The players arrived at Celtic Park on Monday afternoon in good spirits despite it being one of the windiest days of the year. The insular stadium protected everyone from the worst elements however, and everybody was keen to get out into the harsh conditions. Danny McGrain and Joe Miller were on hand to lend their experience to both sets of players.Monday 23rd May 2011
The Home team playing in the famous green and white hoops got the action underway at Celtic Park. The wind had picked up even further since the morning, making difficult conditions for both sets of players.
The wind possibly had a hand in the first goal of the game. A challenge from Des Martin yielded the first corner of the game for the Away team. Ronnie Smollet hit a corner to the back post, the wind bamboozling the defenders, for Gary Trearty to nod in at the back post. Joe Miller’s side had the lead two minutes in, a sign of things to come. (0-1)
The Away side were in firm control and were looking very dangerous. Stuart Martin had a header from point blank range that went over the bar, after an amazing cross from Jamie Sillars. Not long after Michael Mulrainey had a snap-shot saved by Home goalkeeper Steven Mcllwham. The Home side almost scored in bizarre fashion after 5 minutes. Away goalkeeper Steven McGrath completely miscued his clearance from Kevin McNally’s backpass; and the ball trickled towards goal! McGrath did well to chase back and clear the danger before Peter McCready could pounce for the hoops.
The referee had adjudged McGrath’s recovery to be a pass back, so an indirect free-kick was given. Michael Diamond had the opportunity from six yards out, but the young striker fluffed his lines and fired wide of the goal.
The contest settled into a decent pattern, with both sides knocking the ball around nicely, despite the tricky conditions. After 15 minutes, the Away side stretched their lead to 2-0. A throw in from Kristopher Lewis and a cheeky back heeled flick on from Martin put Michael Mulrainey through on goal, the Captain’s dinked finish finding the back of the net. (0-2)
McGrain’s side immediately came back with an effort on goal seconds after the restart. Michael Diamond dispossessed John-Paul Mason, and after playing a neat one-two with Peter McCready was through on goal. His low shot was well kept out by McGrath.
The Away side were back on top and playing some fine football. Lewis was having a great game from right back, and both Bobby Anderson and Ronnie Smollet were running the show from midfield. After 30 minutes, this almost paid dividends. Anderson won the ball before running up the left. He looked up, checked back onto his right foot and clipped in a pin-point cross for Jamie Sillars who made no mistake from six yards with his header. But it was not to be, with the linesman's raised flag cutting short the Away No 10's celebration!
There was no letting up from the Away team despite being in a commanding position. Mcllwham made a good double save from Stuart Martin, and David Mcgeough was unlucky not to hit the target from a tight angle. Disaster struck for the hoops on the 37th minute. Mcllwham intended a pass to Danny McGrain, instead giving it straight to Stuart Martin, who calmly rolled the ball into the net. A disaster for Mcllwham, but a deserved goal for Martin who had had a good game. (0-3)
Martin soon had a chance for another goal, and it was a mazy run from right back Lewis that set the chance up. The full back skinned a couple of men before slipping a pass through to Martin. His effort was saved by Mcllwham, the goalkeeper redeeming himself for his error. Mcgeough then hit the bar from 8 yards before turning the ball into the net from the rebound, but the flag had gone up for offside. Mcgeough again had the chance to test Mcllwham after dispossessing Des Martin, but the ‘keeper made an outrageous reaction save from only a couple of yards, a great stop!
The men in bright green were at it again before half-time, great interplay from Lewis and Mcgeough gave the ball to Anderson from 25 yards out. The centre midfielder cut inside and crashed a ferocious shot off the crossbar. Seconds later the half-time whistle sounded and both teams hurried into the tunnel to regroup.
Half-Time: Celtic Home 0 - 3 Celtic Away
The Away side began the second half from centre and were immediately on the offensive. 5 minutes into the game and they stretched their lead even further. Substitute Mason played a lovely through ball to Stuart Martin, who raced clear of the defence and slotted past Mcllwham for his second goal of the game. Cool as a cucumber. (0-4)
McGrain had been marshalling his defence well, encouraging a high-line that was trapping the Away strikers offside on numerous occasions. The men in bright green were still in control, but their sixth goal came far too easily after 56 minutes. Mcllwham passed out to McGrain, who was pounced on by Ronnie Smollet. Seeing the ‘keeper in no-mans land, Smollet bent a shot into an almost empty net from range. Gutting for the hoops. (0-5)
Miller’s team were in seventh heaven immediately from the restart. Sillars won the ball from Andrew Alexander for Captain Mulrainey to pick up. The centre forward ran the ball, drawing a couple of players before making a deadly slide-rule pass to John-Paul Mason. The central midfielder took his shot early, side footing it low past Mcllwham. (0-6)
The Away team had been well in control, but the hoops rallied midway through the second half. Alexander had been good since coming on, and his delivery on 68 minutes cause problems in the opposition defence, the ball missing everyone and unluckily bouncing onto the post. It was then the Away team’s turn to trouble with a delivery, Jamie Sillars’ cross-come-shot hitting the bar from a wide free-kick. Another free-kick after 75 minutes was well dealt with by Mcllwham, Mulrainey this time shooting from 35 yards.
Miller’s side would stretch their lead even further in the 79th minute. Mason’s run into the box was stopped by a reckless tackle and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot. John-Paul Mason took on the responsibility himself and put the ball in the bottom left corner. (0-7)
It was only a minute and a half before John-Paul Mason completed his hat-trick! Stuart Martin received the ball from defending a corner and played Mason through, the midfielder skipping away from the hoops defence and slotting past the goalkeeper. A true super sub! (0-8)
The Home side were making a brave effort to get back into the game, but were crushed when the Away side got their tenth goal of the game and a second for Michael Mulrainey. Gary Trearty made a run into the area, and was well picked out by a team-mate. His effort was going wide, but Mulrainey got there in time for a tap in. The ultimate poachers finish on the 88th minute! (0-9)
Miller’s side were then in eleventh heaven. Kristopher Lewis putting the icing on the cake for his superb display; the full back took the ball from midfield and powered the ball past Mcllwham. (0-10)
The hoops finally got the goal that they had been looking for with the last kick of the game. Andy McCabe’s corner came back to him and the full back showed good skill to turn his challenger inside out before whipping a ball into the box. Oliver Webster was the man to get the vital touch, poking the ball into the corner of the net (1-10)
Full-time: Celtic Home 1 - 10 Celtic Away
Man of the Match (Home): Des Martin
Man of the Match (Away): Bobby Anderson
Moment of the Match: Oliver Webster
Home Team: Mcllwham, McCabe, McGrain, Melville (Capt), D.Martin, G.Diamond, Webster, M.McCready, M. Diamond. Wood, P.McCready, Alexander, Nelson
Mascot: Cameron McCabe
Away Team: McGrath, Lewis, Miller, McNally, Anderson, Smollet, Mcgeough, Mulrainey, Sillars, Martin, Mason, Trearty, McInally, Gallagher
Mascot: Ethan Sillars