Celtic caught on Thistle as Europe fatigue sets in
Celtic 0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1
Sunday 25 November 2012
Not for the first time this season, Celtic dropped Scottish Premier points after their midweek European exertions when Terry Butcher's Inverness Caledonian Thistle exploited a bad case of post-Champions' League lassitude thanks to Billy McKay's second-half strike. It was Thistle's first ever league win at Celtic.
After their 2-1 loss to Benfica in Lisbon, Hoops manager Neil Lennon had claimed fatigue was affecting his squad and certainly it looked that way as they were unable to sparkle against neat, tidy and resolute Thistle.
Kris Commons and Mikael Lustig missed good chances for Celtic in an unremarkable first half. The Parkhead side broke swiftly in the 39th minute as Gary Hooper sent Commons through, but the Scotland midfielder's angled shot from 12 yards was wayward. Two minutes later Lustig had a better opportunity when Hooper let a Beram Kayal pass run on to the right-back but his effort hit the side-netting.
After the break the expected surge from the champions never materialised and it was the visitors who struck in the 65th minute. Philip Roberts took a pass from Aaron Doran inside the Celtic box, turned and fired across for McKay to guide the ball past Fraser Forster. Indeed, McKay later spurned a good chance to double Cally's lead when he hit the bar with only Forster to beat.
It was a fractious day all round. Lennon had a shouting match with one Celtic fan behind the dugout before the game had ended, and the absence of the Green Brigade – the vociferous section of the Hoops' support who were boycotting the match after claiming they had been subject to "oppressive police tactics" in recent months – deadened the atmosphere in a half-filled ground.
Celtic (4-4-2): Forster; Matthews (Brown, 69), Ambrose, Mulgrew, Lustig; Commons, Kayal, Watt (McCourt, 65), Hooper (Nouioui, 76); Samaras, Wanyama.
Inverness (4-4-2): Reguero; Raven, G Shinnie, Warren, Meekings; Tudur-Jones, A Shinnie, McKay (Sutherland, 84), Roberts (Pepper, 90); Doran, Foran.
Referee Calum Murray.
Rangers game called off
Rangers' Scottish League Third Division match at Elgin City today has been postponed on safety grounds because the Borough Briggs club sold about 1,100 tickets more than its 4,520 capacity. The club said they will refund supporters but tickets for the match will not be valid for the rescheduled date.
Earlier in the week, club director and safety officer Martyn Hunter said 4,520 tickets had been sold and that "the stadium will be at its capacity for the first time in many years and it should be a great football occasion with both teams sitting at the top of the league".
Elgin could have gone top of the table if they had beaten the Glasgow outfit. Ross Jack's side are second in the table, two points behind Rangers.
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