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A Gary Mackay-Steven strike and an own goal from Efe Ambrose sees Celtic drop two points away to Dundee United, though Neil Lennon's side still reclaim top spot in the SPL

A Gary Mackay-Steven strike and an own goal from Efe Ambrose in the final minutes handed Dundee United a point against Celtic on Sunday afternoon.

The SPL champions had looked to have claimed all three points when Miku and Tony Watt gave them a two-goal adavantage, yet the Hoops were unable to hold on to their lead.

Dundee United boss Peter Houston was happy to welcome back left-back Barry Douglas to the side, which meant that skipper John Daly could move from defence into attack.

With Barcelona visiting Glasgow on Wednesday, Celtic boss Neil Lennon gave a couple of fringe players a start, with Thomas Rogne and Watt taking their place in the line-up.

Celtic took control of the game early, with Scott Brown crossing from the right for Rogne, but the defender’s header went wide of Radoslaw Cierzniak’s goal.

Kris Commons played a deep cross from the right wing in search of Watt, but the young forward could only direct his effort over the bar, before Commons also had a chance after being set up by Brown, but Cierzniak saved easily.

Dundee United started to get forward a bit more, with Gavin Gunning having a drilled cross that Celtic keeper Fraser Forster cut out, then Stuart Armstrong had a long range effort which went over.

In the closing minutes of the half, Brown had a chance to score with a close range header from a Mulgrew cross, but once again the visitors failed to find the target and then Mulgrew tried his luck with a free kick from the edge of the area, which Cierzniak saved well.

Lennon’s side came out strong at the start of the second half, with Emilio Izaguirre playing the ball to Watt, who then played it back to the Honduran, but his strike could only hit the side-netting of the goal.

The home side should have taken the lead when Willo Flood’s effort from the edge of the area was palmed out into the path of Russell by Forster, but the Dundee United frontman powered his strike over the bar.

Dundee United continued to push forward with both Daly and Gunning having chances, but neither could find a way past the Celtic defence.

Celtic finally made the breakthrough with less than a quarter of the game remaining as Victor Wanyama chested down a long ball and played it to Watt, who in turn sent Miku through to claim his first goal for the club.

The SPL champions doubled their advantage minutes later, with a helping hand from Arabs keeper Cierzniak, as his poor clearance went straight to Watt, who brought the ball into the box and unleashed a strike past the helpless shot-stopper.

The home side got one back when substitute Rudi Skacel’s strike was blocked and fellow sub Mackay-Steven made no mistake from six yards out to give the Dundee United fans some hope.

That hope became reality as a cross from the left wing by Barry Douglas was diverted past his own keeper by Ambrose to give the hosts a vital point.

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