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  • Dembele scores from the spot as Celts draw with Rapid Vienna

    Dembele scores from the spot as Celts draw with Rapid Vienna

    By: Mark Henderson on 01 Jul, 2017 18:01

  • Pre-season friendly
    Ertl Glas Stadion, Amstetten
    Saturday, July 1, 2017

    RAPID VIENNA...1
    (Joelinton pen. 45)

    CELTIC...1
    (Dembele pen. 73)

    MOUSSA Dembele scored from the spot on his comeback from injury to earn Celtic a share of the spoils against Rapid Vienna in their second match of pre-season

    Joelinton had given the Austrian Bundesliga outfit the lead with a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Craig Gordon had brought the striker down in the box.

    But Dembele, playing his first match since he picked up a hamstring injury in the Scottish Cup semi-final victory in April, coolly cancelled that out with 17 minutes left on the clock, after Jonny Hayes has been fouled in the box by Manuel Thurnwald.

    Brendan Rodgers made five changes to the team that started against Blau-Weiss Linz three days ago for Celtic’s second match of their pre-season programme.

    James Forrest, who had come off the bench to score the only goal of the game against Linz to get the Invincibles off to a winning start in Austria, came into the starting XI alongside Craig Gordon, Dedryck Boyata, Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair.  

    Dorus de Vries, Jamie McCart, Calvin Miller, Jonny Hayes and Gary Mackay-Steven were the players to drop out.

    As the match got underway in glorious conditions in Amstetten - a town around 60km east of Linz - both teams quickly enjoyed periods of possession, but it was Rapid who enjoyed the better of the early chances, with Gordon making early saves from Joelinton and  Tamas Szanto.

    Although there was also a healthy contingent of Celtic supporters dotted all around the Ertl Glas Stadion, the majority of the crowd were there to see the Austrian side, and they were on their feet in the 11th minute when Szanto rounded Gordon and rolled the ball into the empty net, but the forward was flagged for offside.

    Moments after Erik Sviatchekno had made a timely tackle on Eren Keles in the box, the Scottish champions had their first meaningful sight of goal as Stuart Armstrong lashed wide from distance.

    But the main threat was still coming from Goran Djuricin’s side, and Celtic had a lucky escape when Stefan Schwab intercepted Gordon’s pass and lobbed the keeper, only to see it strike the post.

    Thomas Murg then had a couple of opportunities for Rapid, the midfielder blazing over on the half-volley, before bringing out a fabulous reaction save from Gordon with a stinging shot.

    As the interval approached, the Hoops had a chance to test goalkeeper Tobias Knoflach when Leigh Griffiths was fouled 20 yards from goal, but the hit-man was foiled by the wall from the resultant free-kick.

    And on the stroke of half-time, a defensive error from the Bhoys saw them go in behind. Dedryck Boyata’s errant pass was seized upon by Joelinton, who was felled by Gordon as he bore down on goal. After the referee pointed to the spot. Joelinton picked himself up and picked his spot from 12 yards, finding the far corner.

    Celtic made a more promising start to the second half, enjoying prolonged periods of possession, with Mikael Lustig glancing a header over from Griffiths’ free-kick.

    Dedryck Boyata headed wide from another Griffiths set-piece after Brendan Rodgers’ side had a forced a succession of corners, before the Bhoys changed their entire personnel just beyond the hour-mark.

    With the new-look Hoops side settling into their stride, Rapid, who had made 10 changes at the interval, spurned a golden chance to level the match when Prosenik raced into the box and picked out the unmarked Kuen, who blasted wide with the goal at his mercy.  

    It would prove a costly miss as the Invincbles levelled the match shortly after. New Bhoy Jonny Hayes darted beyond Thurnwald and was sent tumbling by the Rapid defender in the box.

    Once again, the referee awarded a spot-kick and Dembele gave a reminder of his composure from 12 yards by coolly finding the far corner.

    And as the clock ticked down, it was the visitors who looked the more likely to claim a late victory, with Tom Rogic having a shot charged down in the box following an inviting cross from Calvin Miller. Next up for Brendan Rodgers’ side is Tuesday’s friendly against Slavia Prague.

    CELTIC (4-1-2-3) Gordon (Hazard 63); Lustig (Ralston 63), Sviatchenko (Simunovic 63), Boyata (Izaguirre 63), Tierney (Miller 63); Brown, (Bitton 63), Armstrong (Henderson 63), McGregor (Rogic 63); Forrest (Hayes 63), Griffiths (Dembele 63), Sinclair (Mackay-Steven 63)
    Not Used: Aitchison, McCart, Doohan

    RAPID VIENNA (4-4-2) Knoflach (Sterbinger 46); Pavelic (Thurnwald 38), Dibon (Sonnlietner 46), Wober (M Hoffman 46), Schrammel (Bolingoli 46); Murg (Jelic 46), Auer (Schwab 70), Schwab (Ljubicic 46) Keles (Kuen 46); Joelinton (Prosenik 46) Szanto (Schaub 46)
    Not Used: S. Hofmann

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