SPL champions Celtic were held to a draw by European qualification-chasing Ross County at Victoria Park.

Four minutes in, Anthony Stokes put Celtic ahead, turning in a close-range effort from a Kris Commons corner.

Iain Vigurs levelled matters four minutes from the break, latching onto a Richard Brittain free-kick and firing his shot into the top-right corner.

County pressed forward, but efforts from Steffen Wohlfarth and Paul Lawson failed to produce a winner.

Neil Lennon made seven changes to his Celtic side, handing a rare start for Rami Gershon, while Lukasz Zaluska and Dylan McGeouch also came in.

County made one change as Martin Scott replaced Rocco Quinn in midfield.

The result leaves County four points behind the European qualification slot - currently occupied by their Highland rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle - with only two matches remaining.

Their day started poorly when Commons flighted in a corner and Stokes pivoted on the six-yard line to turn the ball into the back of the net for the opener.

Responding, Martin Scott picked up a through ball from Ivan Sproule inside the Celtic penalty area, but his bobbling drive towards goal failed to test Zaluska.

Mmoments later, though, Vigurs curved in a left-footed free-kick from the edge of the penalty area that forced the Polish keeper to save at full stretch.

Shortly before the half-hour mark, Stokes flicked an intelligent ball across the County six-yard line, but there were no hooped jerseys waiting to pounce.

With four minutes remaining of the first-half County were back on level terms. Richard Brittain played a casual free-kick from the left side of the Celtic penalty area for Vigurs to thunder home.

On the stroke of half-time, Tony Watt had the ball in the back of the net for the visitors, but referee Stevie Mclean had already blown for offside.

After the restart, Vigurs came close with a long-range shot that inched over the Celtic bar, then Stokes tested Michael Fraser in the County goal with a low drive that was tipped behind for a corner.

As the hour approached Efe Ambrose nodded down a Commons corner and the Celtic fans were on their feet when Brittain cleared off the line. Replays indicated that that the officials had made the right decision not to award a goal.

County's best chance of the match arrived in the 64th minute when Wohlfarth headed for goal from a Sproule cross, but his effort sailed over the crossbar.

And Lawson should have done better with a direct effort on goal that Zaluska made sure drifted over the Celtic bar as the match entered the final 10 minutes.

A poor free-kick from Brittain rebounded off the three-man Celtic wall, then Lawson produced a well-struck drive that Zaluska comfortably smothered.

A few late substitutions apiece failed to ignite the match in the dying minutes and County could not mount a repeat of the kind of last-gasp challenge that earned them a shock late home win against Celtic in March.

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (5)

Ross County

  • 01 Fraser
  • 04 Munro
  • 13 Hainault
  • 18 Ikonomou
  • 22 Kovacevic (Boyd - 87' )
  • 08 Lawson
  • 10 Brittain
  • 11 Vigurs
  • 14 Scott
  • 16 Sproule (Fotheringham - 88' )
  • 15 Wohlfarth

Substitutes

  • 19 Gallacher
  • 05 Boyd
  • 07 Kettlewell
  • 21 Cooper
  • 24 Ross
  • 29 Fotheringham
  • 27 Porritt

Celtic

  • 24 Zaluska
  • 03 Izaguirre
  • 04 Ambrose (Kayal - 89' )
  • 05 Gershon
  • 06 Wilson
  • 23 Lustig
  • 15 Commons (Rogic - 69' )
  • 16 Ledley
  • 46 McGeouch (McCourt - 83' )
  • 10 Stokes
  • 32 Watt

Substitutes

  • 26 Noring
  • 18 Rogic
  • 20 McCourt
  • 33 Kayal
  • 42 McGregor
  • 28 Keatings
  • 37 Atajic
Ref: Mclean
Att: 5,873

Match Stats

Shots

12 8

On target

7 6

Corners

4 7

Fouls

10 9

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:08 Full time

Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.

90:00 +1:49

Paul Lawson fouled by Emilio Izaguirre, the ref awards a free kick. Michael Fraser restarts play with the free kick.

88:58 Substitution

Substitution Beram Kayal is brought on as a substitute for Efe Ambrose.

88:21

Paul Lawson has a drilled shot. Save by Lukasz Zaluska.

86:47 Substitution

Substitution Ivan Sproule leaves the field to be replaced by Mark Fotheringham.

86:47 Substitution

Substitution Mihael Kovacevic goes off and Scott Boyd comes on.

85:56

Kelvin Wilson concedes a free kick for a foul on Martin Scott. Richard Brittain fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, blocked by Tony Watt.

84:15

Tony Watt fouled by Andre Hainault, the ref awards a free kick. Rami Gershon takes the direct free kick.

82:58 Substitution

Substitution Dylan McGeouch leaves the field to be replaced by Patrick McCourt.

81:53

Paul Lawson takes a shot from a long way out clearing the crossbar.

81:11

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Iain Vigurs.

80:49

Tony Watt is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Michael Fraser takes the free kick.

