Celtic 1-1 St Johnstone: Hasselbaink equalizer denies hosts top spot

Celtic was denied top spot in the SPL after Nigel Hasselbaink's late goal cancelled out substitute Tony Watt as the Bhoys failed to win for the third time in a row in the league.
St. Johnstone striker Nigel Hasselbaink helped his side claim a point away to Celtic and denied the SPL champions the chance to reclaim top spot in the league table.

Celtic looked to have replaced Hibernian at the summit of the league when Tony Watt came off the bench to claim his eighth goal of the season, but that was not enough for the Parkhead side, which was coming off a riveting UEFA Champions League triumph over Barcelona.

The home side started to get forward after a slow beginning, with Miku attempting to get onto a cross from the left by Charlie Mulgrew, but unfortunately for the on-loan Getafe striker, Frazier Wright got in front of him to clear. Efe Ambrose almost gave the visitors the opportunity to go ahead as his slack defending allowed both Steven Maclean and Hasselbaink to break, but Kelvin Wilson got back to clear the danger.

Celtic then had two free kicks from almost identical positions on the right hand side of the St. Johnstone half, but both Mulgrew and Kris Commons could only find the grateful arms of goalkeeper Alan Mannus in the home goal.

Neil Lennon’s side continued to press for the reminder of the half, with Victor Wanyama, Joe Ledley and Commons all having efforts to get the SPL champions into the lead, but none of them could find a way past the St Johnstone rearguard.

The Hoops boss made a change at break, with the ineffective Miku coming off and Watt coming on, and the substitution worked with only six minutes gone in the second half as Mulgrew played a long ball from the left to Watt, and the young striker poked the ball home from close range to take the lead.

With quarter of an hour left St Johnstone almost got level as Maclean got onto a Liam Craig cross from the left hand side, but his strike was superbly saved by Fraser Forster, who cleared the ball for a corner. That corner resulted in the equalizer, as the ball was eventually played into Hasselbaink on the left hand side of the box, and the Dutch striker managed to twist and turn his marker before rifling the ball into the roof of the Celtic net.