Strachan rues missed chances as Celtic slip up

August 5, 2007

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan was left to rue a catalogue of missed chances as his side began the defence of their Clydesdale Bank Premier League title with a goalless home draw against Kilmarnock.

The champions dominated almost from the opening whistle but the strike duo of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Maciej Zurawski were off form as a combination of bad finishing and good defending by the Ayrshire side left the scoreline blank.

Strachan said: 'It wasn't bad. I've seen a lot worse from us and I take a lot of positives from it.

'We created a lot of chances, our keeper hardly had a save to make and we kept a clean sheet.

'In the last few games that we've won with a single goal, that's by far the most possession and most chances that we've had against Kilmarnock.

'But I must say well done to Kilmarnock, they defended very bravely, they were fit and strong in the air.

'If we had taken the chance we got early on then it would have been a real problem.

'It's just unfortunate that we could not finish off some of the good work during the game.

'On the day we weren't good enough when we had attempts on goal and we had quite a few.

'The strikers worked very hard, got themselves into good positions and worked well but at this moment, and not just them, anyone who gets in is not finishing.

'Chris Killen came on and had chances and still couldn't finish so it's not just two (players).'

Killie boss Jim Jefferies was counting the cost of the point gained after losing three players to injury.

Former Celtic striker David Fernandez made his return to action for the first time since sustaining a cruciate ligament injury against the Parkhead side last October as a 63rd-minute substitute.

However, a clash with Aiden McGeady in injury time left the 31-year-old Spaniard writhing on the ground clutching his head.

After a lengthy spell of treatment, Fernandez was stretchered off before being sent to hospital.

Midfielder James Fowler was also sent to hospital with a suspected broken ankle and skipper Garry Hay had to come off just after the break with a hamstring injury.

Jefferies said: 'I would be a hard man if I wasn't proud of my players, every single one of them was excellent, particularly at the back, when you take into consideration the injuries we had to key men.

'The downside is the injuries we picked up.

'Fowler hasn't missed a game in two seasons and gets injured in the first game and there is a possibility that he has a broken ankle.

'Garry has a hamstring injury and David took an accidental elbow in the eye socket which is causing a lot of bleeding and real pain.

'It's great to have him back and I think when he went down everyone was fearing that it was his knee again, but it's bad enough.

'He was distraught, screaming in pain in the dressing room so he is away to hospital.'