McGregor strikes late to spare Celtic’s blushes
Callum McGregor struck late to rescue a point for Celtic as the Hoops lost top spot in the Scottish Premiership following a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone on Saturday.
St Johnstone grabbed a shock lead through Steven MacLean in the 40th minute at Parkhead as he took advantage of an error from Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
Celtic were rewarded for their relentless pressure in the second half when McGregor grabbed an equaliser 11 minutes from time to extend the Scottish champions’ unbeaten domestic run to 53 games stretching back to May 2016.
Aberdeen top the table, two points above Celtic and St Johnstone, following a thrilling 4-3 win over Partick Thistle at Firhill that maintained their 100 percent start.
It was a combination of good pressing from the St Johnstone forwards and an error from Gordon that led to a bizarre opening goal for the visitors.
Hoops defender Anthony Ralston played the ball back to Gordon under pressure from Michael O’Halloran and the goalkeeper’s slack clearance only reached Liam Craig at the edge of the area.
The Saints midfielder cushioned it into the path of MacLean, who took a touch and curled into the bottom corner, much to the anger of the Celtic defence who felt the striker was offside.
Celtic were stunned and boss Brendan Rodgers made a double substitution at half-time as he brought on Stuart Armstrong and Jonny Hayes to try and force a way back into the game.
However, the visitors continued to threaten and St Johnstone came close to doubling their advantage on the hour.
Gordon made amends for his earlier error as he superbly blocked MacLean’s header from close range, with the striker sending the rebound into the side netting.
MacLean was then lucky to avoid a red card as he appeared to catch Kieran Tierney in the face with his arm, but the striker was only shown a yellow card.
Rodgers made his final substitution when he brought on McGregor for Ralston and it proved to be an inspirational decision.
The substitute grabbed the equaliser with a fierce low strike into the bottom right-hand corner in the 79th minute.
St Johnstone survived a period of relentless pressure from the Hoops as Scott Sinclair and Mikael Lustig both smashed efforts off the bar late on.
On Sunday, Rangers will hope to get back to winning ways as they travel to Dingwall to take on Ross County.
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