Youssouf Mulumbu the hero as Kilmarnock beat blunt Celtic

first_imgReuse this content Share on Messenger Celtic Share on LinkedIn Scottish Premiership Kilmarnock Youssouf Mulumbu’s second-half goal gave Kilmarnock a dramatic win over Celtic at Rugby Park with the visitors counting more than the cost of three lost points. First-half injuries to the central defenders Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer disrupted Celtic, who were stifled on the artificial surface by the hard-working home side.Kilmarnock were rewarded in the 70th minute when Mulumbu volleyed in a Jordan Jones’ cross to give Killie their first home win over the champions since 2010.Brendan Rodgers will hurt from an unexpected defeat, which was only his second against Scottish opposition. The first leg of the Europa League match against Zenit St Petersburg at Parkhead is less than two weeks away and the Celtic manager will be concerned about a growing injury list.Minutes before the transfer window closed on Wednesday Rodgers had signed the 22-year-old centre-back Jack Hendry and he made his Celtic debut as part of a back three, while the attacker Charly Musonda – on loan from Chelsea – started for the first time.There were only 10 minutes gone when Rodgers had to reshuffle his defence. The Belgian defender Boyata went to ground after blocking a cross from Eamonn Brophy, back in the side along with the centre-back Gordon Greer, and limped off in some frustration to be replaced by Nir Bitton.Celtic’s impressive early start gave way to some struggle as the well-organised Ayrshire side closed out all avenues and when Ajer was unable to recover from a leg injury he was replaced in the 35th minute by the winger Scott Sinclair, with the left-back Kieran Tierney moving into central defence.Some much-needed goalmouth action then ensued. The Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham fired a 25-yard free-kick on to the roof of the Killie goal before Greg Taylor drove wide at the other end after the Celtic keeper Dorus de Vries had spilled a Jones effort. The Dutchman then saved an angled drive by Kris Boyd.The Kilmarnock goalkeeper, Jamie MacDonald, pulled a Sinclair shot out of the air in the 54th minute as Celtic upped the tempo after the interval.The complexion of the game changed with 20 minutes remaining when the unmarked Mulumbu was picked out by Jones and from eight yards out guided the ball past De Vries for his first Kilmarnock goal since arriving in November.The 31-year-old former West Brom player removed his shirt amid ecstatic celebrations for which he was booked by referee, Kevin Clancy.Rodgers threw on Odsonne Edouard for Eboue Kouassi and Celtic stormed forward in search of the equalising goal but Kilmarnock should have increased their lead. Jones blasted over De Vries’ bar in a breakaway before Mulumbu had a drive blocked by the keeper, who then saved another effort from Jones.MacDonald saved a late free-kick from Ntcham and the determined home side held out for the three added minutes.Steve Clarke was content with the win that moved Kilmarnock into the top six. “It was a good performance from us,” the manager said. “With a little bit more quality and composure we could have made it an easier last five minutes.”Rodgers reflected after the match. “We haven’t had too many of those in my time here. I felt we were disappointing in the game. Defensively we were a bit passive at times I felt even though we didn’t have so much defending to do. And with the ball, with so much talent on the field, we didn’t create a great deal either.“We can blame injuries, we can look at the pitch and all sorts where it’s very difficult to play but the bottom line is we weren’t so good. It’s a very disappointing result. We could’ve played here until midnight and not scored.”ROUNDUPRangers passed up the chance to make ground on Celtic as goals from John McGinn and Jamie Maclaren handed Hibernian a 2-1 win at Ibrox. Rangers could have reduced the deficit on Brendan Rodgers’ men to 11 points with a game in hand by beating Neil Lennon’s side.Despite cancelling out McGinn’s first-half opener with a Sean Goss free-kick, it was Hibs who claimed the points. Maclaren entered the fray after five minutes for the injured Brandon Barker and claimed the winner from the penalty spot with 15 minutes left. Lennon showed his pride after the win. “In my managerial career it’s up there with beating Barcelona [as Celtic manager].”Andrew Considine scored twice as Aberdeen beat Hamilton 3-0 and reduced the gap on Celtic to eight points. The defender scored with a close-range volley after 24 minutes and a back-post header from a Ryan Christie cross with three minutes remaining. An impressive Niall McGinn had powered in a strike from inside the box for the home side’s second goal.Nadir Ciftci struck his first goal for Motherwell to earn a point at home to Partick Thistle. Ciftci fired a low shot into the corner from 16 yards after 79 minutes, securing a 1-1 draw. Kris Doolan had opened the scoring for Partick in the 53rd minute with a diving header.David Milinkovic scored the only goal of the game after 39 seconds of the second half to give Hearts a 1-0 in against 10-man St Johnstone.Alex Schalk scored twice to halt Ross County’s terrible run with a 4-1 victory at Dundee. The Staggies had gone 13 matches without a win and started the day six points adrift. Davis Keillor-Dunn broke the deadlock before Kerr Waddell equalised but Schalk struck twice and Tim Chow scored late on to give the visitors the win.Nial Briggs Share on Pinterest Topics Share on Twitter The Observer Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook match reportslast_img read more