Lindon Meikle had the first effort of the game for the home side cutting in from the left, but his shot lacked the power to trouble Paul Phillips, and the same was true from Dave Hankin?s shot at the other end that lacked any kind of power leaving Ian Deakin a simple scoop. Danny Holland?s free kick required a better save from the Celtic custodian as the two sides cut and thrust at each other, with Richard Battersby?s curling effort from the edge of the box requiring a good stop.
Joe O?Neill continued his steady improvement when he received Keith Brigg?s lobbed ball, controlled it well on his chest to keep him out of Mark Hume?s way, turned inside the box and volleyed an unstoppable shot into the corner, with Deakin getting a hand to it, but not enough to keep it out. A few minutes later and Warren Peyton could have made it two, with a dipping effort scraping the crossbar on the way out. Dave Hankin tried the shot when there were options available, with Deakin doing very well to get across and palm it around the post for a corner.
A surging run from Anton Brown left a trail of Celtic players in his wake, but a timely block from Steve Woods took all the sting out of the final shot, and gave Phillips a comfortable save, as Celtic looked to be in the ascendancy. This ascendancy looked assured when Hume crashed straight through the back of Joe O?Neill leaving the referee little option but for a straight red. Rather than demoralize the home side, the red saw them up a gear, and get straight back into the game as Ian Holmes took down Meikle?s ball and smashed home his shot almost immediately after the restart. Eastwood pressed for the remainder of the half, and looked the more dangerous of the two sides.
After the half time interval though, it was a different story. Keith Briggs pulled the strings in midfield, and was almost rewarded with a goal, as his effort from the edge of the box curled low and almost crept in as Deakin stood and watched, grateful for the width of the post that kept Briggs?s effort out. Seconds later, and Celtic were back in front following some slick one touch passing that had the hosts chasing shadows culminating with wunderkind Connor Jennings watching the ball come down from Joe O?Neill?s cushioned header off Matty Barlow?s pulled back cross, before unleashing a stunning volley from thirty yards out that flew straight into the top corner, bending Deakin?s fingers back as he vainly attempted to keep it out.
Celtic turned on the style after the second goal, and at points the hosts were given a footballing lesson with slick passing and great movement on and off the ball. Briggs curled a shot the wrong side of the post and a cracking effort from Barlow was really well saved by Deakin. Paul Ennis was brought on for the tiring Jennings, and his fast paced style suited the Celtic tempo perfectly. Moments later and it was three for Celtic. Deakin kicked the ball from his hand and it struck Matty Barlow squarely on the head, leaving him prone, but the referee waved play on as the ball came to Dave Hankin who controlled well taking the keeper and defender out of the game, with a defender coming back to the line, it looked like a square ball to the unmarked Joe O?Neil was the perfect ball, but Hankin had other ideas and rolled the ball between defender and post. Barlow had to be subbed after the incident, with Craig Hobson getting his debut.
A surging run from Ennis and a shot of great power required a cracking top notch save from Deakin, and an even better save off the corner as Steve Woods smashed in at the far post, with Deakin not only getting across but blocking the shot. After Hobson and O?Neill were guilty of playing keep ball in the Eastwood box, Briggs took the initiative and smashed a shot at goal, requiring another fine save from Deakin to keep the score-line respectable.
In all honesty this was showcase football from Celtic, who never looked back after Hume?s sending off.
|7||Brown, David||> 42|
|10||Holland, Danny||> 79|
|12||Knox, Peter||< 79|
|15||Riley, Paul||< 42|