Celtic held to goalless draw in final tour match

Stiliyan Petrov made his comeback for Aston Villa. Picture: Getty.
Stiliyan Petrov made his comeback for Aston Villa. Picture: Getty.
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Celtic drew a frustrating blank in front of goal in the final match of their pre-season tour as they were held to a 0-0 stalemate at NK Maribor.

Brendan Rodgers’ men failed to find their shooting boots in Slovenia and were unable to hand themselves a morale-boosting victory ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League qualifier in Gibraltar. Celtic will face Lincoln Red Imps to kick-start their European campaign, but will need to sharpen their finishing on the evidence of yesterday’s clash at Stadion Ljudski Vrt.

Elsewhere, Stiliyan Petrov made his first Aston Villa appearance in more than four years as Roberto Di Matteo’s side hammered Austrians Gak 1902 8-0.

Petrov played the second half as Villa romped home over their Austrian sixth-tier opponents, the 37-year-old stepping up his comeback after beating leukaemia.

The former Celtic midfielder last turned out for Villa in March 2012, before retiring due to his illness.

St Johnstone began their pre-season with a 2-1 victory in Northern Ireland against Glentoran who are managed by Alan Kernaghan, who used to play for the Perth side. Steven MacLean fired Saints ahead after two minutes but the hosts equalised through Chris Lavery. Substitute Chris Kane won the match for St Johnstone with nine minutes remaining.

Partick Thistle enjoyed a narrow 2-1 win over Morton at Cappielow, with all the goals coming in the first half. Thistle raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to a first-half double by Chris Erskine, but Michael Tidser pulled a goal back for the home side just before the interval.

Motherwell had to come from behind to win 2-1 at Dumbarton. The hosts opened the scoring through Robert Thomson’s overhead kick but their Premiership visitors hit back in the second half. Ross MacLean stabbed home the equaliser after Craig Moore’s header came back off the bar and Moore himself got the winner with 14 minutes left following a mix-up in the home defence.

It was also confirmed that Motherwell’s assistant manager and Northern Ireland coach Steve Robinson has been named as the new manager of Oldham Athletic.

Elsewhere, Bob McHugh, Will Vaulks and Nathan Austin (2) scored in Falkirk’s 4-2 win at Albion Rovers.