Forrest fires Celtic past Pars

PA Sport
James Forrest
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James Forrest

Celtic moved to within seven points of Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders Rangers with a 2-1 win over Dunfermline at Parkhead that should have been convincing but ended up fraught.

Striker Gary Hooper and midfielder James Forrest capitalised on slack early play by the visitors to give the Hoops the half-time lead before manager Neil Lennon raged in frustration at the profligacy of his side as they spurned numerous chances.

Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng even missed the target with a penalty after the break before a goal by Pars striker Andy Barrowman with four minutes remaining saw the home side glad to hear the final whistle.

It took just six minutes for Celtci to go ahead when midfielder Paul Willis play a loose pass in-field from wide on the left which was picked up by Hooper and he raced clear of the stunned Pars defenders before slipping the ball past Paul Gallagher.

The second goal from Forrest came in the 13th minute after Pars defender Alex Keddie gave possession away, allowing Celtic to break. With the Dunfermline defence exposed Kris Commons played in Anthony Stokes inside the box. Although Gallagher saved his low drive, the ball broke to Hooper who cleverly set up Forrest to guide the ball into the net from eight yards.

The home side continued to pour forward and good work by Joe Ledley and Stokes saw Gallagher somehow keep the ball out from the Irishman's cut-back, with the visiting defence in more disarray.

It appeared all too easy for the Hoops and moments later Forrest was set up by Stokes but watched his low drive from the edge of the box skip just past the far post, moments before Commons went equally close with a similar effort.

Ki missed a penalty in the 56th minute after Dunfermline defender Paul Burns brought down Forrest just inside the 18-yard box, according to referee Bobby Madden. The South Korea international sent the spot-kick wide, to stunned silence.

Then, in the 62nd minute Ki set up Stokes inside the box. Although the striker's shot beat Gallagher it rebounded off the post and the bedraggled Pars once more got off lightly.

Dunfermline got a consolation four minutes from time when Barrowman fired an angled drive from the edge of the box low past Fraser Forster and in at the far post to set up a nervy ending, which Celtic were glad to see out.

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