Mowbray warmed by McGowan's late equaliser

Rapid Vienna 3 Celtic 3
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The Independent Football

Celtic staged the most dramatic of late comebacks in their Europa League tie here last night to draw 3-3 against Rapid Vienna.

An experimental Hoops side found themselves three goals behind after only 19 minutes in the Group C dead rubber as Nikica Jelavic grabbed a double before strike partner Hamdi Salihi's goal threatened a rout.

However, before the interval, the Celtic striker Marc-Antoine Fortuné scored to stem the tide. It still looked a long way back for Tony Mowbray's side but the former Nancy frontman doubled his tally in the 67th minute to set up a tense finale and, in stoppage time, Paul McGowan, making his first start of the season, fired in the leveller from close range to keep Celtic in third place.

"We talked before the game that they would be on the front foot and positive, but the first 10 minutes were not what we wanted," Mowbray said, "but I prefer to talk about the next 80 minutes and the positive play from our team. We created lots of chances and deservedly got back into the game."

A Group C campaign which began with a defeat in the heat of Israel against Tel Aviv concluded in freezing conditions in Vienna but, if nothing else, Mowbray will be warmed by the fighting spirit of his players after the ploy to keep his players fresh for Sunday's SPL game at Hearts backfired spectacularly in the early stages.

Rapid Vienna Hedl, Dober (Trimmel, 30), Soma, Patocka, Katzer, Hoffmann, Kulovits, Boskovic, Kavlak (Drazan, 59), Salihi (Ildiz, 78), Jelavic. Substitutes not used: Konigshofer, Thonhofer, Kayhan, Konrad.

Celtic Boruc, Caddis, Loovens, McManus, Wilson, Flood, N'Guemo, Crosas, McGinn (Carey, 77), Fortune (Killen, 90), McGowan. Substitutes not used: Zaluska, Hinkel, Caldwell, McDonald, Robson.

Referee: R Malek (Poland).