The highly anticipated first league meeting between Lerwick Spurs and Celtic on Friday lived up to its billing.
But in a see-saw match, the rivals ultimately cancelled each other out.
Spurs started brightly, gaining an early foothold that they didn’t relinquish for the entire half. Sam Goudie worked his way into the box from his position on the right, chipping an effort wide of the far post.
With 10 minutes gone, Celtic were content to see a loose ball heading out for a goal kick, but failed to notice Paul Molloy’s burst forward, nicking the ball on the touchline.
Molloy knocked the ball past Paul Grant and was felled by the goalkeeper’s challenge for a penalty. Captain Josie Kay finished it calmly.
Spurs took their goal as a chance to press on, pinning Celtic back with Kay in particular heavily involved. His long-range free kick drifted harmlessly over, before a volleyed effort forced a diving save.
Hindered by playing into the wind and rain on a foul evening at Gilbertson Park, Celtic struggled to gain momentum, Spurs’ snuffing out attacks with ease.
Molloy offered a consistent threat. Having shot wide a few minutes previously, he pounced on a fumble from Grant, laid off for Kay whose shot was parried. On the break, Celtic enjoyed their best chance of the half, Connor Regan shooting wide.
Spurs might feel they should have held more than a one-goal lead at the break, Molloy and Sam Ward having efforts blocked, but Celtic held out for half time.
Celtic immediately took to playing into the wind, offering more in the first few minutes than they had in the entire first half. Former Spurs man Shane Jamieson headed a Ryan Grant free kick wide.
Minutes later, after a clash that left Celtic’s Neil Fenwick and Kay with head wounds, Jamieson came forward from defence to put the free kick brilliantly into the far corner to level the score.
A saved Molloy effort aside, Celtic continued to control play for the next 10 minutes, Grant coming close twice. With 25 minutes remaining, however, Spurs began to get into the match, Ward volleying over the bar and Lewis Kay heading wide from a corner.
The final minutes of the game were frenetic, both sides attacking determinedly. Regan had an effort saved, before Josie Kay, bandaged and bloody-shirted, headed over.
Spurs looked the more likely to score as play went back and forth, but niggling fouls disrupted the rhythm of both sides.
There was to be no final twist, the game finishing 1-1. Both sides may feel they could have won it, but it will be Spurs cursing louder for failing to make their excellent first half count for more.