Celtic blew a chance to top the Scottish Premier League as Inverness Caledonian Thistle fought back from two behind to extend their unbeaten away record to a year with a 2-2 draw today at Celtic Park.
Ki Sung-Yeung's first-half strike and a fine solo goal from substitute Paddy McCourt after the break looked to have sealed all three points. However, Inverness pulled one back when Richie Foran capitalised on a defensive mistake before Grant Munro headed in eight minutes from time to snatch a point.
"When you are 2-0 down you are thinking oh the record's gone here'," Inverness manager Terry Butcher said. "We just felt that if we showed more belief we could get something from the game and we got the goal from Foran from nothing and then the second goal as well."
It is the second successive weekend Celtic have drawn at home and leaves them two points behind rivals Rangers, who are away to Dundee United on Sunday.
"I'm absolutely livid with that," groaned Celtic manager Neil Lennon. "It's not the goals we conceded, it's the manner of the goals as well from a very strong position and you can't afford to do that at any level."
Celtic made two changes to the side that drew against Dundee United with Charlie Mulgrew and Jos Hoovield replacing Emilio Izaguirre and Niall McGinn as the home side opted to play three in the centre of defence.
The first chance fell to the Hoops in the third minute when Shaun Maloney controlled Cha Du-Ri's cross on his chest before firing in a shot which was on target but straight to Ryan Esson. It was to be the Celtic captain's last involvement in the match, however, as he injured himself in the process and was quickly replaced by McCourt.
The Hoops then had a goal ruled out in the 23rd minute. Gary Hooper played a through ball to Murphy, who rolled it past Esson but nearside linesman Francois Mangen had his flag up for offside. Two minutes later Nick Ross picked out Rooney with a clever pass at the edge of the box but his curling effort was saved superbly by Fraser Forster.
The home side's pressure paid off in the 38th minute when Ki fired Celtic into the lead. The South Korean latched on to a McCourt pass deep inside the box and turned to send a low drive in off the post to the bottom left-hand corner. A mazy run from Cha ended with the South Korean defender sending a fierce strike towards goal which Esson couldn't hold but Inverness cleared the danger.
The Inverness keeper then had to be alert to tip over a Ki cross from the left which looked to be dipping under the bar as Celtic started the second-half strongly.
A moment of skill and great close control from McCourt helped the Hoops double their advantage in the 65th minute. The Northern Irishman collected the ball 25 yards out and the winger waltzed past three Caley defenders before slotting low past Esson.
However, Inverness were not in a hurry to give up their long unbeaten away run and a moment of madness in the Celtic defence helped them reduce the deficit five minutes later. Daniel Majstorovic's pass put Thomas Rogne under pressure in the box and Foran robbed him of possession before lifting the ball over Forster from a tight angle which hit the post on its way in.
Inverness were level in the 83rd minute through a well worked goal. Rooney's overhead kick from Ross Tokeley's corner found Munro unmarked at the back post and he had the simple task of nodding in from four yards out.