Well both teams were on a bit of a run at the moment, so a draw is probably a fair result, right? Rubbish.
It was an explosive start to a game that had everything....except a sending off.
Gateshead played all right, but even they would have gone of the pitch wondering why the hell the referee had chosen to help them. The only time he would give a free kick to Celtic was when it could deny them advantage. We suckered him with one, when Mayers completed a move from a rare free kick.
Celtic scored three other goals before that one, and that should have been enough to sink any team.
Gateshead's first was offside. The linesman had his flag up and everything. Except the referee decided that Flannigan couldn't possibly be offside. He plays for Gateshead. When Preen skinned Potts and put the ball into the dead zone between defenders and Dootson, Flannigan was a yard off side. The linesman flagged when he ran onto it, kept the flag up when he scored, and only took it down when the referee told him to. What's the point in having linesman?
Fortunately, Mayers was on hand to start Celtic scoring, when he headed home a great cross from Eastwood, and then Eastwood got on the score sheet himself with a wonder strike from outside the box. Potts battled hard and dispossessed Jones, before giving Eastwood a stunner of a cross that he controlled and then blasted past the keeper.
Celtic went a little quiet then and were made to pay when Preen took advantage of the fact that Celtic had no central defenders whatsoever (Ridings was alone in a 3-4-3 formation). Celtic should have been warned when he'd done it once already, but scuffed his shot stupidly wide, but on the second attempt he trapped a ball on his chest waltzed past Riding, and slotted it into the top corner. The ball seemed to go through Dootson.
Parr almost restored the lead with a great diving header then went into the side netting, and Potts beat the bounce, and two defenders to snap off a wicked shot that was right at the keeper.
On the half hour, Dootson came to punch a corner that Parr had given away with a sliced clearance, and it went right back to Harrison, who put it back into the box. Dootson went to catch, it squirted between his fingers and Jones put it in the back of the net.
Celtic survived a couple of scares, mainly from Ridings lack of defending ability. Colvin must count himself unlucky as his shot cum cross from the wing was tipped onto the bar by Dootson and skidded off to the other wing.
Celtic went in at half time 2-3 down, and looking hot all over the field except in the centre of defence, where there was a big hole with a sign that said RUN THROUGH HERE.
Potts was fouled at the start of the second period, and Shotton kicked him in the ribs, quite deliberately, right in front of the linesman, who told the referee what had happened, and the referee did . . . . nothing.
When Morlan hacked Denham down at the edge of the box -(something he would do so often, he'd eventually get a yellow card) Potts rolled it to Eastwood while the wall was being built, it hit both bars and the cross bar before Mayers made sure and poked it home.
Dootson kept the scores level with a couple of great saves, including a reaction drop onto Flannigan's prod from 2 yards.
Celtic then missed a couple of chances, but Parr put the Celts ahead when Potts set Caldicott (on for Fitzgerald) on a run, and he turned his man before firing in a cross that Parr planted into the back of the net. 4-3, and Celtic were buzzing again and Gateshead were looking panicky. But that killer ball was missing - with another could o shots not troubling Waind.
Celtic paid when Preen backed into Ridings, Ridings grabbed his arm Preen pretended he'd been put down by a vet and won a penalty. Which he scored himself. It looked as though the ref had been waiting for that.
Then the ref started getting really silly.
Hooper got scythed own, now he did give the free kick, but after treatment had finished, he made Bowman leave the pitch, and come on at the half way line. When Parr pointed out the ref's error - he got carded. Denham was called offside in his own half, and the ref started blowing for anything in Gateshead's favour - literally anything. I couldn't spot half of what he was calling for, and by the looks of bemusement, neither could any of the players.
Celtic then had three penalty shouts turned down. Denham scythed down by Jones, who then shoved Mayers in the back before finally handballing it in the box. All more serious than the penalty that was given at the other end
Celtic deserved four goals, and to be fair, so did Gateshead. They may have had the rub of the referee, but they battled very hard (new manager syndrome) and chased a lot of lost causes. Jones and Preen were outstanding for them. Colwyn Bay next week has become a must win game now, if we are to maintain our push up the table.