Football: Celtic stretch a point

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The Independent Online
Dundee. . . .1

Ristic 38

Celtic. . . .1

Creaney 62

Attendance: 8,250

DUNDEE'S latest recruit, Noel Blake, who was signed on Friday from Bradford, must have looked around after only a few minutes of the match and thought, 'Yes, this will do me nicely'. The Premier Division is his kind of place. The 32-year- old central defender is tall, powerful and not too concerned with the game's subtleties, which makes him ideal for Scotland's top league which has been hijacked by giants and athletes.

Celtic, however, were rarely true to their traditions of free- flowing football and were unable to put passes together and build moves. It seems their deficiences are highlighted every time they step out to play, yet their passion and determination, which earned them a point, cannot be faulted.

The first half offered nothing in the way of genuine football, which was never allowed to flourish with play congested in midfield. At times, all the outfield players were concentrated around the centre circle and whenever someone popped the ball out of that zone the others galloped in pursuit.

In fact, it was during one such charge that Dragutin Ristic was felled by Gary Gillespie and a foul was given. Celtic were unconcerned as they saw the ball being placed 25 yards out, but that changed swiftly when they saw the Croatian dust himself down and prepare to shoot for goal. His shot stayed low, beat the wall, and then took a bounce just before Pat Bonner, who was beaten.

Celtic's long-suffering fans were stunned for a few moments and then responded in the now customary manner, calling again for the board to be sacked. This had the effect of turning supporter against supporter and it was only when news of Rangers' plight against Dundee United filtered through that they united again in support of the team.

To a man they protested at what they saw as the denial of a penalty early in the second half and two players, Paul McStay and Wayne Biggins, were booked for shouting at the referee. However, Celtic would not be denied their equaliser.

Gerry Creaney sent Biggins away on the right and when his cross arrived Dundee's keeper, Paul Mathers, seemed to lose track of the ball which then bounced around for a few seconds before Creaney bundled it into the net. Dusan Vrto's close- range shot near the end was bound for the net, but Pat McGinlay spread himself well on the line, and minutes later the same player's overhead kick almost produced a winner.

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