GLASGOW: Ross County put a dampener on Celtic’s title party as they held the Hoops to a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park yesterday.
Neil Lennon’s side wrapped up the Scottish Premiership championship with an emphatic 5-1 win away to Partick Thistle on Wednesday.
The home fans were hoping for more of the same as the champions faced a lowly Ross County side who had lost on all three of their previous visits to Celtic Park.
However, they were briefly silenced when Celtic conceded their first league goal at Parkhead since November last year as Melvin De Leeuw grabbed a 16th minute opener.
Celtic responded quickly and Kris Commons fired the Hoops level in the 35th minute for his 28th goal of the season.
Liam Henderson hit the post with a header early in the second half while Graham Carey came close with a fierce long-range strike that rattled the upright as neither side could force a winner.
Lennon felt his side had a hangover from their midweek title celebrations.
“We were a wee bit flat but I can totally understand that. The game was an aside to the celebrations really,” Lennon said.
“We’ve had no preparation work for this game at all and you could probably see that in the way we played but we will play better between now and the end of the season.”
Ross County manager Derek Adams felt his side had been unlucky not to win.
“We would have taken a point before the game but after it I am a bit disappointed not to go away with all three points,” he said.
“I thought we played really well and created good chances and were unlucky not to score again when Graham Carey hit the post,” he said.
With the title already sewn up teenager Eoghan O’Connell, young cousin of Irish rugby captain Paul O’Connell, was handed his competitive debut.
Celtic could have had taken the lead within the first minute after a free-flowing move but Stokes failed to connect properly with Emilio Izaguirre’s cross and the chance was lost.
The home side were playing exhibition football at times with the Celtic players spraying passes across the pitch before Commons tried his luck from long range with a fierce strike that was deflected out for a corner.
The Hoops had gone nine games and scored 25 times since they last conceded a goal in the league at Celtic Park back in November but their care-free play handed Ross County the opening goal in the 16th minute.
Carey robbed Scott Brown of possession on the half-way line to leave County three-on-two going forward.
Carey slipped in De Leeuw down the inside left channel and he drilled a low angled shot beyond Forster. However, the Hoops soon regained their composure and grabbed a 35th minute equaliser.
Stefan Johansen played in Leigh Griffiths whose low dipping shot was beaten away by ’keeper Mark Brown but Commons pounced on the rebound to prod it into the net.
Only the post stopped Celtic taking the lead five minutes after the break when Liam Henderson’s header came back off the upright after he connected with Johansen’s cross.
Carey was giving a good account of himself against his former employers and came close to firing Ross County back in front when his ferocious strike from 25 yards out cannoned off the post.
Elsewhere, Aberdeen stayed second as they came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw with Dundee United, third-placed Motherwell lost 2-1 at home to Kilmarnock and St Johnstone against Partick Thistle ended 1-1.
St Mirren’s 2-2 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle means Hibernian could relegate Hearts if they can beat their rivals in tomorrow’s Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle. REUTERS