Celtic 4 Kilmarnock 2

Last updated : 14 January 2006 By Footymad Previewer

Celtic bounded back to winning ways with a deserved victory in a six-goal thriller at Celtic Park.

Celtic boss Gordon Strachan made two changes to the starting line-up that lost at Clyde as Maciej Zurawski and Stilian Petrov came in for Stephen Pearson and Du Wei. With the Chinese international dropping out of defence following his disastrous display last Sunday at Broadwood, Strachan made the decision to move Roy Keane back to the heart of the Celtic back four alongside Stephen McManus.

However, Keane's presence at the back did little to improve a Celtic defence that has looked increasingly leaky in recent weeks. In fact, Keane was at fault for Kilmarnock's equaliser at the start of the second half.

Petrov made an instant impact on his return to the Celtic starting line-up following his recent injury. He won a free kick 25 yards from goal after being brought down by Gary Wales. Shunsuke Nakamura scored with a powerful curling shot over the wall to give the home side the perfect start to the match after only three minutes.

Jim Jefferies made an immediate change in Kilmarnock's formation, switching from five to four at the back in an attempt to stop the early Celtic onslaught. This instantly paid dividends as Kilmarnock started to get more possession in the middle of the park.

But just as Kilmarnock started to look threatening, Celtic took a two-goal advantage from the penalty spot.

It was another foul on Petrov that led to a Celtic goal as the Bulgarian was brought down by James Fowler inside the box. Shaun Maloney netted the penalty, sending Alan Combe the wrong way with a high powerful finish.

But Kilmarnock got themselves back into the game with a penalty of their own midway through the first half. Colin Nish was fouled inside the area by Stephen McManus and Naismith converted from the spot.

Celtic's defensive frailities once again let them down as Kilmarnock levelled in the 51st minute. Keane gave the ball away to Naismith, who laid the ball back to Hay. He played a deep ball to the back post where Danny Invincible netted with a well-placed header.

But the game was only level for 90 seconds as Celtic instantly re-took the lead. Combe failed to hold the ball, allowing McManus to bravely score from close range, picking up a knock in the process.

Celtic calmed their nerves with their fourth goal when Ross Wallace made a bustling run down the left before picking out Zurawski in the middle. The Pole saw his effort parried on to the underside of the bar by Combe before it was adjudged to have crossed the line, despite protests from the keeper.