Sunday 26 February 2017

Celtic survive late scare to narrow gap on Rangers

SECOND-PLACED Celtic took full advantage of their game in hand in the Scottish Premier League clash at Parkhead last night, when seeing off Dunfermline to close Rangers' lead at the top of the table to seven points.

Early goals from Gary Hooper and James Forrest gave the home side a vital cushion -- and they needed it as they had to survive a late scare when Dunfermline pulled a goal back through Andrew Barrowman.

Celtic only had themselves to blame for this late scare, with a host of wasted opportunities, including a miss from the penalty spot in the second half.

Hooper struck after just six minutes following a mistake by Pars midfielder Paul Willis, while further sloppy play from the visitors in the 13th minute was punished by Forrest.

Celtic dominated the rest of the half and the only surprise was that they did not add to their tally.

There was a low-key start to the second period, with Celtic over-elaborating at times as they swarmed almost constantly around the Dunfermline box.

Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, who came into the starting 11 for left-back Badr El-Kaddourieven, missed a penalty in the 56th minute after Dunfermline defender Paul Burns brought down Forrest just inside the box.

The South Korea international sent the spot-kick wide of the target to stunned silence.

The crowd's mood didn't improve when Barrowman scored for the visitors with four minutes remaining.

But Celtic held on and took the deserved win, bringing them to within seven points of arch rivals Rangers.

Earlier in the day the Parkhead club announced the signing of Mikael Lustig on a pre-contract agreement, with the Sweden defender (24) due to move to Parkhead in January on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

Irish Independent

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