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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 August 2007, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Celtic 0-0 Kilmarnock
By Colin Moffat

Aiden McGeady challenges Kilmarnock's Steven Naismith
Kilmarnock managed to keep a clean sheet at Celtic Park
Celtic began the defence of their Premier League title with an uninspired draw at home to Kilmarnock.

Gordon Strachan's side were in the ascendancy throughout but lacked the creative spark to unlock Killie's well-organised defence.

John Kennedy and Maciej Zurawski were guilty of close range misses and Killie keeper Alan Combe had to tip away a last-minute effort from Scott Brown.

Kilmarnock rarely threatened but Simon Ford wasted a good headed chance.

It has been almost nine years since the Ayrshire outfit picked up a league point at Celtic Park.

And a positive result for the visitors looked unlikely as the champions started strongly.

Celtic wasted no time getting forward and midfielder Paul Hartley slammed a shot high over the crossbar with less than a minute played.

Aiden McGeady was looking lively and his deep cross to the back post found Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink unmarked but the big Dutchman could only volley back across goal and wide from six yards.

In the 16th minute Killie enjoyed a rare break forward, with Steven Naismith putting Allan Johnston through on goal.

However, the veteran midfielder did not have the legs to escape, allowing Celtic right-back Mark Wilson to get in a saving tackle on the edge of the penalty area.

With the rain pouring down, Celtic were getting bogged down as the visitors put up stubborn resistance.

A loose ball broke to Brown in a congested penalty box but the summer signing failed to connect properly and the ball bounced wide.

Massimo Donati then split the Killie defence with a neat pass but Zurawski's shot on the stretch from 14 yards was gathered by Combe.

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With a minute of the first half remaining, the ball fell kindly to Kennedy and the Celtic defender hurried his shot to blast over the top.

The second period was only a minute old when Hartley's looping header had to be tipped away by Combe.

There was then a let-off for the home side when Colin Nish was allowed to hook the ball into the danger zone and the unmarked Ford headed over from five yards.

Celtic immediately raced up the park and Combe made a great diving save to keep out Zurawski's stabbed effort.

And when the ball broke back to the Poland international he somehow fired wide from inside the six-yard box.

Celtic stepped up the pace in the closing minutes and Combe had to look lively to get fingertips to a Brown shot that was looping towards the top corner via the turf.

And the visiting keeper was relieved to see a Kennedy header fly straight into his arms in stoppage time.


Celtic: Mark Brown, Wilson, Kennedy, McManus, Naylor, Hartley, Donati (Nakamura 63), Scott Brown, McGeady, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Zurawski (Killen 63). Subs Not Used: McGovern, Caldwell, Miller, Sno, O'Dea.

Booked: Naylor, McGeady, Kennedy.

Kilmarnock: Combe, Fowler (Dodds 31), Lilley, Wright, Hay (Gibson 50), Naismith, Ford, O'Leary, Hamill, Johnston (Fernandez 83), Nish. Subs Not Used: Harpur, Di Giacomo, Skora, Koudou.

Booked: O'Leary, Nish, Naismith.

Att: 60,000

Ref: C Thomson

SEE ALSO
Jefferies hails Kilmarnock effort
05 Aug 07 |  Kilmarnock


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