Celtic Park was looking magnificent as ever as the players arrived full of excitement to play in the 2009 Football Aid Charity match. There was plenty to be excited about too with the knowledge that Celtic and Scotland legends, Danny McGrain and Paul Lambert, would be playing in the match.
Sunday 17th May 2009
Celtic Home vs Celtic Away
Legends: Danny McGrain and Paul Lambert
Match Officials: Alan Frame, Douglas Ross, Tony Ventri and Adam Cairns
The teams left the tunnel to take the pitch, welcomed by their loved ones in the stands singing along to ‘It’s a Grand Old Team to Play For’. Both sides looked a little nervous to begin with, but the calming influence of the legends didn’t take long to settle them down. In the 3rd minute the Home side were awarded a free kick just outside the area to the right of goal, with Andy McGuinniety stepping up and hitting the ball with his left foot, the shot just going wide of the right hand post.
In the 24th minute, the Away team got themselves a penalty after a trip inside the area, however unfortunately the resultant kick was well saved by Home keeper, Stephen Higgins, who tipped the spot-kick onto the post. It was to be one of very few clear cut chances in the first half, as most of the match was being played in the middle third.
In the 40th minute Away midfielder, Kevin Brown dispossessed Diarmuid McKenna on the left wing and ran towards goal. As he entered the area, a heavy challenge came in from Stephen Graham that took little of the ball and a lot of the player, however the referee played on.
In the final moments of the half it was the Home side that took the lead. Andrew Boland’s shot from the left of the box was parried by the keeper, which then kindly fell for Shaun Kelly to tap home.
Half Time: Celtic Home 1 – 0 Celtic Away
It was a fairly even opening to the second half as both sides went in search of a goal. The best of the early exchanges fell to Andy McGuinniety on the Home team when some slack defending allowed the striker to steal the ball and run at goal with only the keeper to beat. However Ian Sharkey wasn’t to be beaten, as he stood well, blocking the shot.
Moments later and this time Sharkey was helpless to stop his side from going further behind. Andrew Boland was able to run at goal from the ride of midfield and into the box, then shaped himself as though to shoot, cleverly dummying the defender, before cutting inside on his left and shooting past the keeper. It didn’t take long for the lead to be extended further when a left wing cross from Andy McGuinniety was directed towards the centre of goal on the edge of the box - the keeper came out to claim it but Andrew Boland nipped in front of the him to control the ball forward and casually slot it home for the third goal of the game.
The Away side had a chance to get a goal back in the 61st minute when Kevin Brown was played in on goal. However Home keeper Stephen Higgins was alert to the danger, and rushed off his line to gather the ball. That save proved critical when five minutes later Andrew Boland ran into the area, dummied his marker, then laid the ball off for substitute Joe Mackin to expertly curl the ball up and over the keeper into the far left corner of the net to increase the score to 4-0.
Far from being discouraged the Away side were showing plenty of fighting spirit, and in the 71st minute their persistence was rewarded. John Burns crossed the ball in from the right towards the near post, however the pass was initially blocked by a defender. The ball then fell back out to him inside the area allowing for him to hit a terrific, curling, left foot finish into the top left corner of goal.
The game was very open by this stage as both sides were beginning to tire, and within minutes of the restart the Home team had a four goal cushion once again; this time it was James Temperley adding his name to the score sheet when he ran across the edge of the area, into the box before hitting a left foot shot over the despairing Ian Sharkey to make it 5-1.
A perfect through ball from the impressive Kevin Brown for his team mate, Captain Stephen Dalton, allowed for a clear run at goal. Dalton first rounded the keeper then hit the ball past the last defender inside the right hand post to make it 5-2. The remainder of the match was fairly even with both sides showing signs of fatigue. The final goal of the game coming in the 85th minute – this time a scramble in the Away penalty area ended with James Temperley scoring his second of the match for the Home team.
Full Time: Celtic Home 6 – 2 Celtic Away
Home Team: Hunter, McGrain, Graham, Kane, Kelly, Temperley, Scott, Boland, Caplin,
McGuinniety, Mackin, McKenna, Gribbin, Knox
Away Team: Sharkey, Browne, Lambert, Blount, Merriman, Tutty, McCabe, McGovern, Brown, Dalton, Burns, Quinn, Montgomery, MacDonald
Mascots: Cain Kelly, Moya McGuinniety-Morrison, Erin Brady and Thomas Tutty
Man of the Match (home): Stephen Graham
Man of the Match (away): Michael Blount
Moment of the Match: John Burns