Dundee United goalkeeper Derek Stillie paid tribute to Celtic’s mercurial midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura after he devastated the Tannadice side for the second time this season in their 2-2 draw at Parkhead.
Goals by David Robertson and Collin Samuel looked like giving the visitors their first Bank of Scotland Premier League win at Celtic Park in 14 years before the Japan international decided to take a hand in proceedings.
His whipped-in free-kick from wide on the right provided substitute Darren O’Dea an unmissable chance to pull a goal back with 12 minutes remaining.
Then, two minutes later, Nakamura chipped in a delightful equaliser from outside the box with the helpless Stillie having no chance.
The Celtic playmaker scored a hat-trick at Tannadice in October in a 4-1 win for the champions and the United keeper admits he was beaten by sheer talent once again.
He said: “At first I thought I was getting to his chip and then I thought, ‘I’m not getting it’.
“It was a great bit of skill. He is a fantastic talent and it’s great having him in the game.
“He was quiet but he sets up one and scores one.
“He is a player that can win games from nothing.
“In the game at Tannadice the last time we played, it was mentioned later that he hadn’t had a good game and was almost taken off but then he scored a hat-trick.
“That’s the type of player that he is. I suppose he can be frustrating for supporters but he definitely has that something special.”
In fact, if it was not for Stillie’s own ability the visitors could have left Glasgow with nothing.
The former Dunfermline stopper made a great save from Hoops substitute Derek Riordan, throwing himself low to his left to tip a close-range drive round the post.
Then, in injury time, he got a touch to Riordan’s shot from outside the box which hit the inside of the post before curling away from goal.
But Stillie insists the Taysiders deserved at least a draw.
He said: “I got a touch on it with my thumb. I don’t know how much it affected the shot but I was pleased.
“But I think we deserved to take a point.
“We would have taken a point beforehand but after the way the game went, and how well we played, we are disappointed.
“We would have been hard done if we hadn’t taken something from the game.”
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan agreed with Stillie’s analysis of the match but admitted he was baffled by the assistant referees’ propensity for flagging Aiden McGeady offside so often.
He said: “Aiden was getting so much of the ball and people were telling me yes, he was offside a few times, but he was onside a few times as well.
“I’ve just been told by the fourth official that it’s physically impossible to watch someone kicking the ball and watch for offside at the same time.
“You might as well chuck offside then, if you can’t do that!”