Ross County 2-2 Celtic: Controversial late penalty denies visitors
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 17/04/17 1:20pm
Celtic maintained their unbeaten domestic record this season despite conceding a controversial late penalty to draw 2-2 with Ross County on Sunday.
Kieran Tierney put the champions ahead with a fine strike from distance in the 34th minute.
Michael Gardyne headed in an equaliser after half-time, but substitute Patrick Roberts looked to have scored the winner with 12 minutes remaining.
However, Ross County were awarded a late penalty when Alex Schalk went down in the box under what appeared to be little contact.
Liam Boyce converted and, perhaps still incensed by the awarding of the penalty, Celtic captain Scott Brown was sent off in injury-time for a lunge on Boyce.
Brown is now likely to miss the next two matches, both against Rangers, the first in the Scottish Cup semi-final and the second in the league, as Celtic aim to stay unbeaten and win a domestic treble.
Looking to build momentum ahead of the Scottish Cup clash, Brendan Rodgers named a strong starting side, with Tom Rogic making his first start since December and Moussa Dembele also in the XI for the champions, who were given a guard of the honour on their way out.
Ross County had taken four points from their last two games, but they were on the back foot for almost the entirety of the first half.
Celtic vs Rangers
April 23, 2017, 11:30am
Celtic, though, did not create many clear chances, with James Forrest seeing a shot well blocked after a pass across goal.
Ross County's resistance was eventually broken in fine style by Tierney as he fired a low effort from around 25 yards out into the bottom corner.
Ryan Dow spurned a chance to equalise when he sliced a volley minutes later from a good position, before Scott Sinclair shot at Scott Fox as Celtic finished the half on top.
But Ross County improved after the break and levelled through a brilliant header from Gardyne.
The hosts continued to press until Celtic regained control of the game and restored their lead when Roberts slipped the ball through Tim Chow's legs and beat Fox at his near post.
Stuart Armstrong hit the bar from a free-kick as the visitors appeared to be comfortably seeing out the game.
But they were pegged back in controversial style as Schalk appeared to go down in the box without contact, with the reaction of the Celtic players suggesting he had dived. Boyce converted the penalty.
Brown then lunged in on Boyce minutes later to earn himself a red card.