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  • Celts equal 100-year old unbeaten record with Killie draw

    Celts equal 100-year old unbeaten record with Killie draw

    By: Mark Henderson on 28 Oct, 2017 17:01

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Saturday, October 28, 2017

    (Griffiths 43)

    (Jones 60)

    CELTIC equalled their 100-year unbeaten record today as they made it a remarkable 62 domestic games without defeat, despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Kilmarnock in Paradise. It was Willie Maley’s legendary side who had set that magnificent milestone back in 1917 after they beat Hibernian 1-0 at Easter Road.

    For a century it has stood alone as a Scottish and British record but, fittingly, another Celtic team has now matched it, and Brendan Rodgers’ side will have the opportunity to eclipse it next weekend when they take on St Johnstone in Perth.

    Leigh Griffiths’ first-half goal had the Scottish treble-winners on course for another three points after they had completely dominated the opening 45 minutes, but the visitors levelled through Jordan Jones on the hour-mark. And although the home side applied some late pressure, they were unable to fashion a later winner as the match ended in stalemate.    

    With Celtic in the midst of a hectic fixture schedule, and Bayern Munich visiting Paradise in three days in the UEFA Champions League, Brendan Rodgers made six changes from the team that had dispatched Aberdeen in such superb style on Wednesday night at Pittodrie.

    Mikey Johnston was the most notable inclusion in the starting XI, reward for the 18-year-old’s impressive displays for the Development Squad in recent weeks, particularly in the UEFA Youth League.

    Kristoffer Ajer, Eboue Kouassi, Olivier Ntcham, Patrick Roberts and Griffiths also came into the side, with Dedryck Boyata, Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele making way.

    Despite the changes in personnel, Celtic were straight into their stride, and Griffiths headed narrowly over from Kieran Tierney’s pinpoint cross inside the opening two minutes.  

    As the Hoops continued to pour forward in search of an early breakthrough, Tom Rogic curled wide, Tierney had a shot deflected into Jamie MacDonald’s hands, after being teed-up by Johnston, and Ntcham was also off target from distance.

    It was a case of attack versus defence as the visitors encamped across the edge of their own box, deploying every man behind the ball in an effort to stifle Brendan Rodgers’ side, who attempted to carve a route through the massed ranks of defenders with quick interchanges of passing and clever movement.

    At times they were successful in breaching, but they couldn’t add the finishing touch. Mikael Lustig sent over a half-volley and the lively Roberts also had a low effort by MacDonald, before Rogic and Roberts were crowded out in the box.

    And they were dealt a blow on the half-hour mark as Roberts, who had served up his usual flair and trickery, was forced from the fray holding his hamstring. He was replaced by Scott Sinclair.

    But just as it looked as it was going to be a frustrating first-half for the hosts, they broke the deadlock two minutes before the interval. Kouassi was the architect, threading a sublime pass through the Kilmarnock backline for Griffiths and he beat MacDonald with a composed first-time finish.

    Ntcham and Rogic tried their luck for the Celts after the restart but on the hour-mark, Steve Clarke’s side replied with their first meaningful attack of the match. Jones raced towards the box and saw his shot cannon off the post. Kilmarnock retrieved the loose ball and Jones was on hand to collect Rory McKenzie’s return pass and roll a shot under Craig Gordon.  

    Stung back into action, Celtic replied when Griffiths flashed two inviting low balls across the six-yard box – but there were no takers. In the 70th minute, Kristoffer Ajer drove over after rampaging forward out of defence, the prelude to the introduction of Moussa Dembele in place of Johnston, who was warmly applauded by the home crowd for his efforts.

    In increasingly blustery conditions, Celtic continued to press in their search for a winner, with Rogic firing over and Dembele having a shot deflected into MacDonald’s arms. At the other end, Chris Burke saw his attempt from 20 yards saved by Gordon.  

    Griffiths tested MacDonald from long-range, and the Bhoys had a number of corners and free-kicks as the clock ticked down, but they were unable to restore their advantage and had to settle for a point.   

    CELTIC: (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Bitton, Ajer, Tierney; Kouassi, Ntcham (Armstrong 61); Roberts (Sinclair 30), Rogic, Johnston (Dembele 72); Griffiths
    Not Used: De Vries, Boyata, Miller, McGregor

    KILMARNOCK (4-4-1-1) MacDonald; O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Greer, Findlay; McKenzie, Power, Taylor (Waters 90+2), Burke (Thomas 84); Jones; Erwin (Brophy 71)
    Not Used: Bell, Boyd, Boyd, Frizzel

    Website Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney


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