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27.02.2008 @ 19:45 Celtic Park, Glasgow Attendance: 56787
Celtic
2 - 1
Inverness CT
Referee: William Collum League-match

Goalscorers
McDonald (45)
Samaras (61)
Marius Niculae (70)
Starting Lineup
Boruc
Hinkel
Caldwell
McManus
Naylor
Nakamura
Donati
S. Brown
McGeady
McDonald
Samaras
Michael Fraser
Richard Hastings
Ross Tokely
Grant Munro
Phil McGuire
Russell Duncan
Ian Black
Markus Paatelainen
Don Cowie
Marius Niculae
Dougie Imrie
Substitutes
Hartley
Riordan
Sno
Robson
Killen
O'Dea
M. Brown
Zbigniew Małkowski
David Proctor
Guy Kerr
Roy McBain
Iain Vigurs
Dale Gillespie
Dennis Wyness
Substitutions
Killen -> McDonald (83) Roy McBain -> Ian Black (78)
Dennis Wyness -> Markus Paatelainen (78)
Yellow cards
None Dougie Imrie (50)
Red cards
None None.
Other statistics
16 Shots 7
9 Shots on goal 2
2 Offsides 1
10 Corner kicks 5
10 Free kicks 10
0 Penalties 0
Match report
After holding out for most of the first half, the Caley Jags went in at the break down by a goal after Scott McDonald scored on the stroke of half-time. On the hour mark, Samaras extended the Celtic lead but Caley Thistle fought back with a goal from Marius Niculae with 20 minutes to go. Despite several good chances, the equaliser wouldnt come but it was a far better performance than recent games.

Ian Black made his 100th appearance for Caley Thistle in this game but Craig Brewster did have an enforced change with Graham Bayne dropping out through injury and he was replaced by Markus Paatelainen. Former Caley Thistle and Dundee United midfielder Barry Robson was on the bench for Celtic.

Caley Thistle started with a 4-5-1 formation that has become familiar throughout parts of this season and were forced to soak up enormous amounts of pressure in the first half as Mike Fraser performed heroics in the ICT box.

Donati was the first with a shot from the edge of the box in 8 minutes that Fraser held well, then Samaras twice went close either side of the 20 minute mark with a 15 then a 20 yard drive and in 28 minutes McGeady came close with an effort that Fraser caught at the second attempt with McDonald nearby. A minute later and it was Nakamura who shot wide of the post.

All this before Caley Thistle had even had a sniff of a chance. However, as the half wore on, Caley Thistle did manage to get a little further forward. In 31 minutes Niculae made a break, found Paatelainen who in turn found Imrie but the recent signing could only put it wide. Imrie had another chance just before the break when an Ian Black free kick was headed back across the box but his volley went over the bar.

Right on the stroke of half-time Celtic took the lead. Hinkel was fouled on the right by Paatelainen and from the resultant free-kick, Nakamura fired in a dangerous ball. His kick was met by the head of McDonald on the six yard line and Fraser had no chance at stopping him scoring his 25th goal of the season. 1-0 HT

Into the second half and Celtic went looking for the goal that would kill the game off. The first effort came in 51 minutes when Samaras hit the post but it was the same player who would extend the lead on the hour mark courtesy of some good work by Aiden McGeady. McGeady beat a couple of players on the left then curled a cross into the box. Samaras was there to bullet the header past Fraser. 2-0

Caley Thistle got back into the game in the 70th minute through Marius Niculae with an assist from the Celtic defence. Scott Brown made a poor pass across his box that was pounced on by Niculae and he curled an excellent effort past Boruc. 2-1

From then on in, Caley Thistle tried hard to get an equaliser but it just wouldnt come. In 87 minutes Wyness came agonisingly close when his curling effort just went past the post and despite a late flurry of corners and free-kicks for ICT the ball didnt find its way into the net.

A disappointing defeat but a lot of heart to be taken from this match as the Caley Jags once again looked like a team who were giving 100%. Lets hope that continues.