We made a bright start to the game and Foran came close to opening the scoring. His header from a corner was cleared at the post although the ball may have gone on to strike the upright had it’s progress not been impeded. We had a fright when Corrigan headed onto his own bar but Smith had it covered. We emerged from the opening exchanges looking quite comfortable.
And then we lost a staggeringly simple goal. A long punt up the park was headed down, a nice pass from Petrov split our defence and Zurawski scored with a nice finish. Maloney lumped a free kick wide but Celtic struggled to threaten. We began to get back into it.
McDonald looked to be hauled down at the edge of the box but no foul was given. Then Hamilton hesitated when he had a sight of goal and his shot was blocked. McDonald skipped into the box from the left and turned Telfer inside out but his cross was hooked clear. We deserved to go in to the break level and we managed that with a sensational goal. Kerr crossed from the left and although Hamilton was going away from goal, he hit a stunning left football high past Boruc – 1-1! Smith had to look smart to deny Hartson just before the break but neither side could complain about the half time score.
A great run from McBride was halted in the box – it was possibly a foul but his reaction was so theatrical we got the non-decision we deserved. The game was largely played in the midfield with neither side getting close to goal. On the rare occasions the nets were threatened, Craigan saved the day with a block and Celtic managed to scramble away Foran’s cross.
Then Celtic won the game. McGeady struck a fairly standard shot which Smith seemed to have covered until it took a deflection and flew into the middle of the net. We tried to fight back again – McDonald couldn’t quite contort his body enough to direct a diving header on target – but the legs were gone. We had put in a supreme effort and the trouble with having no options on the bench to freshen things up was apparent. Celtic capped a fortuitous win with a late goal, capitalising on a tired give away. McGeady jinked past two non-existent challenges and Hartson turned in his centre. McGeady almost put a completely unfair reflection on the score when he hit the bar late on.
We managed a late flurry and had a couple of shots blocked or go wide. But essentially we fought hard all day only to be undone by a very cruel piece of misfortune. Our squad is being stretched to the very limit at the minute and with no options on the bench, as soon as the legs go, there is no way for things to be freshened up. We didn’t expect points from the old firm matches and even though we deserved a more concrete reward we can at least take heart from the performance. The next three games can define our season – let’s hope we don’t let ourselves down.