Matchzone | Celtic (H)
Kilmarnock earned back-to-back wins against Celtic at The BBSP Stadium, Rugby Park with a sensational 2-1 victory on Sunday 10th December.
Matty Kennedy took the opportune moment to grab his first goal for the club, finding a winner in the dying minutes as Killie fought back from a half-time deficit in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
In a typical game of two halves, Celtic dominated much of the first period.
Sparking a spell of one-way traffic in the opening 20 minutes, Will Dennis was quickly called into his first save of the day; diverting Matt O’Riley’s strike away from his bottom left corner with a strong parried save.
The Killie ‘keeper’s second save of the game also denied the lively Celtic No.33, this time via a smart block from close range.
Celtic continued to hone in on the target as the half-hour mark approached. Oh was next to gain a half-glimpse of goal, rising a snapshot over the bar from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Grasping for a foothold on the game, Danny Armstrong led his side’s attacking threat on the break. Joe Hart was forced to dirty his gloves when the winger’s cross was lofted into his box. The former England No.1 comfortably gathered the first of numerous balls that would be fired in his vicinity throughout the afternoon.
At the Chadwick Stand end, a mixture of woodwork and goalkeeper denied Celtic the opener; for the time being. Luis Palma’s strike clipped the post, before Will Dennis knocked the rebound to safety.
There was nothing the Killie keeper could do when the visitors broke the deadlock on the 33rd minute. Matt O’Riley was quickest to react to a solid save from Will Dennis, stabbing home from close range (1-0).
Killie weathered the storm and had a late flurry of chances before the interval. Danny Armstrong came millimetres from finding a leveller when he met Matty Kennedy’s cross to the back post, striking his first-time shot off the crossbar.
The Killie No.10 then forced a superb save from a full-stretch Joe Hart, with an incredible recovery block from Alistair Johnston denying Corrie Ndaba from the resulting rebound.
In contrast to the first half, Killie came flying out of the traps after the restart. A succession of balls were thrown into the Celtic box; one of which resulted in Corrie Ndaba drawing the Celtic keeper into an impressive close-range stop.
The equaliser eventually came with quarter of an hour remaining. A Marley Watkins pass was fed wide to Brad Lyons on the right edge of the box. His driven cross was bundled home by the backtracking Celtic defender Nat Phillips (1-1).
Rapidly gathering momentum, there was destined to be one winner in the final 10 minutes. Killie swarmed around the Celtic box, with Stuart Findlay’s looped effort and a Marley Watkin’s snapshot signalling that the Ayrshire side were going in for the kill.
The moment of magic came from Matty Kennedy who found the perfect time to pop up with his first goal in the blue and white stripes. A neat exchange with Danny Armstrong played the Killie academy graduate through on goal, with a composed finish placing his side ahead with three minutes of normal time remaining.
A confident display from the Killie defence saw out an incredible 8 minutes of added time to earn the points.
Result: Kilmarnock 2-1 Celtic
Kilmarnock lineup: Dennis, Mayo, Findlay, Deas, Ndaba, Armstrong (Mackay-Steven 90+11), Polworth, Donnelly (Watkins 66), Lyons, Kennedy (Murray 90+11), Vassell (McKenzie 90+4)
Celtic lineup: Hart, Johnston, Phillips, Scales, Taylor, O’Riley, Iwata (Kyogo 76), McGregor, Johnston (Yang 70), Oh, Palma (Forrest 84).
Check out the match gallery, courtesy of Jeff Holmes and Ross Mackenzie.