Celtic extend lead despite draw

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:31

Celtic extend lead despite draw

With Dundee United losing to St Johnstone and Aberdeen playing on Sunday, the Hoops missed the chance to open up a more substantial advantage and the point also proved unsatisfactory for County, who slipped to the foot of the table following St Mirren’s 3-1 victory at Dundee.
Celtic dominated possession but looked laboured and could find no way through a stubborn back line marshalled by captain Richard Brittain – Callum McGregor’s shot against the bar just after the break the closest the hosts came to a breakthrough – as they were held to their first goalless draw in 120 matches, a run stretching back to October 2011.

Having lost 5-0 at home to Celtic earlier in the season, the visitors arrived determined not to capitulate again, although they lost Graham Carey in the build-up to a back spasm – Michael Gardyne replacing him in the starting XI
Celtic were forced into a reshuffle of their own just nine minutes in when Anthony Stokes limped off for McGregor, but they soon took control – County keeper Antonio Reguero forced into a good point-blank save from Nir Bitton’s header on 25 minutes. 
But chances were difficult to fashion for the Scottish champions with John Guidetti deflecting Leigh Griffiths’ drive just wide after Emilio Izaguirre’s cross had caused some panic in the visiting defence.
But they should have led on 51, just moments after Craig Gordon saved well from an unmarked Lewis Toshney in a rare County break, when McGregor’s curling effort from the edge of the box beat Reguero, but bounced back off the bar to Guidetti, who was not ready for the chance and he couldn’t direct the rebound home.
Still Celtic continued to press and as they poured forward they suffered a late scare when a low drive from Filip Kiss beat Gordon only to strike the post and rebound clear.
Suitably buoyed, County took encouragement from that near miss, but Reguero had to make a fine save from Griffiths in the final minute before the visitors survived five fraught minutes of injury time to take a point back to the Highlands.

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