80:13

Martin Scott challenges Tom Rogic unfairly and gives away a free kick. Joe Ledley takes the direct free kick.

76:47

Inswinging corner taken by Iain Vigurs from the right by-line.

75:22

The official flags Tony Watt offside. Michael Fraser takes the free kick.

70:29

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Dylan McGeouch from the left by-line.

70:01

Martin Scott takes a shot and missed to the right of the goal.

69:17

Unfair challenge on Iain Vigurs by Dylan McGeouch results in a free kick. Iain Vigurs restarts play with the free kick.

68:16 Substitution

Substitution Tom Rogic comes on in place of Kris Commons.

64:22

Andre Hainault concedes a free kick for a foul on Anthony Stokes. Kelvin Wilson takes the free kick.

63:43

Free kick awarded for a foul by Efe Ambrose on Richard Brittain. Free kick taken by Iain Vigurs.

62:53

Steffen Wohlfarth produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.

58:40

Tony Watt takes a shot. Comfortable save by Michael Fraser.

57:47

Corner taken by Kris Commons from the right by-line, Efe Ambrose takes a shot. Richard Brittain makes a clearance.

57:27

Kris Commons decides to take a short corner.

56:00

The assistant referee signals for offside against Ivan Sproule. Indirect free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.

52:45

Anthony Stokes takes a shot from 20 yards. Michael Fraser makes a save. Corner taken left-footed by Kris Commons from the left by-line, Grant Munro manages to make a clearance.

50:33

Corner taken by Dylan McGeouch, Martin Scott makes a clearance.

50:11

Unfair challenge on Kris Commons by Paul Lawson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Kris Commons.

49:20

The referee blows for offside. Lukasz Zaluska takes the indirect free kick.

48:32

Iain Vigurs produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.

47:33

The official flags Joe Ledley offside. Free kick taken by Michael Fraser.

46:21

Foul by Steffen Wohlfarth on Kelvin Wilson, free kick awarded. Lukasz Zaluska takes the direct free kick.

45:01

The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.

45:00 +0:40 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +0:10

Anthony Stokes is caught offside. Michael Fraser restarts play with the free kick.

43:18

Free kick awarded for a foul by Steffen Wohlfarth on Lukasz Zaluska. Lukasz Zaluska takes the direct free kick.

42:37

Iain Vigurs produces a drilled left-footed shot from 12 yards. Blocked by Kelvin Wilson. Paul Lawson takes a inswinging corner.

40:19

Richard Brittain provided the assist for the goal.

40:19 Goal scored

Goal! - Iain Vigurs - Ross Co 1 - 1 Celtic Iain Vigurs finds the back of the net with a goal from outside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Ross County 1-1 Celtic.

39:38

Unfair challenge on Ivan Sproule by Efe Ambrose results in a free kick. Richard Brittain takes the direct free kick.

37:49

Rami Gershon fouled by Martin Scott, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.

36:16

Anthony Stokes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andre Hainault. Michael Fraser takes the direct free kick.

35:11

Kris Commons takes a shot. Blocked by Grant Munro.

33:56

Steffen Wohlfarth concedes a free kick for a foul on Dylan McGeouch. Free kick taken by Kelvin Wilson.

32:33

Inswinging corner taken by Paul Lawson, clearance by Anthony Stokes. Effort on goal by Richard Brittain from 35 yards went over the bar.

31:06

Anthony Stokes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Martin Scott. Andre Hainault restarts play with the free kick.

24:59

Steffen Wohlfarth is caught offside. Free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.

24:04

Emilio Izaguirre concedes a free kick for a foul on Mihael Kovacevic. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Iain Vigurs, save by Lukasz Zaluska.

23:00

Martin Scott takes a shot. Save made by Lukasz Zaluska.

19:23

Tony Watt takes a shot. Save made by Michael Fraser.

18:05

Dylan McGeouch has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the target.

16:48

Ivan Sproule takes a shot. Blocked by Rami Gershon.

12:54

The assistant referee flags for offside against Anthony Stokes. Michael Fraser restarts play with the free kick.

11:09

Kris Commons fouled by Iain Vigurs, the ref awards a free kick. Kris Commons restarts play with the free kick.

9:00

Corner taken left-footed by Kris Commons from the left by-line, clearance by Evangelos Ikonomou. Unfair challenge on Anthony Stokes by Andre Hainault results in a free kick. Anthony Stokes produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick, Steffen Wohlfarth gets a block in.

8:29

Martin Scott is caught offside. Lukasz Zaluska restarts play with the free kick.

4:14

Free kick awarded for a foul by Rami Gershon on Steffen Wohlfarth. Free kick taken by Richard Brittain.

3:19

Assist by Kris Commons.

3:19 Goal scored

Goal! - Anthony Stokes - Ross Co 0 - 1 Celtic A goal is scored by Anthony Stokes from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Ross County 0-1 Celtic.

2:55

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Kris Commons,

0:44

Anthony Stokes is caught offside. Michael Fraser takes the free kick.

0:00

The game gets underway.

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