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Celtic 0 Kilmarnock 0 as Steve Clarke keeps up hoodoo over Brendan Rodgers with Parkhead point


Brendan Rodgers has steamrollered virtually everyone in his path since moving to Celtic.

Except for one notable exception. Steve Clarke . For the third time since taking charge of Kilmarnock earlier in the campaign, the Rugby Park gaffer found a way to keep Rodgers and his champions at bay.

Following a draw and a victory, a second point earned for Killie from a visit to Glasgow’s East End.

Of course, it wasn’t as treacherous a trip as it can be with Celtic having already tied the ribbons onto the Scottish Premiership trophy and shuffling their pack with a William Hill Scottish Cup Final looming against Motherwell on Saturday week.

But, nevertheless, it was a first and very welcome post-split point for the visitors, who displayed typical discipline and solidity to dig their way through.

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke issues instructions to Youssouf Mulumbu

Celtic just couldn’t break them down. Missing their top attacking guns, the champions were unable to burst a hole in the Killie backline.

Rodgers’ team had some chances. None clearer than a headed chance in closing stages for Jack Hendry which he put wide, but the lethal finish was absent.

There was, of course, no damage done.

The Parkhead manager was able to get valuable minutes into the likes of Jozo Simunovic, Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts ahead of Hampden and hand kid Ewan Henderson a debut as a late sub without his team losing their unbeaten domestic home record in his near-two years at the helm.

Ewan Henderson comes on to replace Patrick Roberts and make his Celtic debut
Ewan Henderson comes on to replace Patrick Roberts and make his Celtic debut

Celtic captain Scott Brown appeals to referee John Beaton

But that was about the strength of it and it most certainly won’t be one which is recalled with much fondness when the recollections of Rodgers’ first two titles at Celtic flow through the fans’ memory banks.

As the game chugged past the hour mark, still no counter. At least the rain went off.

Sinclair was involved at both ends in close shaves. Firstly, he escaped in the box and his centre looked a simple finish for Forrest.

The attacker stabbed his effort against MacDonald, but although his colleague was creator on that occasion, his manager was soon on his case as Killie then fashioned their own first really genuine opening of the contest.

Calvin Miller was sacked by Stephen O’Donnell near the corner flag and he released Greg Kiltie to drill a peach of a ball across the six-yard box.

Greg Taylor gets up close and personal with Celtic’s Patrick Roberts

However, although neither Brophy nor Aaron Tshibola could apply the finishing touch, Sinclair copped flak for allowing O’Donnell to wander free in the first place.

That scare was a signal for Brendan Rodgers to make changes. Tierney and Rogic were called from the sidelines in place of Miller and Armstrong respectively.

Immediately, the duo began to have something of an influence.

Tierney surging down the flank to provide an additional threat, while Rogic’s dancing feet twinkled around the danger zones.

But whenever a problem arose, Killie just stubbed it out.

With Gary Dicker and Youssouf Mulumbu strong in the middle of the park and Stuart Findlay combining with Scott Boyd at the back to plug gaps with relish, the Ayrshire outfit would not be breached.

Callum McGregor and Kilmarnock’s Gary Dicker tussles for the ball

Hendry hurled himself a header from McGregor’s corner and it was hacked off the line.

The former Dundee defender had an identical chance just a few moments later and this time thundered it within a foot of MacDonald’s right-hand post.

The goal just wouldn’t arrive for Celtic.



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