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  • Hoops held to a goal-less draw by Kilmarnock

    Hoops held to a goal-less draw by Kilmarnock

    By: Tony Connelly on 09 May, 2018 21:40

  • Scottish Premiership
    Wednesday, May 9, 2018
    Celtic Park, Glasgow

    CELTIC…0

    KILMARNOCK…0

    CELTIC were held to a frustrating goalless draw tonight in Paradise by Kilmarnock. The Hoops dominated possession and controlled large periods of the game but a well-drilled opposition limited the number of opportunities in front of goal.

    Brendan Rodgers made a total of six changes to the team that beat Hearts at the weekend, with Calvin Miller making his fourth start of the season. The 20-year-old slotted into a back-three alongside Jack Hendry and Jozo Simunovic.

    Stuart Armstrong and Scott Sinclair came into the starting XI in midfield behind Patrick Roberts who was tasked with leading the line.

    Mikael Lustig, Dedryck Boyata, Tom Rogic, Olivier Ntcham, Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard were the players to make way.

    Teenager Ewan Henderson, who has impressed for the Development Squad in recent weeks, made his senior debut when he came on as a second half-substitution. 

    An organised Killie defence made life difficult for the seven-in-a-row champions and Celtic were unable to fashion any clear-cut chances in the early stages.

    They dominated the bulk of possession and pinned the visitors deep into their own half but Steve Clarke’s side were disciplined and closed down any space which Celtic might have utilised. Kilmarnock also showed a willingness to attack on the break whenever the thwarted a Celtic attack.

    Openings eventually began to show in the well-drilled Killie defence as Celtic patiently looked find a way through a stubborn defence.

    Armstrong threaded a good pass through the midfield and defence for Roberts to run onto, but the 21-year-old was unable to test MacDonald in the Kilmarnock goal after scuffing his shot.

    Armstrong was the spark which ignited the majority of Celtic’s attack throughout the first half. A free-kick from 30 yards out on the left saw the Scotland international float the ball into the box, which Hendry headed towards the back post and Simunovic nearly tucked in.

    A similar situation unfolded later in the half. This time the ball found the back of the net when Simunovic headed towarsd goal, however, the linesman raised his flag when Kristoffer Ajer got the final touch before the ball went over the line.

    Much of Celtic’s attacking play came from the left flank. Forrest saw his header land on the roof of the net after getting on the end of McGregor’s cross, while Armstrong split open the opposition defence with another neat pass into the box for Sinclair, who chipped the keeper from a tight angle only to see his effort roll across the face of goal.

    Celtic continued heap the pressure on in the second half and came close to taking the lead early on. Sinclair dribbled his way to the byline and cut a pass back for Armstrong, but MacDonald was quick off his line and managed to smoother the side-footed shot.

    At the other end, the visitors' willingness to attack nearly paid off when Greg Kiltie squared for Aaron Tishibola but he missed the target.

    Back came the Bhoys, and Roberts' quick feet helped create an opportunity inside a packed Kilmarnock box and, with his back to goal, he worked space for himself before slipping the ball to McGregor but he failed to get a clean shot off and the keeper saved.

    Hendry came within inches of grabbing his first Celtic goal when he rose high above the defence to get on the end of McGregor’s corner but his header flashed across the face of goal.

    Henderson came on in the second half and looked lively in attack but he too was unable to forge an opening in the Ayrshire side’s defence. The 19-year-old did deliver a good ball into the box late in the game which Hendry headed back across goal for Rogic but the Australian’s half-volley was blocked.

    Celtic will now turn their attentions to Sunday to the final game of the league season against Aberdeen on Sunday when they will be presented with the Premiership trophy at the end of the 90 minutes.

    And Brendan Rodgers will be looking for a strong performance from his side against the Dons ahead of next week’s Scottish Cup final.

    CELTIC (4-1-2-3): Bain; Hendry, Simunovic, Ajer, Miller (Tierney 66); Brown, Armstrong (Rogic 66), McGregor; Forrest, Roberts (E Henderson 81), Sinclair
    Not Used: De Vries, Ntcham, Johnston, Kouassi

    KILMARNOCK (4-3-3) MacDonald; O'Donnell, S.Boyd, Findlay, Taylor; Mulumbu (Wilson 90), Dicker, Tshibola; Brophy (K.Boyd 77), Erwin, Kiltie (Burke 86)
    Not Used: Fasan, Greer , Simpson, Cameron

    Wedsite Man of the Match: Kristoffer Ajer

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