in Match Reports November 19, 2016
Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 1
Alan Cochrane @ Rugby Park
Despite a good performance, and giving their all against a Celtic team packed with international players, Killie lost by a single goal scored one minute before half time. Some Kilmarnock teams have crumbled after such a setback; this one didn't.
For most of that first 45 minutes Celtic had the ball and were in control, but Kilmarnock ensured that they didn't have too many clear cut chances to score. Sviatchenko, under presssure, headed wide from a corner, and Dembele, also under defensive pressure, shot wide, but we were half way through the first period before MacDonald had a real save to make. It was a peach however. Forrest cut in from the right wing and curled a left foot shot which was heading inside the keeper’s right hand post, but he turned the ball away for a corner with a terrific diving save.
Killie however kept trying to make chances of their own. McKenzie had a shot blocked, Taylor provided some dangerous crosses from the left which weren't taken, and one which Bojaj headed wide, and Jones drove a low cross from the right which had the Celtic defence scrambling. With about a minute left of the half, Forrest rampaged through the middle, had a piece of good fortune when the ball rebounded to him out of a tackle, and found Armstrong in the clear to his left, giving him a straightforward job to score. It was hard to take for the home support.Immediately after the break it looked as if Celtic were going to continue their dominance with MacDonald having to block a McGregor shot after he had been set free by a cute Dembele flick, and then the keeper having to scramble back quickly to turn away a Roberts shot. Killie however upped their game, and one driven Jones cross was heading for the unmarked Tyson when Gordon dived out full length to knock the ball away, and the Celtic keeper had to be alert to smother a Jones free kick. Celtic were a little fortunate when a shot was deflected by Armstrong which wrong footed Gordon but went just outside his left hand post, and Frizzell had a shot saved after good work by Tyson. With 10 minutes left Celtic almost doubled their lead with a Lustig shot scraping the outside of MacDonald’s left hand post, but the match ended with no further scoring.
Lee Clark spoke of his disappointment for the players that they hadn't taken something from the game. The game plan worked defensively and we stayed in the game, in the second half we grew into it as an attacking team and were the team on the front foot. It was then Celtic who were trying to hit us on the break. I couldn't ask any more of the players tonight; I thought they were terrific in every way. For Celtic, Brendan Rogers said, “That was a brilliant result for us. His players did Lee Clark proud.”
Kilmarnock: MacDonald, Smith, Boyle, McKenzie, Dicker (McFadzean), Jones (Coulibaly), Bojaj (Tyson), Boyd, Frizzell, Taylor, Hendrie
Celtic: Gordon, Brown, Dembele, Sinclair, Armstrong, Boyata, Lustig, Roberts (Rogic), Sviatchenko, McGregor, Forrest (Britton)
Referee: Don Robertson
Sandy Ferguson's match pictures: