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Celtic Game 1 2012

The players arrived at the famous Celtic Park on Scottish Cup final day to produce what would be a greater spectacle than the Hibs v Hearts game a few miles away.... The supporters were in good spirits, making themselves heard in the magnificent 60,832 seater stadium. As the Celtic fans were being given the news that they would be gracing the hallowed turf and be Managed by Celtic legends Tom Boyd and John Kennedy, it had all the ingredients of a memorable day.

Saturday 19th May 2012
Celtic Home vs Celtic Away
Game 1
Kick Off: 10:00am
Legends: John Kennedy and Tom Boyd
Match Officials: Jennifer Carbery, Hayley Irvine and Billy Dewar-Riddick

The Celtic Home team, wearing the famous green and whites hoops, got proceedings underway to a considerable noise from the crowd. It didn't take long for the Home team to create the first chance on goal. Roy Moffat, playing up front, found himself on the end of a counter attack and through on goal, but the No 11's low drive was parried out for a corner by goalkeeper Padraig McGovern.

Tom Boyd's Home team maintained this pressure for the first 10 min, while the Away Team really struggled to get their foot on the ball. However, the Away playmaker Ryan McDonald sparked some real life into his side with a wonderful ball over Boyd's head to send winger Ryan Moffat down the right. However from a tight angle the No 7 could only hit the side-netting as his team mates cried out for him to square the ball.

Minutes later, the Home side opened the scoring, attacking full back Owen Ritchie, started the passage of play finding his tricky striker Roy Moffat. The No 11 wasn't closed down by the defence and having a look up he hit a shot/cross which lobbed over the well positioned goalkeeper and into the far top corner. The debate could go on for a while whether Roy saw the goalkeeper slightly off his line and went for goal?! (1-0)

As the game progressed both teams were evenly matched, but neither side could break down the opposite defence. There was some accurate passing play on show but it was without any real cutting edge.

There was a half chance that fell to Ryan Moffat, but the No 7's long range effort was comfortably saved by Shaun Gilbert. On the back of that a poor defensive header by the Away side allowed opening goalscorer Roy Moffat a real change. His low, hard shot was well saved by Captain McGovern and cleared to safety by right back Shields. Roy had his head in his hands after that chance.

Both defences were looking strong, in particular the Away side's Bob Thorpe, who continued to break up play with some impressive challenges and headers. With 10 minutes left to play in the first half the Away side's Tommy McLaughlin, sporting pink boots, put pressure on the defence and a stray passed allowed his striking partner Michael McLaughlin to force Gilbert into an excellent save.

However, the Away side got their just rewards shortly after. Michael McLaughlin was at the heart of the action again, twisting and turning away from his opponent. Boyd was caught out of position as the No 9 threaded a ball into Dean Thorpe's path, and the composed midfielder's shot rocketed into the roof of the net to level the scoring. (1-1)

The half time whistle blew shortly after to end an evenly contested first half. Neither side was really able to turn their chances into goals and Tom Boyd and John Kennedy had their work cut out at half time to find that clinical edge.

Half-Time: Celtic Home 1 - 1 Celtic Away

Tom Body made a half-time substitution by pulling on the Away jersey and perhaps it was no co-incidence that his side started the 2nd half brightly. Tommy McLaughlin won a free kick in a dangerous territory and Boyd floated the ball into the area as Michael McLaughlin was crunched down. It was a stone wall penalty! The striker wanted the penalty himself but Ryan Moffat stepped up, only to blast the ball high over the bar, much to the Home team's relief.

However, minutes later Tommy McLaughlin was brought down just inside the box and the Away team were awarded a second penalty. The left-footed No 11 left the goalkeeper rooted to the spot as he rolled it into the bottom left hand corner to give his side the lead. (1-2)

However the Away side only managed to keep their lead for a couple of minutes. With 55 mins on the clock the Home side broke down the right and Stephen McGuire's cross was missed by everyone before rolling out to the edge of the box. Second half sub Brenden Darcey made an instant impact though with his first time effort sailing into the top corner. He won't be forgetting that strike anytime soon! (2-2)

As the game started to open up, some fantastic free flowing football started to emerge, but both defences remained on top and cancelled out any danger to their goal.

Eventually the Away team created a chance after Away No 5 Jonathan Heaney brought the ball out from defence and played a wonderful left-footed, defence splitting pass which sent Michael McLaughlin clear through on goal. The No 9 faked the shot and went round the goalkeeper and from a tight angle he managed to pull the trigger, but somehow out of nowhere Owen Ritchie's last ditch tackle cleared the ball off the line.

The Home defence was to be the first to concede in what was increasingly proving to be a ‘battle of the defences'. Two separate defenders failed to clear a poor corner and the ball fell kindly to No 14 Christopher Haggerty, with the keeper and two defenders on the line the big midfielder smashed the ball low into the net. (2-3)

It went from bad to worse for Home goalkeeper Gilbert in the 75th min when Dean Thorpe played Michael McLaughlin in on goal. The No 9 faked the shot and tried to take the ball round the keeper but was hurled to the ground to produce the 3rd penalty of the half for the Away team! This time it was Michael McLaughlin who stepped up confidently to side-foot the ball into the corner of the goal and guarantee his side the win. (2-4)

It was arguably a game where the score line wasn't totally reflective of the match. Although, the Away side deserved their victory, the Home team were equally as impressive but just couldn't take their chances quite as effectively. Overall, the game was a delight to watch and will surely have made an indelible impression on spectators and players alike.

Full-time: Celtic Home 2 - 4 Celtic Away

Man of the Match (Home): Frank Burns (C)
Man of the Match (Away): Robert Thorpe
Moment of the Match: Brenden Darcey

Home Team: Shaun Gilbert, Owen Ritchie, Tommy Boyd, Paul Donnelly, Michael Clarke, Emo Ros, Stephen Mcguire, Andy McCabe, Gerry Byrne, Frank Burns (C), Roy Moffat, Jim Ridge, Giancarlo De Marco, D C O'Hara, Brenden Darcey
Manager: John Kennedy
Mascot: Louis Mcguire

Away Team: Padraig McGovern (C), Alan Shields, Tom Boyd, Robert Thorpe, Jonathan Heaney, Ryan McDonald, Ryan Moffat, Chris McGuigan, Michael McLaughlin, Dean Thorpe, Tommy McLaughlin, Christopher Haggerty, Jonathan Heaney, David Welsh, Christopher McLaren
Manager: Tom Boyd
Mascot: Aiden Moffat