Velicka spot-kick denies Celtic
Hearts leave it late and claim 1-1 draw
By James Dall. Last Updated: 01/12/07 2:32pm
Velicka: Kept his nerve
An injury-time penalty from Hearts' Andrius Velicka secured a dramatic 1-1 draw with Celtic.
Anthony Basso's error had gifted Gordon Strachan's Celtic a 1-0 lead, but when Gary Caldwell felled Ibrahim Tall in the box, Velicka made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Celtic's midweek exertions against Shakhtar Donetsk appeared to have taken their toll on Strachan's men as they looked rather leggy, with Hearts enjoying the better of the first half.
The home side were presented with a golden opportunity after just three minutes when an overworked passage of play eventually found Andrius Ksanavicius, who could only skew wide from a decent position.
Celtic's first positive move came in the 16th minute when Jiri Jarosik hit an ambitious long-range effort that caught Basso unawares, however his strike fizzed just wide of the post.
Hearts continued to create and a decent delivery from Andrew Driver found Christophe Berra at the back post, but he failed to get his head over the ball in order to direct his header downwards.
Aiden McGeady then did well to cross low and find Scott McDonald; however the striker lacked composure and blazed over from just 10 yards.
Ksanavicius was then handed another chance to break the deadlock after he found himself with room to strike, but the angle was tight and he fired past Artur Boruc's right-hand post.
Seven minutes into the second half Boruc came charging out of his goal as a high ball threatened to cause problems, the Polish keeper headed clear but came mightily close to giving away a foul after colliding with Christian Nade.
With 18 minutes remaining a poor Basso error handed Celtic the lead. Paul Hartley hit a fairly innocuous looking free-kick at goal; however Basso parried wildly allowing McDonald to follow up in true instinctive striker fashion.
Buoyed by their goal, Celtic pushed forward and McGeady almost netted after he wriggled past a defender to blast at goal, but Basso pushed his effort wide for a corner.
When all seemed lost for Hearts, the home side were awarded a penalty after Caldwell nudged the onrushing Tall in the box.
Under immense pressure, Velicka stepped up to strike powerfully home to secure a dramatic equaliser for Hearts.