Inverness Ct 1 Celtic 1: Celtic's defensive frailty suggests Keane may plug gaps at the back

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The Independent Online

Celtic's manager Gordon Strachan might be forced to put Roy Keane into his back four after watching another inept defensive performance. The former Manchester United captain's arrival prompted discussions as to which midfielder might be sacrificed to accommodate him but after a scare from Craig Brewster's side, Bobo Balde and Stephen McManus may fear for their places.

John Hartson cancelled out Craig Dargo's first-minute opener but it could have been worse if the Inverness striker not had a penalty saved by Artur Boruc, while McManus was fortunate not to be sent off when he conceded the spot-kick having been booked.

"We're happy with the point and still being top of the League, but not the performance," Strachan said. "There were quite a few of us who were below par. They were my decisions and I will look at myself and see what went wrong."

Strachan also explained a bizarre running battle with the fourth official. "There's nothing I can do about referees' decisions but he [the fourth official] threatened to send me to the stand if I put my hands to my head again. I asked if that was a rule and he said he never said that. I had a whole bench and supporters behind me who heard him."

The home side led when Brewster flicked on Ross Tokely's throw and Dargo swivelled to fire the ball across Boruc for his seventh goal of the campaign. McManus was shown a yellow card for bringing down Dargo in the fifth minute.

Hartson hauled Celtic level when Ross Wallace clipped a cross into the area and the Welshman hit a right-foot shot into the top corner from eight yards.

Inverness had a glorious chance to regain the lead on the half hour when Dargo went to ground under McManus's challenge, but Boruc threw himself to his left to save the penalty.

In the second half Strachan brought on Chris Sutton for Aiden McGeady, before Boruc produced a magical save to deny the home side's player-manager Brewster. He blasted a free-kick towards the top corner of the net but the Pole flung himself to his left to make a stunning stop.

At the other end Shunsuke Nakamura had a great chance to emerge as Celtic's hero but he fired the ball past the upright from eight yards out.

But the home side had given the rest of the SPL belief that the title race is wide open - even with Keane arriving at Parkhead.

Goals: Dargo (1) 1-0; Hartson (21) 1-1.

Inverness CT (4-4-2) Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings; Wilson (Hart, 90), Black, Duncan, McBain; Dargo (Wyness, 88), Brewster. Substitutes not used: Fraser (gk), Golabek, McCaffrey, Fox, McAllister.

Celtic (4-4-2): Boruc; Telfer, Balde, McManus, Wallace; Nakamura, Lennon, Petrov, McGeady (Sutton 72); Hartson, Maloney. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Lawson, Thompson, Virgo, Pearson, Du.

Referee: S Dougal (Scotland).

Booked: Celtic McManus, Hartson, Maloney.

Man of the match: Boruc.

Attendance: 7,382.

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