Southport had the early running in the first half with Steve Daly forcing Paul Phillips into an early save of outstanding quality, but with the balls falling for Southport it was only a matter of time, and it came when Ciaran Kilheeney got the better of Barrie Keeling before powering his shot past Phillips. Warren Peyton's distance effort was over the bar by some margin, and Dave Hankin was unlucky when a loose ball in the box bounced past him before he could react, as Celtic looked for an equaliser. While they looked an Andy Smart conceded free kick deep in Southport's half was pumped sixty yards for John Hardiker and Kilheeney to battle over, as Phillips came out, Kilheeney got enough of a foot on the ball to lift it over the advancing Celtic keeper and notch his and Southport's second. Kilheeney could have had a hattrick before half time, if not for Phillips's reactions taking the Southport striker's header easily just before the interval.
The second half saw Celtic come more into the game as Southport tried to slow it down. With the Southport defence mopping up any balls into the box, Keith Briggs took it upon himself to charge at them with a thundering run before rounding Earl Davies and smashing the ball over Tony McMillan and onto the bar, for a moment it looked like it might bounce away, but instead it bounced down clearly across the line before Davies hacked it away. One behind, Celtic could have done with another five minutes as they tried to unlock the Southport back five, Joe O'Neill coming close after the ball fell for him in the box, but McMillan made an excellent save. The introduction of Connor Jennings looked like paying dividends, but his late late shot lacked the power to trouble McMillan though it was superbly placed a long way from , whilst at the other end, Phillips kept Celtic in the hunt with not one, but two fantastic saves, diving clear across his goal to block Daly's shot.
Celtic just ran out of time, but it was a much improved performance.