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David Begg reports
"Ian Wright had to be pulled away by officials"
 real 28k

Dave Woods reports
"Celtic's title challenge has not been helped by the winter break"
 real 28k

Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 22:19 GMT
Wright in tunnel clash at Killie

Healy of Celtic holds off Reilly and Durrant


Kilmarnock 1-1 Celtic

Celtic's slim title hopes suffered another major setback, as they were held to a point by lowly Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

And the frustration appeared to get to Celtic's veteran striker Ian Wright, who was involved in a bust-up in the players' tunnel after the match.



After the game, I went straight into the dressing room. So I wasn't aware of what happened between Wright and Jim Lauchlan in the tunnel.
Celtic boss John Barnes
The former Arsenal hero had been incensed by a challenge by Jim Lauchlan and the pair confronted each other at the final whistle, before being hauled into the referee's room.

As a result of the face-off, Lauchlan was given a second booking and will now be banned.

The Hoops failed to increase the pressure on Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the table after they only stuttered to a 1-1 draw.

Australian international Mark Viduka gave the visitors the lead after 31 minutes when his low shot from close-range struck defender Jim Lauchlan and looped over the diving Colin Meldrum and into the net.

But second-bottom Kilmarnock were in no mood to be overshadowed by their illustrious opponents and they fought their way back into the contest.



I don't know what the outcome was. I never actually saw what happened but it is alright for Wright - he has got loads of money, he can afford to get into fisticuffs. But Jim Lauchlan hasn't got that much and I don't think he can afford the fines.
Kilmarnock boss Bobby Williamson
And they levelled the scores nine minutes later when Mark Reilly's fierce strike from the edge of the box flicked off Vidar Riseth to send Celtic keeper Jonathan Gould the wrong way.

John Barnes' visitors looked none the fresher for their mid-season break and rarely troubled the Kilmarnock defence and keeper Colin Meldrum.

Indeed, the home side were well worth their point and nearly grabbed a winner in the 54th minute, but Andy Smith's low shot was saved by Gould with his legs.

The result leaves Celtic stranded in second place on 41 points, six behind Rangers, having played a game more.

'We deserved victory'

Kilmarnock midfielder Simon Holt said his team saw the draw as a missed opportunity, but would take much comfort from their display.


Celtic's Mjallby closes in on Cocard
He said: "I think a point's massive for us, to be honest. People say we are second bottom in the league but I think the performances we have had suggest we are better than that.

"I think on chances we should have won - if you look at how many saves Colin had to make.

"It was a good chance for us to get a result, but I suppose it was a result, getting a point against Celtic."

Teams:

Kilmarnock: Meldrum, MacPherson, Lauchlan, Dindeleux, Baker, Mitchell, Durrant, Holt, Reilly, Cocard, Smith.
Subs: Marshall, Jeffrey, Mahood, Hessey, Canero.

Celtic: Gould, Riseth, Mjallby, Boyd, McNamara, Blinker, Petrov, Berkovic, Healy, Moravcik, Viduka. Subs: Kerr, Wright, Burchill, Johnson, Petta.

Referee: Kenny Clark (Scotland)

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Links to other Scottish Premier stories are at the foot of the page.