Celtic 0 Dunfermline 1: Ross puts the skids under sorry Celtic

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The Independent Online

Who said the Scottish Premier League was predictable? Celtic surrendered their unbeaten home record as bottom side Dunfermline confounded the odds to snatch a merited success.

Jim Leishman's team came into this match riddled with injuries and on the back of seven straight defeats, but they jealously protected Greg Ross's 16th-minute goal as Celtic, with 12 wins to their name, were a shadow of the side that shredded Rangers here a week earlier.

Parkhead chose its own way to honour George Best's memory, with a minute's applause - adopted recently on the anniversary of the death of Celtic's legendary manager, Jock Stein - but there was little for home fans to applaud thereafter, in a wretched first half for Gordon Strachan's side.

However, there was silence. A resounding one, as Dunfermline went ahead after 16 minutes. A short free-kick on the left touchline by Derek Young allowed Iain Campbell to deliver a deep cross, which was knocked down by the leaping Andy Tod for Ross to stab a shot past goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

It was not against the run of play. Celtic's approach was laboured and they failed to find any space as the visitors camped in their own half in a 5-4-1 formation. Dunfermline harried the leaders to distraction in midfield, and they ought to have doubled their lead after 25 minutes when Noel Hunt got in behind Mo Camara to cut the ball back into Ross's path, but this time his net-bound shot was parried away by Boruc.

Celtic, in contrast, did not have an effort on target. John Hartson, in particular, was laborious and Strachan's half-time talk would, no doubt, have wounded a few reputations.

The second period was one-way traffic towards Allan McGregor's goal and the Dunfermline goalkeeper was required to work far harder than he had earlier. Aiden McGeady's early shot on the turn set the tone before Chris Sutton twice failed to finish off promising situations with his head.

The quest for an equaliser became more frantic and Stephen McManus appeared to have earned a penalty when he was brought down by Scott Wilson's reckless slide but, astonishingly, the referee, Craig Mackay, rejected the claims.

When Hartson's diving header in the dying minute flew narrowly over the bar, Celtic's day of frustration was sealed.

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