AS Rosso 2-5 Fionn MacCool's Celtic
Due to overwhelming pressure, I have decided to take some time out from talking nonsense about the holy grail that is the Premier League, and instead turn my attention to whats really important -Fionn MacCool's Celtic season opener. The writing however, will pail in comparison to those of Celtics favourite pundit, Mark Knipe, who's comedic poetry is still sorely missed by many of those who would open their inbox on a Monday morning in eager anticipation, desperate for a distraction from the working week that looms large.
After the conclusion of winter campaigns at the docks which saw both Celtic teams narrowly miss out in the final of their respective divisions, a new era beckoned for Fionn MacCool's Celtic. Courtesy of hard work behind the scenes from Jude Bredin and Mike Carney, Celtic were ready to compliment the Summer season with a new strip, ensuring a cohesive uniform instead of the rag tag of multiple brands and sponsors, usually witnessed. In addition to the new fashion statement, Celtic welcomed back long serving Desmond Tibby in to the fold as Manager, who takes on the monumental task of controlling the swollen ego's, that are only eclipsed in propotion, by that of a Premier League Squad.
While Celtic came prepared for the fixture after a grueling pre-season, which saw them pit their wits against Premier opposition, AS Rosso showed all the signs of a newly formed team, enthusiastically pacing back and forth across the pitch followed by comprehensive stretches. As the bare bones of the Celtic squad began to arrive at drip drop pace, nervous glances scoured over the unknown quantity of unfamiliar, sizable opposition.
With just enough players kitted up and ready to kick off, Celtic took to the perfectly consistent, fast paced astro turf pitch, resistant to the harsh realities of a Canadian Winter. Under the baking summer heat that disturb many a recluse from their winter hibernation, both teams tentatively sussed each other out, posturing and waiting for someone to make the first telling move.
10 minutes or so in to the game, and with the score still 0-0, tardy reinforcements arrived in the shape of Jimmy Evangelou and Raymond Curley, who were impatiently ordered to kit up and get ready to be introduced to the action. Such indiscipline's that wont go unpunished in the future, after Manager Tibby looks to reaffirm authority with the introduction of the designated "Sheriff" whom will dish out serious financial penalties for improper conduct.
After 15 minutes the deadlock was finally broke in bizarre circumstances. Curley, came off the bench adding some zest to the forward line, spread the play wide to Teague who appeared to be occupying innocuous territory down the left wing. Teague, on his weaker left foot, sliced a cross in to the box which despite being condemned mid air by the articulate commentary, "oh shit", swung towards the far corner, evading the keepers desperate reach. Due to the mid air admission, celebrations were muted given the fortuitous circumstances.
Minutes later, Celtic doubled their lead, after good work down the left wing saw Curley square the ball across the box, with Teague on hand to stab home ahead of Tibby who was loitering with intent at the back post.
With Celtic seemingly in control, after creating a 2 goal cushion, complacency set in with half time soon approaching. Unfortunately, AS Rosso managed to nick one before the half time whistle, after finding space down their right wing, the winger crossed the ball to the striker who finished admirably from an acute angle.
The second half kicked off and Celtic looked to regain their 2 goal advantage. Debutant Colin Prior looked a great acquisition, working tirelessly, setting a great standard in midfield. And the hard work soon paid off, after Mark Fitzpatrick silenced any concerns over his long term future with the hoops, by curling in a great cross from the right wing, which was met and dispatched lethargically by Curley.
Again, with Celtic seemingly in control, AS Rosso unsettled the nerves with their second goal of the game to make it 2-3. A softly awarded freekick down the Rosso left wing, was firmly met by a familiar head (forget the guys name, but I have definitely seen that country man before) leaving Fourie with no chance.
Any signs of a Rosso equaliser were soon squashed, as Celtic began to expose space on the counter attack. Bredin added a fourth after a neat 1-2 exchange on the edge of the box with Curley, left only the keeper to beat. Bredin was happy to oblige, and coolly slotted the ball in to the bottom left corner, leaving the Rosso players to plead in vain to the linesmen for offside.
Before the final whistle, their was still time for Teague to wrap up proceedings by clinching a hattrick. Again with Rosso committing men forward in search for a life line, the ball over the top left Teague though on goal, only for the trailing defender to tug his shirt before the sniper made sure he went down to claim a penalty. The penalty was dispatched, making the final score 2-5 to Celtic.
So, for the first time in their history, Celtic managed to open the campaign with a victory. With a strong squad, competition will be fierce as Celtic look to build on this positive start, by going one better than last season, and pushing for the TSSL Media League title.
In all its glory here are the highlights......