Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 1

Last updated : 23 October 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Celtic left Rugby Park with three vital points in their pursuit of Hearts at the top of the SPL, but it is the home supporters who will be more encouraged by their team's performance.

Killie's recent record against the Old Firm is dismal, but on the evidence of this game, they matched their opponents everywhere except on the scoreboard.

Killie settled quickly and had the first clear chance when Danny Invincibile found Steven Naismith inside the penalty area and the youngster showed tremendous vision to pick out Gary McDonald at the far side of the box.

The midfielder looked certain to score, but took an age to set himself and Shaun Maloney slid in to block.

Celtic took the lead with a beautiful finish from Stilian Petrov. Chris Sutton did the hard work on the edge of the area and the ball broke perfectly for the onrushing Petrov who collected it and coolly dinked over the diving Graham Smith.

The half finished quietly, bit Jim Jefferies instilled more belief in the home side after the break and they came out determined to attack.

Allan Johnston was the architect of most of the Killie moves as he swept the ball around the park, and his array of twists and turns were a delight to watch and meant that the Celtic midfield couldn't get close to him.

Celtic defended resolutely, however, and for all Killie's possession they failed to trouble Artur Boruc.

It was Celtic who came closest to finding a second goal, with Craig Beattie heading against the post in the 54th minute and forcing Smith into a dazzling save a this feet four minutes later.

Maloney brought out another great piece of defending to deny McDonald when he threw himself in front of the Killie man's volley and ensured his side took the victory.