by the great Jimmy McGrory.

    Tom Rogic was also on the scoresheet on an afternoon where the Hoops were left frustrated after creating numerous opportunities.

    Two changes were made for the match following the defeat to Barcelona midweek as Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic replaced Nir Bitton and Kolo Toure in the starting XI. Cristian Gamboa was also in the starting line-up as the Costa Rican made his domestic debut in the Highlands. 

    The game had a pulsating start with the Celts racing out the traps as Sinclair forced Owain Fon-Williams into a strong stop in only the fifth minute.

    The champions kept up the pressure and a lung-bursting run from Patrick Roberts a minute later was cut back to Gamboa, but his shot failed to trouble the Caley keeper.

    Moussa Dembele was next to try his luck from inside the area after he was picked out from the lively Roberts in the ninth minute. The striker’s shot just wide of the post, though. Doris de Vries, at the other end, had to be alert following a Greg Tansey free-kick in the 15th minute.

    Inverness continued to sit deep which forced the Hoops to play patiently and wait for an opening. And on the 16th minute, the visitors broke the deadlock. Tom Rogic finished off a fine piece of play from Kieran Tierney to fire Brendan Rodgers’ men into a 1-0 lead.

    The hosts, however, were quick to react. A darting run from attacker Billy King was followed by a long-range effort into the top corner to give Inverness the equaliser in the 27th minute. 

    But Celtic’s energy and high-tempo then proved too much for Richie Foran’s men and a wonderful piece of pressing from Sinclair delivered the second. Dispossessing Gary Warren, he advanced on goal before curling his effort past Williams in the Caley net.

    The 33rd-minute strike will go down in the history books as Sinclair becomes the first Celt in 80 years to score in each of the Hoops’ opening five league matches in a season.

    The Hoops started the second-half on the front foot as Fon-Williams had to make an excellent save from Dembele after the striker had latched on to a precise pass in the 50th minute.

    And the goalkeeper made another terrific save four minutes later when Tierney got past Brad McKay, forcing the Caley stopper to tip the left-back’s thumping effort out for a corner. Fon-Williams, in the 56th minute, had to react sharply to save from a McGregor shot that came through a ruck of bodies to keep the score at 2-1.

    Ten minutes later, the Bhoys fashioned another promising position on the edge of the box but Sinclair saw his effort palmed wide by the keeper. Good footwork from McGregor in the 77th minute gave the midfielder another sight of goal but again his dipping effort was pushed to safety.

    In the 85th minute, Tierney couldn’t find the target from inside the box after another good run was rounded off with a powerful strike that rattled the crossbar.

    At the other end, substitute Aaron Doran gave the Hoops a fright with an effort from outside the area in the 89th minute to force de Vries into tipping the ball out for a corner. And from the corner, Inverness headed the equaliser. Another one of the hosts’ substitutes, Alex Fisher, burst forward and got on to the end of the set-piece to send the home fans into jubilation.

    As the game entered its latter stages, Dembele came the closest to securing the three points for Celtic but Fon-Williams yet again prevented the ball going in the net.

    Attention now turns to Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final against Alloa Athletic at Paradise.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) De Vries; Gamboa (Simunovic 69), Lustig, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Brown, McGregor; Roberts (Forrest 75), Rogic (Armstrong 86), Sinclair; Dembele
    Not used: Gordon, Izaguirre, Bitton, Christie

    INVERNESS (4-5-1) Williams; Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, McKay; Draper, Polworth (Mulraney 69), Vigurs (Doran 59), Tansey, King, McKay; Doumbouya (Fisher 82)
    Not used: Mackay, Raven, Boden, Cole, 

    Website Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney 

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