Smart had come into the middle to replace the suspended Barwick, and he got a good early chance, but sent it high over the bar, before Barlow won a corner that Sykes headed over. Then came the first of the gift wrapped goals, Young cutting in from the right and made no mistake curling the ball past the exposed Phillips. Sykes went up for a free kick after Ellington had been up-ended, forcing Provett into his first save of the match, without troubling him.
The second gift wrapped goal came when Woolliscroft turned into trouble and Roddy put the ball on a plate for Holland to take around Phillips and tap home. An instinctive shot from ex-Celtic forward Dean at the edge of the box was straight at Phillips, but Dean did get his goal when a vastly under-hit back-pass from Keeling was never going to reach Phillips, and Dean latched onto it, rounded Phillips who almost reached the ball, but Dean had a tap in.
Ellington had a cracker of free kick deflected for a corner by Killock, but Williams kicked air when the corner fell to him, and the chance was gone. Williams got a trio of chances as the game raced towards the interval, putting one an inch wide, and two over the bar.
Celtic came out of the second half fired up. A turn and shot from Ellington rose just over the bar with Provett stretching, and a superb strike from Briggs required a superb stop from Provett. A great shout for handball in the box was waved away as Toulson clearly used his hand to knock the ball away from Ellington, and Meynell was brought down by Killock, but again nothing was given. Woolliscroft had a good effort skim just past the far post, whilst Ellington forced Provett into an instinctive catch off Ellington?s close range header. Celtic were playing better as the game went on, and a great move saw Sykes free Torpey, who danced through the defence, and threaded the ball through for Barlow to get the touch that diverted the ball past Provett.
Harrogate broke out twice, and both times Holland wasted good chances, with his shots sailing wide of the mark.
Celtic threw everything forward, and Provett had to be on top form when Sykes?s shot cannoned through the crowd taking a wicked deflection that made the save low down all the more impressive. A Smart low drive was well watched by the Harrogate keeper, as Harrogate pulled nearly everybody back into the box. Briggs launched a thunderbolt that didn?t make it through the crowd, and Wood, with his first touch after coming on, was only just over the bar with a header.
As time was running out it seemed everybody bar Phillips and Woolliscroft were in or around the Harrogate box, and Keeling almost made up for the back pass with a half volley that struck Killock, the rebound coming out to Torpey, but he summed up Celtic?s afternoon as it zipped over.
Celtic cannot gift a three goal start to anybody, especially a team as organised defensively as Harrogate, and expect to take something from the game, but they gave it a good go.
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