Tue, Aug 07, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Misfiring champions Celtic limp to goalless draw

AFP, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

Gordon Strachan has ordered his misfiring Celtic stars to undertake extra shooting practice after they flopped in front of goal against Kilmarnock on Sunday.

The Scottish Premier League champions stumbled on the opening day of their title defence with a goalless draw at home to Jim Jefferies' side.

Despite dominating possession, and creating numerous chances, Celtic were unable to break the deadlock.

While the front two of Dutch striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Polish international Maciej Zurawski were the main culprits, Strachan says all of his players need to find their shooting boots.

"We weren't good enough when we had attempts at goal and we had quite a few of them," Strachan said. "I thought our strike pair worked very hard, got themselves into good positions and worked well for the team but at the moment, and it's not just them, anyone who gets into good positions is not finishing well. Chris Killen came on and did very well and had chances which he didn't finish so it's not just two players."

Comparing his players' failings to a golfer's putting problems, Strachan said: "We just need to keep working. If you take the golfing analogy, if you're driving well and your next shot gets to the green but your putting is not so great, then what do you do? You practice your putting. We are doing OK in defence and midfield but not so well in front of goal so we'll practice."

One player Strachan has been linked with who could help solve his goalscoring problems is Kilmarnock's Steven Naismith.

Although he didn't manage to find the net on Sunday, he was still a constant source of trouble for the Celtic defense, despite being booed by the home side's support.

Naismith has been linked with a ?2 million (US$4.1 million) move to Celtic, as well as their Glasgow rivals Rangers, and Hearts and Hibs in Edinburgh.

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