Saturday, 27 June 2009

Morton 1-1 Fionn MacCool's Celtic

Following the previous weekends first league defeat of the season, where the football on display was as absent as the non existent match report that didn't follow it, Celtic, travel sick after the last minute venue changes, courtesy of the "Garbage" (Rubbish) strike, were under the cosh to get back to winning ways. It was a weekend littered (outrageous pun) with events, which would ultimately end in the unfortunate trip to Scarborough's finest casualty ward.

Despite Celtic possessing possibly the largest squad in the TSSL Media League, the season so far has been riddled with player injuries and absenteeism, once again calling in to question the possible need for reinforcements. Balancing a squad with the talent and ego's of Celtic's stature is a tumultuous task, and adding to it will be calculated, methodical process we come to expect from Tibby the technician.

Injuries and absenteeism aside, another element beyond the realms of Celtic's control are the wonderful little people dressed in smart black uniforms we affectionately call ref. And, while my documentation of the dictators empowered by the all conquering whistle in trusted upon them, has been quite extensive, this episode trumps all before it -Including, any game at any level.

You may recall the harrowing critique of the first female referee I, and I am sure many others, were blessed with a few weeks back. After a 40 minute drive out of Toronto, to the suburbs, the last thing I was anticipating was the sight of being graced with her presence once again. Luckily, she was only summoned to marshal the byline, but more worrying, or should I say disturbing, was the family of ref's that would officiate the game. Lord of the manner, the husband was the ref, his wife the lineman, or should I politically say, assistant ref and, barely legal, the daughter completed the family line up on the opposite wing. How, any sane farther can subject his teen daughter to what was bound to be a barrage of screaming expletives is baffling, especially given Morton's bullying tactics.

So, with the Adams family (thanks Jude!) eagerly bringing a start to proceedings, Celtic took to the new unfamiliar surroundings with the untested front line of Fitzpatrick and Imnaishvili. A front line that would see almost everyone playing a role in at some point, such was the lack of attacking depth, with Teague still injured and Curley taking care of family business.

The new attacking formula though, wasted no time at all, and marked their intent with the first attack of the game after barley 5 minutes had elapsed. Monaghan scurried down the right wing and squared the ball at pace to Fitzpatrick, who unwittingly flicked the ball into Imnaishvili's path. Imnaishvili looked like he had the goal at his mercy, only for the Morton keeper to smother the opportunity.

Chances between these two sides are usually few and far between, and Celtic looked impregnable in defence with the much hyped pairing of Stuckmann and Mercier. Stuckmann was dominating the Morton number 4, making the ample 6ft Englishman look like a midget with some towering headers.

With the scores level, the first half came to abrupt and premature end, after an aerial battle between the Morton Goal keeper and Monaghan left both players flat on the deck. A cross was floated in from the left wing, with the trajectory falling perfectly between both players, giving the illusion that both were favourite to win the ball. The reality though, only accommodated for one player in that much air space, so with both players bravely putting their head on the chopping block, a collision was imminent. We now all know what it sounds like when a human head thuds into another human head, and the resulting horrific injuries that follow.

After the sickening sound of heads clashing, initially first concerns were for the Morton Keeper, who landed heavily and immediately began screaming, a sound I was all to familiar with a couple of weeks earlier. However, and with so often the case, its the person that remains quiet and relatively motionless, which is where concern can go over looked. Monaghan, dazed, was left with a nasty cut to the brow and a brusie that was comparable in size to that of a golf ball. The ambulance was called and that would be the last action Monaghan and the Morton keeper would see, although the keeper remained on the sideline.

After a lengthy delay Celtic eventually started the second half in a subdued mood, as thoughts were still very much preoccupied with the concerns of Monaghan's injury still fresh in the mind. The injury meant more shuffling of the pack by Tibby, which saw Bredin in the unfamiliar roll of left back, while McCallam debuted in attack alongside Prior.

While this was McCallam's first taste of a striking roll, he had already threatened before the end of the first half with a neat turn and shoot effort which whisked past the post. McCallum continued to make a nuisance of himself, and half way through the second half burst in to the box only to be checked by the Morton left back. The challenge looked shoulder to shoulder, but McCallam's testimony clearly stated that the Morton defender had deliberately obstructed him, while he was at full tilt. The Morton defense were livid, and while they argued pointlessly to the anal retentive ref, I noticed a cheeky call from Celtic Goalkeeper, Fourie to manager Tibby. The substance's of the call was at first not obvious, until I realized Fourie was actually running towards the penalty spot. With Celtic still muttering between themselves as to who would take responsibility, the nod had already been granted to Fourie and he was eagerly lining up the ball.

Fourie, feeling invincible following his compatriots epic battle with the British and Irish Lions, which culminated in a monstrous 53 metre match winning penalty by Morne Steyn, looked to emulate the Bull's fly half albeit by considerably closer range. With an unorthodox starting position, that looked like Fourie was about to unleash a toe poke, we waited nervously for the ref's whistle. Eventually, after the ref finally explained his reason for delaying the kick, Fourie's moment of reckoning was here. Fourie focused and poised, began his canter towards the ball, picked his spot and confidently drilled the ball straight down the middle, while the keeper dived incorrectly to his left.

With Fourie's successful conversion, it will be a battle to see who gets the next spot kick, an enthusiasm which can only be a good thing for the Celtic Squad. However, if Fourie has any aspirations to take future penalties, he will need to work on his goal celebration, which resembled a hyper active dog let off its leash for the first time in a park, disobediently running aimlessly away from anyone. here boy, here boy!

After we manged to catch the runner way Fourie, and bind him to his rightful place between the sticks, it was unfortunately only moments later that he would himself be facing a penalty. After all the constant moaning and appealing for apparent hand balls spotted from the length of the pitch, the barrage had finally warn the ref down, who was itching to even up the score. In what was a carbon copy of the Celtic penalty, a Morton player was obstructed/shoulder barged except that the force was not strong enough for him to go down. However, the ref still judged that enough contact was made, and happily awarded a penalty.

The big Morton number 4, stepped up and scuffed his penalty which ended up bobbling over Fourie's hand, who had dived the right way. It was not the most convincing penalty you are likely to see, and the Morton player may need to confide in the Celtic Keeper before he takes another one.

Before the ref brought an end to the game, there was still time for another bizarre twist in an eventful day. Stuckmann, who had an excellent game, reacted to a challenge by the tricky Morton number 7. Both players squared up in a contest comparable to David and Goliath. And, much like the the biblical tale, Goliath ended up on the floor. The Morton player's push to the chest proved to be Stuckmann's weak point and embarrassingly he theatrically collapsed to the ground, a textbook manoeuvre straight out of the Jurgen Klinsmann book of diving. The Morton players rightfully ridiculed the act, but the ref, who must have thought he was in charge of a Premier league game, whipped out a straight red. Ironic that you will see far worse, career threatening challenges go unpunished on a weekly basis, only for straight red's to be issued liberally for hand bag shenanigans.

Off the back of defeat, Celtic steadied the ship after facing a tough Morton side with many players out of position. The draw, puts added pressure on next weeks game against the talented Multinational, as Celtic will need to get back to winning ways to keep their title challenge on course. I am open to suggestions for man of the match??

Monday, 15 June 2009

Fionn MacCools Celtic 1-0 Morton

If the previous game against Hooligan was a war, Sunday's TSSL League cup game with Morton was the Atom bomb. Going in to the encounter, with absentees, injuries and a general Sunday fatigue feeling, Celtic knew it would be a physical encounter but this surpassed any prior expectations by a good twisted limb or two.

At 6.15pm, location Eglinton Flats South East Field, where Celtic have enjoyed many a cup victory in glories years past, the black clouds rolled in and a dark sinister mood swept through the Celtic squad as they prepared for battle. Final good byes to loved one's were emotionally embraced, as a return from the field was no guarantee, and Celtic took to their trenches ready to lock horns with the enemy.

Celtic's defense, while absent of the much needed commanding presence of Stuckmann, had a ready made replacement in the returning Mercier, able to step up to the plate and refortify the back line. Also, Celtic were graced with the defensive presence of Chisholm, whom had gone AWOL on Saturday following a rumored heavy drinking session the night before. The antics were heavily documented by both kiss and tell cougar's and the Saturday Tabloid papers, making Nicklas Bendtner look like a light weight in comparison.

