Commons rescues point for Celtic

Sat, Aug 18, 2012, 01:00

Ross County 1 Celtic 1:A dramatic injury-time goal by Kris Commons gave Celtic a point from a 1-1 draw against Clydesdale Bank Premier League new-boys Ross County at Victoria Park.

There were four minutes gone in the second half when Hoops defender Mikael Lustig fouled Mark Corcoran 20 yards from goal and Parkhead goalkeeper Fraser Forster had no chance when Staggies skipper Richard Brittain fired the free-kick high past him and into the net.

It looked like the Highland side would hold on for their first league win over the Glasgow giants but, in the third minute of added time, Commons pounced to tap the ball into the net from close range after County keeper Michael Fraser had spilled a shot from Hoops substitute Tony Watt, who had replaced Lustig.

The home side, who extended their unbeaten run to 37 games, might feel harshly done by and Celtic manager Neil Lennon celebrated the leveller with some gusto, as he now turns his attention to the first leg of their Champions League play-off against Helsingborg in Sweden on Tuesday night.

Brittain could not hide his devastation afterwards, and told ESPN: “I don’t know what to say to be honest, I think it was in the last 10 seconds.

“I am bitterly disappointed....but it shows how far we have come. We need to pick ourselves up and focus on next week’s game.”

County's manager Derek Adams was furious with referee Craig Thomson’s decision to add on three minutes.

“There were three minutes of injury time and I don’t know where that came from," Adams said. "We didn’t make any substitutions and there wasn’t an injury in the second half. The assistant referee told me it was because the ball didn’t come back quick enough.

“Well, I’m sorry, that’s just life. We are not allowed ball rotation in the SPL so why would he add a minute and a half for that? I have no idea.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon accused some of his players of “going through the motions” and looked forward to having some of his key men back from injury for the first leg of their Champions League play-off against Helsingborg.

“To come through unscathed, we have to be happy with that," he said. “You always want to win but, in the end, the way we salvaged the point was good. I think some of them were going through the motions to tell you the truth.

“We had 11 players missing, four of them front-line strikers, but I am not using that as an excuse. We missed good chances, easy chances and realistically we should have won the game. We should have Scott (Brown), Paddy (McCourt) Gary (Hooper) and James (Forrest) training tomorrow so they should be okay.

“Gary had a scan on a hamstring yesterday but it wasn’t too severe so hopefully he will be okay for Tuesday.”

Lennon was asked if his players were thinking ahead to Tuesday.

"Possibly," he replied, "It is such a huge game. We have to be more professional than that. I don’t think we were bad. Some of the passing was decent but the final ball lacked quality and there was a lack of urgency.”

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