ALISTAIR JOHNSTON and Celtic paid a heavy price for an aimless delivery into the Kilmarnock box at Rugby Park yesterday.

The encounter was stalemated at 1-1 in the 87th minute when the Hoops right-back was presented with a wonderful opportunity to carve an opening in the home side’s penalty area.

The Canadian World Cup defender moved onto a pass from Matt O’Riley and had time to take a touch and measure a ball into the box. There was also the pathway for a run to the byline and a cross to a waiting team-mate.

Instead, with three colleagues taking up good positions and another about to join them, Johnston first-timed an aimless pass BEHIND the Celtic contingent.

BACKFIRE…Alistair Johnston’s careless right-wing delivery was seized upon by Killie – and cost Celtic their unbeaten league record. 

That was all Corrie Ndaba needed to boot the ball skywards and it dropped for Liam Polworth to knock a pass wide on the right to Daniel Armstrong, who had terrorised Greg Taylor all day. With the left-back nowhere to be seen, the winger was allowed time and space to carry the ball forward.

At precisely the right moment, he slid a pass in front of Matty Kennedy who raced away from Callum McGregor and Liam Scales before stroking the ball wide of the exposed Joe Hart.

From Johnston’s sloppy ball to Kennedy sticking the winner in the Hoops’ net it took exactly NINETEEN SECONDS.

We can only hope that short time lapse does not come back to haunt the champions when the prizes are being given out at the end of the campaign.

Once again, the loss of a crucial goal emphasises the fine margin between success and failure in football.

BY THE RIGHT…Alistair Johnston fires a cross into the Killie penalty area.

IT’S BEHIND YOU…the wayward pass goes astray.

UP IN THE AIR…Killie’ Corrie Ndaba launches the ball out of the danger zone.

ON THE RUN…Liam Polworth slides a pass to the unmarked Daniel Armstrong on the right.

PENALTY BOX ISOLATION…Matty Kennedy finds himself on his own as Armstrong pushes the ball into his tracks.

PICK IT OUT…the Killie forward rolls the ball past Joe Hart for the winning goal.

HOOPS’ OOPS…Alistair Johnston gets a close-up view as the ball rolls into the net with Nat Phillips, who put through his own goal for the equaliser, again experiencing that sinking feeling.


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