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Celtic Game 1 2011

The players arrived at Celtic Park on Monday morning in good spirits despite it being one of the windiest days of the year. The insular stadium protected everyone from the elements however, and everybody was keen to get out into the harsh conditions. Danny McGrain, Bobby Petta and Tom Boyd were all on hand to lend their experience to both sets of players.

Monday 23rd May 2011
Celtic Home vs. Celtic Away
Game 1
Kick Off: 11:00am
Legends: Danny McGrain, Bobby Petta, Tom Boyd
Match Officials: Gary Bayley, Liam Butler and David Carberry

The Home side playing in the famous green and white hoops got the game underway at Celtic Park. Both sides started well, the level of play at a good quality with both teams keeping the ball on the deck. Midfield duo Emo Ros and Ryan McDonald were putting their feet on the ball in particular for the hoops and controlling the game. The Italian pairing of Nicola Perazzini and Marco Giannini were the ones pulling the strings for the Away side, with Craig Campbell getting stuck in with a few big tackles.

It was the Home team who created the first real opportunity in the game with a well worked free-kick in the tenth minute. Richard Caplan curled in a beautiful delivery from a wide position, right onto the head of Alan Woodrow, whose glancing header struck the foot of the post before being knocked out of play for a goal-kick.

A few minutes later the Away side had their first chance, and what a chance it was. A Home defender miscontrolled in the box, and William Hogg pounced. He hit a rasping shot that was brilliantly saved by Andy McMahon, the rebound falling to Anton Gallagher who could only drag his shot from six yards. It wasn't the easiest chance for Gallagher, the winger showing good reactions just to get a touch on the ball.

The Hoops had another go five minutes later; Michael Clarke and Jason Kinloch combined passes to give the ball to Caplan in space about 30 yards out from goal. The striker unleashed a ferocious left-footed drive that was beaten away by Martin McMahon (brother of Home goalie Andy).

Woodrow had his second opportunity, after McMahon picked up a pass back in the Away goalmouth to give an indirect free-kick to the hoops. The big winger hit his shot well from Caplan's lay off, but the effort went over the bar.

Martin McMahon was again up to the next effort from the Home team. Some great passing work from Woodrow, Caplan and McDonald put in a good chance for Daniel Sheerin, but his powerful strike was turned behind for a corner.

Stephen Gorry and Alan O'Brien had been rock solid at the back for the hoops, but their defensive pairing was finally breeched in the 32nd minute. Bobby Petta showed professional class in controlling the ball before firing a superb pass from his own half. Away team Captain Roy Moffat broke the offside trap and race towards goal before curling a lovely finish high into the net, a sublime finish. (0-1)

The goal settled both sides slightly, with each team being more considered in possession. This was evident in the build up for the hoops' next chance. Sheerin ran with the ball from midfield before laying it off to Caplan and continuing his run into the box. Caplan deftly flicked the ball over Giannini for Sheerin to collect and have a shot blocked by the onrushing McMahon. Champagne football!

It wasn't long before the Home side got the goal that they deserved for their play. In the 38th minute Alan Woodrow collected McDonald's pass on the left, and hit a shot from a wide position with his right foot, that flew into the top far corner. It was an absolute wonder goal, although debate will rage on whether Woodrow meant it or not! (1-1)

Minutes before half-time, the Away side restored their lead with an absolute peach. Giannini was beginning to dictate the game from the back, and after his pass was cut out, the ball fell to William Hogg. Hogg blasted a left footed shot that swerved away from the goalkeeper and ended up in the top corner, a stunning finish! (1-2)

The half time whistle blew shortly after. The Home side had not been able to turn their possession into goals, whereas the Away team had been clinical with their chances

Half-Time: Celtic Home 1 - 2 Celtic Away

The Away side got the action back underway at Celtic Park, and were looking to extend their lead in the game; however it was the Home side who created the first chance of the new half. Sheerin drove the ball up the right flank before delivering a lovely cross to the back post. Home Captain Gerry Byrne was the man to get his head it, but could only nod it over the bar. It was a good chance to level the score.

The game was very competitive with both sides battling hard for possession. Bobby Petta was showing that he still had class on the ball, and in the 57th minute he released Perazzini with a phenomenal through ball. Perazzini's initial shot was blocked by goalkeeper Andy McMahon, and his acrobatic follow up trickled wide of the post.

It was substitute midfielder Kevin McCaughey who was next to attack the Home goal for the Away side. He picked up Petta's throw in 30 yards from goal and pinged a sweet right footed shot that cannoned off the crossbar. It was a great effort and McCaughey was unlucky not to stretch the lead for his side.

The Home side had begun to find their feet again and play with the ball on the ground as before. After a long period of pressure, this paid dividends in the 71st minute. Byrne picked up McDonald's pass before squaring the ball to Richard Caplan outside the box. Caplan took a touch before slamming a shot across the goalkeeper into the net. The score was deservedly level (2-2).

And only a minute later the hoops were ahead. Caplan passed to Sheerin deep in the Home half and Sheerin played a defence splitting pass through the middle. Gerry Byrne collected the ball well but still had a lot of work to do. He ran the ball into the box, before rounding McMahon and slotting past O'Brien who was covering the goal-line. A really composed finish from the striker. (3-2)

Wouldn't you believe it, the Away side equalized from the restart. Michael McCaughey, Giannini and Jardine knocked it around the back, before Petta launched an incredible through ball to Roy Moffat, who finished beautifully. They pegged back the hoops immediately! It was a very deft finish from Moffat. (3-3)

The Away team then had the chance to take the lead after some superb counterattacking football. Perazzini carried the ball from his own penalty area with gaps opening up all around him. He slipped in Petta, whose first time cross was met by Moffat, his effort being well saved by McMahon. Moffat would have other chances to complete his hat-trick!

The Home side were increasing the pressure on the Home goal, but were as always leaving themselves vulnerable to counter-attacks from the pace of the Away team. After a few nervous moments, the Home side took the lead again. Richard Caplan lined up a free-kick on the edge of the box, and bent it round the wall into the corner. Superb stuff from Caplan! (4-3)

Again the Away side pegged them back straight away! Perazzini's intelligent pass found William Hogg in the box, and the number 88 saw his low shot squeeze under the body of Andy McMahon. Both sides would need to increase their concentration levels if they were to take home the win. (4-4)

The Away side further showed their counter-attacking ability, on the 80th minute when they hit the post. Richard Hogg's run out of defence kicking off a move that resulted in Moffat hitting the upright. The Away side would live to regret the miss!

Two minutes later, the hoops took the lead again. Good work from Boyd, Michael Gorry and Jason Kinloch on the right resulted in Daniel Sheerin having the ball in the area with room to shoot. His finish was emphatic, the central midfielder finding the top corner of the net from close range. It was no less than Sheerin had deserved for his good performance! (5-4)

Sheerin's goal had secured a hard fought win for the Home side!

Full-time: Celtic Home 5 - 4 Celtic Away

Man of the Match (Home): Richard Caplan
Man of the Match (Away):
Roy Moffat
Moment of the Match:
Alan Woodrow

Home Team: A. McMahon, Clarke, Boyd, S.Gorry, O'Brien, Ros, Kinloch, Woodrow, G.Byrne, McDonald, Caplan, Sheerin, J. Byrne, M.Gorry, Simpson

Mascot: Niamh Woodrow

Away Team: M.McMahon, M.McCaughey, Petta, Giannini, Jardine, Campbell, Lo Prato, Gallagher, R.Hogg, Perazzini, Moffat, K.McCaughey, W.Hogg

Mascot: Logan Moffat & Brooke Jardine