McCulloch swoops to leave Celtic banging their heads

Celtic 1 Rangers 1
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Lee McCulloch believes Celtic's players will be "banging their heads against the wall" after missing a series of chances in the Old Firm derby at Parkhead. The Ibrox midfielder headed an equaliser two minutes after Celtic substitute Scott McDonald had nodded the home side into a 79th-minute lead.

That drama came after the hosts had squandered a series of chances as well as having a goal denied in the first half by referee Steve Conroy, who adjudged Marc-Antoine Fortune to have fouled Gers goalkeeper Allan McGregor in an aerial challenge.

McCulloch acknowledged the pressure Rangers had been put under for most of the afternoon. "They will be banging their heads against the wall thinking 'why did we not win that game?'" he said. "It showed great character for us to come back into the game, grab the goal and hang on. I hope it does a lot [of psychological damage to Celtic's title hopes]. I don't know how much time was left when they scored but their players and crowd got a lift from it. That's when we started to come into the game and maybe it was only going to be a set-piece that we would score from but the goal could go a long way as we come to the most important part of the season."

Rangers remain seven points clear of Celtic and their manager, Walter Smith, was deadpan as he stated his belief that Conroy had made the right decision to chalk off Fortune's goal. "I thought it was a foul," he said. "I don't need to look at the repeats, they don't matter."

He thought Celtic's dominance could have come from their greater desire to get the result, adding: "I think it was Barry Ferguson who mentioned that the motivation is greater for the team who face the situation where they could go a number of points behind the other team. That can be a massive motivation for you and maybe we have seen a Celtic team who were fully motivated while we were off the pace. Celtic were far brighter, imposed themselves on the game far better and we were fortunate to get away with the draw.

"Although Allan McGregor had only one outstanding save, Celtic had a number of misses and that left us with an opportunity to get back in the game. So it was a far better draw for us than Celtic and they will feel aggrieved that they didn't win it."

Celtic (4-4-2): Boruc; Hinkel, Caldwell, Loovens, Daniel Fox; McGeady, Crosas (McDonald, 71), N'Guemo, Robson; Samaras, Fortune. Substitutes not used: Zaluska, McManus, McGinn, Zhi, Thompson, Caddis.

Rangers (4-4-2): McGregor; Broadfoot, Weir, Wilson, Papac; Lafferty, Davis, McCulloch, Whittaker; Novo (Edu, 13), Boyd. Substitutes not used: Alexander, Smith, Fleck, Little, Ness, Wylde.

Referee: S Conroy (Scotland).

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