Vennegoor volley leaves Celtic five wins from title

CELTIC manager Gordon Strachan admits he is powerless to stop his players running to the fans when celebrating goals after Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was controversially sent off following his injury-time winner against Inverness.

The former PSV striker received a second caution when he left the field of play after a blistering volley secured a 2-1 win. Strachan was disappointed with the decision from referee Iain Brines, but appreciates the rules which the official has to abide by.

He said: “I know the referee’s predicament because he has rules and somebody might have looked at it after the game and asked why he did not book (Vennegoor of Hesselink).

“We understand the rules, but we also understand what it is like to be a Celtic player and score a winning goal. I have actually not seen what Jan did, but if he did leap into the crowd then the referee has to deal with it. I can’t stop the players doing that though and before the game I can’t say to them ‘if you score the winner, whatever you do, don’t run to the crowd.’”

The Dutchman’s dramatic late goal rendered a Graham Bayne header effectively meaningless, after the Caley Thistle striker had cancelled out Derek Riordan’s opener. But after escaping from the Caledonian Stadium with all three points, Strachan was left to deal with the frustration of Steven Pressley, Kenny Miller and Craig Beattie all having to come off as the result of injuries.

On the plus side for Celtic, this victory leaves the Parkhead club just five more wins from securing the Bank of Scotland Premier League title, a statistic which delighted Strachan. He said: “It sounds great even though it just seems a long way away, but we have put ourselves in the position and now we just need to handle the pressure.”

INVERNESS CT: Fraser, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings, Wilson, McBain, Duncan (Black 74), Rankin, Bayne, Wyness (McAllister 2), McAllister (Paatelainen 84).

CELTIC: Boruc, Telfer, Pressley (O’Dea 39), McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Gravesen, Lennon, Riordan, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Beattie (Miller 45), Miller (Jarosik 60).

Referee: I Brines.

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