Killie deny Celtic chance to go top

CELTIC blew their chance to leapfrog Rangers at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League as they relied on a late Thomas Rogne goal to rescue a point against Kilmarnock at Parkhead last night.

After the home side passed up on a series of chances to take the lead, Killie’s Irish striker Conor Sammon scored a breakaway goal in the 54th minute for a shock lead.

Celtic fought back and in the 85th minute Rogne headed in from a Ki Sung-yueng free-kick but the Ayrshire men held out to leave Celtic two points behind their Old Firm rivals having played a game more.

Celtic knew victory would see them leapfrog Rangers at the top.

Neil Lennon’s side crowded around the Kilmarnock penalty area. In the 35th minute Celtic striker Gary Hooper was stretchered off after collapsing following an innocuous tussle with defender Frazer Wright.

Hooper was replaced by Anthony Stokes but the home side appeared to lose a little momentum as the game edged towards the interval.

The pattern of the second half. However, in the 54th minute, in what was the first real attack of the game, Kilmarnock took a shock lead through their on-form striker Conor Sammon.

Midfielder Mehdi Taouil sent Sammon racing over the halfway line.

There was still a lot to do but the Irishman brushed off the attention of the back-tracking Izaguirre to burst into the box and drive an angled shot past Celtic keeper Fraser Forster for his 12th SPL goal of the season.

As the nerves kicked in for the Celtic defence, Sammon had another chance from eight yards but was off-balance and could only toe-poke the ball at Forster.

Paddy McCourt replaced fellow Northern Ireland international McGinn in the 72nd minute in what was Lennon’s last throw of the dice.

As Celtic threw everything forward, striker Daryl Murphy blazed a shot over the crossbar in the 76th minute after the ball broke kindly to him.

But with five minutes remaining the Parkhead men levelled when defender Thomas Rogne headed in a free-kick from midfielder Ki Sung-yueng. In a storming finale Sammon rounded Forster but his attempt to squeeze the ball in was thwarted by Majstorovic.

CELTIC: Forster, Izaguirre, Majstorovic, Cha Du-Ri, Rogne, McGinn (McCourt 70), Ledley (Brown 66), Ki Sung-Yeung, Murphy, Forrest, Hooper (Stokes 35).

KILMARNOCK: Bell, Fowler, Wright, Gordon, Bryson, Hamill, Taouil, Kelly, Pascali, Sammon, Eremenko.

Referee: Willie Collum.

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