The SPL title race is now wide open after Celtic crashed to a shock 3-2 defeat at Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Wednesday night. Neil Lennon´s side had a game in hand on leaders Rangers but are now one point behind the Ibrox club with just three matches remaining.
Terry Butcher´s men opened the scoring on six minutes when Charlie Mulgrew turned Adam Rooney´s flick into his own net, but Celtic equalised two minutes later after Kris Commons gave keeper Ryan Esson no chance.
Caley then took control of the game after the interval, Grant Munro firing home on 54 minutes after a corner fell to him and Shane Sutherland volleying home nine minutes later following some poor defending.
Commons got his and Celtic´s second from the spot deep into stoppage time after a foul on Shaun Maloney, but by then it was too late.
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Lennon bemoans defence.
Neil Lennon blamed his defence after the 3-2 loss to Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the Caledonian Stadium gave Rangers the advantage in the SPL title race.
The defeat left the Celtic manager fuming on the sidelines as he watched his team collapse to bottom-six Caley, and afterwards he told BBC Scotland: “Defensively we were poor and some of the guys picked today of all days to have their worse game of the season. We went AWOL at the start of the second half and didn´t start it anywhere near the way we should have.”
He added: “You never expect that kind of performance but with a bit of luck somebody might now do us a favour along the way. We need to take the title to at least the last day of the season.”
Hooper may miss summer break.
Gary Hooper has been named in England´s provisional 40-man squad for this Summer´s European Under-21 Championships, sparking fears the Celtic striker will not get much of a break before the start of the 2011/12 season, reports the Glasgow Evening Times.
The finals in Denmark kick-off on June 11 with the final itself on June 25, two days after Neil Lennon´s side report back for pre-season training. If Celtic win the SPL title there is the possibility the new campaign could begin on July 12 if they have to play the second qualifying round of the Champions League.
Hooper was included in England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce´s squad in March but had to withdraw through injury. However, if he does make the final 23 it will give Lennon a problem he could do before his second full season in charge.