Kilmarnock stand firm to deny Hoops

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CELTIC missed the opportunity to rein in Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League, after being held to a draw by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

The champions seemed to be suffering from a Uefa Cup hangover after their midweek heroics against Celta Vigo, and started the game slowly.

They fell behind after 19 minutes when Andy McLaren headed the hosts in front from a Shaun Dillon free-kick .

Celtic did find their feet though, and began to pile on the pressure in search of an equaliser.

They were eventually rewarded for their dominance after 66 minutes, when Belgian international defender Joos Valgaeren nodded the leveller, after a John Hartson knock-back.

The Hoops were unable to find a winner though despite coming close on several occasions, and still find themselves four points behind their bitter Glasgow rivals.

Dunfermline returned to third spot and ensured Steve Paterson's Aberdeen reign started in the worst possible fashion in the process.

The Pars were commanding at East End Park and ran out comfortable 3-0 victors.

Stevie Crawford's clinical 38th minute strike broke the deadlock and then Jamie McAllister headed Jason Dair's corner into his own net straight after half-time.

Any hopes The Dons had of producing a stunning riposte were dashed on 64 minutes when Craig Brewster confidently slotted home from the penalty spot after Derek Young had fouled Scott Thomson.