Hoops held to home draw

11 November 2012 07:18

Celtic appeared to be suffering a case of the Barcelona blues as they were held 1-1 at home by St Johnstone in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Parkhead.

There was a tangible sense of anti-climax inside Celtic Park following the Hoops' historic 2-1 Champions League home win over the Catalan giants on Wednesday night and even when substitute Tony Watt, on at the break for Miku, put the home side ahead they did not look convincing.

Saints, who had been recently walloped 5-0 in the same venue in the Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-finals, sensed a point was there for the taking and Nigel Hasselbaink levelled in the 76th minute to leave Celtic with two points from the last nine and two behind Hibernian at the top of the table.

The visitors suffered an early blow in the sixth minute when David McCracken had to be replaced by Miller after taking a head knock. A couple of whipped-in crosses by Charlie Mulgrew caused some panic but a free-kick from the Hoops utility player - and one from Kris Commons - were both saved with some comfort by Perth keeper Alan Mannus.

In the 26th minute, with Celtic in control, Victor Wanyama was presented with a great chance when Commons stood a cross up at the back post but the Kenyan mis-directed his header across goal, allowing Frazer Wright to complete the clearance.

Parkhead midfielder Joe Ledley headed over the bar from Commons' cross, moments before the Scotland midfielder made a yard of space for himself at the edge of the box before sending a powerful drive over.

Watt replaced Miku for the start of the second-half and six minutes later he put Celtic ahead. Saints keeper Mannus did not look too clever when he allowed Mulgrew's searching pass to reached the former Airdrie striker who prodded the ball over the line from a couple of yards out with Wright clearing only when the it was over the line.

Just before the hour-mark a speculative shot from Dave MacKay dipped a yard wide of Fraser Forster's left-hand post. Lomas was then sent to the stand by referee Iain Brine after appearing to remonstrate with the referee over his decision to let Watt back on after receiving treatment.

The visitors were growing in confidence, and Liam Craig's deflected drive took Forster by surprise, the Hoops keeper smartly turning the ball over for a corner but that only delayed the leveller by moments.

The Celtic defence looked uneasy when Mackay's ball came into the box from Mackay and when it eventually fell to Hasselbaink he turned and drove it past Forster from around 10 yard. St Johnstone, unsurprisingly, were forced to defend in the closing stages but they deservedly held out for a point.

Source: PA

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