Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic0KilmarnockKilmarnock0

Scottish Premiership: Celtic 0-0 Kilmarnock

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland at Celtic Park
Celtic's Stuart Armstrong (left) battles for the ball against Kilmarnock's Mark O'Hara
Celtic struggled to break down well-organised visitors

Premiership leaders Celtic dropped points and potentially suffered an injury setback as they failed to break down a resolute Kilmarnock side.

The handful of chances created by the home side were spurned but mostly they were frustrated by the visitors.

Captain Scott Brown returned to the starting XI and was typically dynamic until a late knock left him hobbling.

Celtic rarely fail to score and Kilmarnock rarely keep clean sheets but expectations were overturned.

With Hearts also drawing at home, Ronny Deila's men remain six points clear at the top but that will be reduced to five if Aberdeen win at Hamilton on Sunday.

The nature of the game was evident quickly. In the opening spell, Kilmarnock were deep, narrow and rigidly organised, while there were outbreaks of desperation in defence.

Stoutness was a defining characteristic and the tone was set by the captain Mark Connolly.

The defender was playing his first game since suffering an injury in August but he was alert, strong and grimly determined. In the space of only a matter of seconds, he blocked shots by Stuart Armstrong and James Forrest.

That kind of defiance was Kilmarnock's main purpose, since it was the most likely way that they could dispirit Celtic.

The home side were seldom perturbed, though, since they routinely spent long spells in their opponents' half and must have constantly been reassured that the sheer weight of pressure would eventually tell.

The visitors' full-backs Mark O'Hara and Kevin McHattie could not enjoy a moment's respite but they never wavered.

O'Hara saw off Armstrong and then was similarly capable with his replacement, Gary Mackay-Steven. McHattie had the more difficult task, since Forrest was in the kind of mood to bewilder his marker with a drop of the shoulder or a shuffle of his quick feet.

Dedryk Boyata's late header was touched on to the crossbar
Boyata's late header was touched on to the crossbar as Celtic pressed for a winner

Nonetheless, Celtic did enough to threaten but found the finishing touch was out of reach.

It was typical of Leigh Griffiths' afternoon that an errant touch took the Celtic striker away from goal after darting clear of the Kilmarnock defenders. Later in the first half, he controlled a through ball brilliantly but, from between the two centre backs and at close range, he tamely stabbed the ball straight at Jamie MacDonald.

While Kilmarnock snapped into tackles and were so set on an aggressive tone that flash points inevitably arose, Celtic remained adrift from their decisive nature.

With so many opposition players behind the ball, the league leaders had to probe patiently but alertness was often missing and Griffiths finished weakly again when the ball broke to him just inside the penalty area.

Kilmarnock, who earned a 2-2 draw at home to Celtic in August, tried to stretch play through Josh Magennis and Kallum Higginbotham, who were persistent in their endeavour, but even that waned after the break as the hosts dominated possession.

MacDonald saved smartly from a Griffiths free-kick at the beginning of the first-half and then tipped a thunderous Dedryck Boyata header onto the face of the bar in the closing moments.

In between, Celtic felt they might have had penalties when Brown and Mackay-Steven went down but referee Bobby Madden was unmoved.

In truth, the hosts' play lacked the tempo or the guile to create clear chances and the desperation to score almost cost them at the end.

Craig Gordon had to dive to his left to save from Greg Kiltie and then Tope Obadeyi.

As if to subdue Celtic further, Brown also seemed to injure himself in a challenge and finished the game being unable to run.

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 20BoyataBooked at 45mins
  • 5Simunovic
  • 3IzaguirreSubstituted forAllanat 84'minutes
  • 6Bitton
  • 8Brown
  • 49Forrest
  • 18RogicSubstituted forCiftciat 71'minutes
  • 14ArmstrongSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 59'minutes
  • 9Griffiths

Substitutes

  • 4Ambrose
  • 7Ciftci
  • 16Mackay-Steven
  • 19Allan
  • 26Bailly
  • 42McGregor
  • 63Tierney

Kilmarnock

  • 21MacDonald
  • 14O'HaraBooked at 74mins
  • 6Connolly
  • 26Balatoni
  • 22McHattieBooked at 90mins
  • 7McKenzieSubstituted forKiltieat 41'minutes
  • 8Robinson
  • 16Obadeyi
  • 3Smith
  • 11HigginbothamBooked at 30minsSubstituted forHamillat 88'minutes
  • 28MagennisBooked at 21mins

Substitutes

  • 1Ridgers
  • 4Hamill
  • 9Boyd
  • 18Ashcroft
  • 19Slater
  • 20Carrick
  • 23Kiltie
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
42,770

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home20
Away6
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home10
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away7

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 0, Kilmarnock 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 0, Kilmarnock 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Mark Connolly.

  4. Post update

    Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box.

  5. Booking

    Kevin McHattie (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  6. Post update

    Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Kevin McHattie (Kilmarnock).

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Jamie Hamill replaces Kallum Higginbotham.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Scott Allan replaces Emilio Izaguirre.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Greg Kiltie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

  19. Post update

    Scott Robinson (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Conrad Balatoni.