Celtic frittered away another two points at Kilmarnock this afternoon after a performance which ultimately showed depths of determination but was marked by shockingly bad organisation.
Kilmarnock’s opener in 25 minutes could not have been simpler. An 80 yard high ball was collected on the edge of the Celtic penalty area by Heffernan, who turned and picked out the onrushing Dean Sheils, who was initially being marked by Beram Kayal but the Israeli failed to match Sheils run, allowing the Killie player time to pick his spot and score.
The home team were encouraged by the opening goal and continued to press forward. Fraser Forster did well to turn over a blistering shot from Kelly which was destined for the top corner. Kilmarnock’s pressure was rewarded on 40 minutes when Kayal and James Forrest stood off a ball conceding possession. Sheils crossed for the offside Heffernan to score but the assistant referee didn’t flag so the goal stood.
Seconds before half time Charlie Mulgrew was short with a back pass and James Fowler chipped Forster to give Killie and three goal half time lead.
The first 28 minutes of the second half were miserable for Celtic as the team appeared resigned to a fate similar to the Celtic team which visited St Mirren Park in March 2010 but Anthony Stokes had other ideas. Stokes missed what was surely the worst chance of his career early in the first half when the scores were still level, and saw a good penalty claim denied on 71 minutes, but instead of hiding he stepped forward.
James Forrest, who also stood up to be counted throughout, ran at the Killie midfield and was fouled 25 yards out. Stokes struck the resultant free kick perfectly into the top left corner.
Two minutes later Stokes collected the ball from Ki 28 yards from goal in what seemed like a safe position but his swift turn and inch-perfect shot beat Jaakkola in the Kilmarnock goal.
Kilmarnock were now rattled and Celtic were level on 79 minutes. Daniel Majstorovic got on the end of a long free kick at the back post and squared for Charlie Mulgrew who headed home.
Having scored three times within seven minutes and with over 10 minutes of the game remaining the Celtic support had reason to feel confident their team could collect all the points but it was Kilmarnock would should have tied up the win in the final minutes when Heffernan found himself unmarked inside the Celtic six yard box but headed over, however, the home team will be happy to have collected their first point in four games.