| -2°C Dublin

Bhoys close the gap before trip to the Canaries

Close

Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre (R) is congratulated on his goal against Kilmarnock by teammate Stefan Scepovic

Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre (R) is congratulated on his goal against Kilmarnock by teammate Stefan Scepovic

Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre (R) is congratulated on his goal against Kilmarnock by teammate Stefan Scepovic

Celtic trimmed Aberdeen's lead at the top of the SPFL down to a single point after winning 2-0 at Kilmarnock last night.

A first-half goal from Emilio Izaguirre settled Celtic's nerves before a close range effort from Stefan Scepovic in the 71st minute killed off any prospect of the home side damaging the hoops title hopes.

Celtic fly out to Gran Canaria today for a week-long training stint that includes friendlies against PSV Eindhoven and Sparta Prague knowing that if they win their game in hand they will return to the top of the league, although all eyes will be on Aberdeen at the weekend when they visit St Mirren.

Uncertainty over Ronny Deila's style of play coupled with a seven-match winning run from Aberdeen has provided Celtic with an unexpected challenge in the race for the title as the Norwegian picks up the baton handed on by Neil Lennon. Deila hasn't yet made any moves into the January transfer market but Derry City midfielder Michael Duffy will get a second chance to impress during the trip to Gran Canaria.

Kilmarnock's artificial surface provided the biggest obstacle to Celtic's progress with passes constantly being over-hit, although the return of Kris Commons provided a focus for Celtic's attacking play.

Despite speculation that he could be departing during the transfer window, there was a starting place for Commons with Scepovic and Liam Henderson also drafted in after the 0-0 draw with Ross County on December 27.

Celtic took the lead in the 36th minute with Izaguirre the unlikely hero racing onto a pass from Stefan Johansen to lash the ball into the net from 15 yards out. Commons continued to be involved in almost every Celtic move with a shot on the hour mark headed over the bar by Jamie Hamill as Deila's side played towards the visiting fans in the crowd of 5,329.

With 19 minutes left to play Celtic increased their lead with Scepovic scrambling the ball over the line after Efe Ambrose had headed on a corner from Johansen.

Anthony Stokes, missing last night due to an Achilles injury, will travel with the Celtic squad to Gran Canaria.


Privacy