Wits striker James Keene celebrates after scoring the winning goal from the penatly spot. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - There won’t be enough for the highlights package, suffice to say maybe Bidvest Wits are slowly clawing their way up the table. That’s about it really.

Oh, and the drama that led to the only goal of the game.

A free kick straight from the training ground drills looked to be going horribly wrong when the ball suddenly took a deflection and was heading towards goal before Mpho Maruping used his hand to change its direction.

He was red carded for momentarily taking the place of goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb, leaving Bloemfontein Celtic with a numerical disadvantage, while striker James Keene converted from the resulting penalty spot to give Wits the lead.

The Clever Boys looked a little flat compared to the last time they played here in an impressive 2-0 win over SuperSport United – a game that suggested the reigning champions were well on their way to regaining the form that led to their title winning previous season.

What followed after that was a draw away from home against Chippa United before this Friday night fixture against a side they narrowly beat 1-0 last month to clinch the Telkom Knockout.

Celtic arrived here needing a pick-me-up. They were slaughtered in another away trip a week ago at the Harry Gwala Stadium, their hosts Maritzburg United showing absolutely no hospitality by thrashing them 4-0 in a clinical performance that even Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic applauded.

The Serbian will not be happy with a second successive defeat that pushed them further outside the top eight, but should be pleased with how his side fought to keep the scoreline as is after losing Maruping after just 25 minutes of the first half.

As expected, Celtic never troubled Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet, but the Clever Boys can’t claim they asked questions of Tignyemb either - apart from a Vincent Pule attempt that was shot straight at the Cameroonian goal minder shortly after the hour mark.

The biggest take away from an encounter that perhaps livened up just a little bit in the second half is that Wits, who have been rooted to the bottom of the Absa Premiership for months now, jumped to 13th place and now enjoy a three-point lead over fellow relegation candidates Platinum Stars (who face log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday evening) and the troubled AmaZulu and Ajax Cape Town (who will be involved in a derby against Cape Town City on Saturday afternoon).

Wits haven’t convincingly turned the tide just yet, despite giving the impression they had in their unforgettable win over SuperSport earlier this month.    

But a victory, which has been hard to come by for coach Gavin Hunt and his men, will be most welcome as they at least try to aim for the top eight with the title firmly out of sight.

IOL Sport

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