The Football Aid Celtic game overshadowed the Scottish Cup Final taking place at Hampden nearby, as 28 Bhoys arrived to pull on the famous hoops in what promised to be a fantastic afternoon. The colossal 60,000+ seater stadium wasn't full but the supporting fans definitely made themselves heard as their friends and loved ones graced the hallowed turf at Celtic Park. A last minute addition saw John Kennedy pull on his boots and play for the Home team opposite fellow Celtic legend George McCluskey, who was playing for the Away team.
Saturday 19th May 2012
Celtic Home vs Celtic Away
Kick Off: 14:00pm
Legends: John Kennedy and George McCluskey
Match Officials: David Carbery, Zander Harrison and Hayley Irvine
It was George McCluskey's Away side that got the game underway and with both teams trying to gain an early foothold in the game it only took 2 mins for the first chance of the game to be created. Paul McManus for the Away team was on the end of a fantastic long ball and found himself in on goal. Heading the ball down and finding his composure, the striker let fly with a shot but goalkeeper Anderson did well to save with his feet.
At the other end of the pitch, Away goalkeeper Gavin McNally, made a spectacular save to deny a certain opening goal. The Home team's James Maguire showed great determination and pressure to win the ball in his own half and as the No 6 continued his run into the box striker Kevin Gauld rolled the ball perfectly into his path, however after he tried to pick his spot the keeper got down perfectly to deny him. The back four will have been delighted to see the confidence flowing from the No 1.
In the 15th min, it was McNally, again producing another tremendous save. John Kennedy's inch perfect free-kick put Oliver Webster in behind the defence and the No 9 unleashed a venomous left foot strike which was heading into the top corner, but somehow McNally tipped it over with an instinctive reaction save. The spectators were in awe of that incredible display of keeping, Neil Lennon will have been thinking of withdrawing his offer for Forrester and enquiring into the availability of this keeper instead!
Minutes later, a counter attack led by Michael McPartlin put the Home defence under some real pressure. A poor back pass put the struggling defence into a frenzy, as they failed to clear their lines. The ball dropped on the penalty spot and Paul McManus rocketed the loose ball past the rooted goalkeeper to give his Away side the lead. (0-1)
The Home team responded positively, creating a number of chances but they couldn't quite grab an equaliser. In this period the best chance fell to Webster but the No 9's effort from outside the box was tipped round the post.
However with 35 mins on the clock the score-line was levelled. A route one ball from the keeper's hands was brought down nicely by Oliver Webster, and after beating his man the No 9 looked to pull the trigger from a tight angle. However, after he sensibly squared the ball across the 6 yard box Kevin Gauld was able to pass the ball into the net. The Away side claimed offside but after analysing video footage Football Aid can confirm Gauld was onside! (1-1)
Minutes before half-time the Away side won a corner, Captain Dave Mcleod's out swinging ball wasn't dealt with by Kennedy and again, similarly to his first goal, Paul McManus was in the right place at the right time to fire the ball into the net from close range. (1-2)
And the scoring wasn't over for the 1st half, an instant response came from the Home side's Captain Paolo Mazzoncini, leading by example and slotting his forwards through on goal. Again, exactly like his team's first goal Oliver Webster squared the ball across the box to the unmarked James Maguire to fire home. (2-2)
It had been a thoroughly entertaining half with both teams producing some fantastic keep-the-ball football and going into half-time you couldn't separate either team, who were both intent on putting on a spectacle for the fans.
Half-Time: Celtic Home 2 - 2 Celtic Away
The Home side started the second half brightly and after only 2 mins they took the lead for the first time in the game. Oliver Webster had a lot to do after McCready and Gauld won the ball, playing the striker through just inside the opposition half. But the No 9 showed great speed, strength and composure, powering the ball past the goalie at his near post. (3-2)
It was apparent that the Home side were gaining in confidence, and 3 mins into the 2nd half they scored again. Andrew Alexander did well to drive the Away team forward but a poor return pass to him allowed the ex-Celtic and Scotland International John Kennedy to intercept and play a deadly, defence splitting pass. This time the deadly Oliver Webster decided to go across the goalkeeper, drilling the ball low and hard into the bottom corner. With his side now 2 goals behind Centre Half Paul Burns wasn't pleased with the midfield giving the ball away that easily. (4-2)
There seemed to be no end to the attack from the Home side as they pressed for another. Gareth Coleman avoided a few wild challenges in the centre before the no.17 produced a scooped ball over and round the defence. Oliver Webster was in on goal for his hat-trick but this time he unselfishly pulled it back for a simple tap in for Kevin Gauld to score his second of the game. (5-2)
In the 66 min, the Away team created their first real chance of the half after an excellent pattern of play down the left, between Captain Mcleod and Alexander. The energetic Mcleod broke into the box, and fired his cross across the face of goal, allowing Kenny Webster to steer the ball past his marker. It was turning out to be quite a day for the Webster family, with Father Kenny getting his name on the score-sheet alongside his son. But this time it was the Away team who were celebrating! (5-3)
However the Away team struggled to cope with the Home side's pressure and moments later, Gareth 'Jinky Johnstone' Coleman again showed great footwork, beating several players and rolling the ball into the path of Oliver Webster, the striker held off the defender to poke the ball past the goalkeeper. A second half hat-trick hero! (6-3)
Up at the other end, the Away side showed real passion and determination to stay in the game. The best chances fell to Alexander and McPartlin but neither could find the net.
The Home side was then awarded a penalty in the 75th min when Gareth 'Jinky Johnstone' Coleman twisted and turned in the box and was dragged to the ground by George McCluskey. The No 17 instantly placed the ball on the spot and had no problem sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. (7-3)
Shortly after a series of defensive errors from the Away team proved costly. Coleman beat his man to the by-line and cut the ball back for Oliver Webster, who had no trouble in finding the far corner, notching his 4th goal of the half at the same time. (8-3)
There was an instant reply from the kick-off, as the Away side lined up like an American Football team, with a number of players bombing towards the box! A route one ball beat all the Home defenders and Paul McManus curled the ball into the far corner. He's worked hard for that Hat-trick today! (8-4)
The Away team continued the pressure and some tired looking defending allowed them to grab another. A corner was headed out, with Paul Burns gathering, the centre half floated a lovely ball towards the back post and it found goal machine Paul McManus, who climbed above the defender and nodded the ball past the keeper for his 4th of the game. (8-5)
The 13th goal of the game ended the scoring and although the Home side deserved their victory, the Away team performed equally as impressive and the game could have gone either way. It was a fantasy game for the ever supportive fans in the main stand with goals, goals, goals!
Full-time: Celtic Home 8 - 5 Celtic Away
Man of the Match (Home): Oliver Webster
Man of the Match (Away): Gavin McNally
Moment of the Match: Paul McManus
Home Team: Bobby Anderson, James McCourt, John Kennedy, Simon Webster, Daniel Gorry, James Maguire, Michael McCready, John Gorry, Oliver Webster, Paolo Mazzoncini (C), Kevin Gauld, Sean Tinney, Paul McGuinness, Ken McGowan, Gareth Coleman
Manager: John Kennedy
Mascot: Joseph Brown
Away Team: Gavin McNally, George Curran, George McCluskey, Dave Mcleod (C), Stephen McPhillips, Jim Carmichael, Michael McCann, Michael McPartlin, Paul McManus, James Hughes, Nathan McDonald, Andrew Alexander, Paul Burns, Stephen Curtis, Kenny Webster
Manager: George McCluskey
Mascot: Broghan McPartlin