While the storm brewed overhead and threatened ominously, Celtic drew a line in the sand (yes there was actual sand on the bobbly pitch) and dug their trenches, looking to gain and protect territory at every opportunity. However, Celtic's reserves were soon tested, as little over 10 minutes on the clock, Cetlic medics had to deal with the first fallen comrade. Teague, who naively tried to show some finesse in the proceedings by turning an opposition player, was rudely brought crashing down to earth, proving there was no place for fancy tricks as far as Morton were concerned. A twisted knee was dished out to Teague for his trouble, which left the Striker on the floor screaming like a girl in sheer agony. The initial pain, which could probably have been heard from Eglinton flats NW pitch, may not have caused as much damage as first feared, but it will be a race to be ready for the next league fixture.

If the Morton tactics were not already abundantly obvious, they were now crystal clear. Instead of playing anything close to eye catching flowing football, Morton reverted to hard nosed tactics, kicking lumps out of players, not ball, suffocating any decent Celtic play. Celtic kept their discipline though, and didn't lower themselves to the Morton standard, patiently looking for openings with the now rotated front line of Curley, Imnaishvili and player Manager Tibby.

The First half ended with both sides only managing one decent effort on goal. First, Monaghan whipped a ball across the face of the goal after great work down the right flank, then, at the opposite end a Morton set piece struck from all of 30yards threatened to creep inside the post, had it not been for the alert Fourie who tipped the effort expertly around the post. For all the Morton possession, their intimidating one dimensional tactics (I'm not bitter eh?) were failing to yield any significant return, which only served to motivate Celtic during the half time interval.

Celtic, steadied by the calming words of manager Tibby's half time speech, were confident that if they stuck to their game plan, opportunities would come their way and Morton would only grow in frustration. And, the second half proved just that.

Both McCallum and Bredin were finding plenty of joy down the Celtic left wing, mostly due to the gaping space their gobby right back was leaving, as he spent much of his time camped in the Celtic half. Between the Celtic pair, on at least two occasions dangerous balls sped across the six yard box, with Tibby unfortunate not to apply the finishing touch to one of them. Had the crosses favoured his right foot, surely the Albion fanatic would have had his second goal of the season.

However, any feelings of a missed opportunity were soon dispelled, after Morton failed to recognise the danger the Celtic left wing was proving to be. Chisholm, deep in the Morton half with his back to goal, took one touch to pivot and then with his second curled in a lush cross right in to the danger area, which was just begging to be put it to the back of the net. Bredin, who had been threatening to score all weekend, duly accepted Chisholm's exquisite invitation nodding the ball past the helpless Rooney look-a-like, Morton Goal Keeper.

Morton were physically shell shocked, and while they still enjoyed a fair amount of possession, looked incapable of mustering up the kind of opportunity that was going to threaten a second consecutive clean sheet for the hoops.

Eventually a ceasefire was called by the diplomat with the whistle, and Celtic came off the field buoyed by a first leg victory. Morton will be looking for revenge in the return leg, and Celtic will once again have to step up their game if they wish to keep their defense of League Cup intact. YNWA

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Hooligan Filmworks 0-0 Fionn MacCool's Celtic

The score line may have read nil-nil but to conclude that it was a bore draw would be a huge disservice to the amount of effort put in by both teams, in this battling encounter between two of the leagues more physical sides.

Given previous games against Hooligans Filmworks (formerly Core FC) have usually been separated by the odd goal, and the fact that Hooligans have only conceded 2 goals so far this season in the TSSL, the game was always going to be a tight affair.

Hooligans got the action underway and it was not long before the sobering brutalities of war kicked in. Curley's now routine habit of arriving 15 minutes after the game has started regardless of what time the Kick off is, proving the Sheriff's financial penalties may have to be revised, was introduced to the action and took little time to rustle some feathers. With their number 16 firmly set in his cross hair, hand bags were drawn off the ball, leaving the ref no option but to book both Curley and, in a case of mistaken identity, their number 4.

With roughly 20 minutes on the clock, Celtic registered their first real chance of the game. Bredin, back after 3 weeks recuperating on the treatment table following an ankle injury, came off the bench adding some much needed zest to the forward play. Rodrigo, who was having a commanding game in the middle of the park, threaded a defense splitting pass through to Bredin, who looked odds on to score only for their keeper to smoother the opportunity after cutting down the angle.

Shortly after the Celtic opportunity, the battle claimed its first victim. A 50-50 tackle just inside the Celtic half in which both Morales and their right back were fully committed to, left the latter worse off and unable to continue. The crunching tackle demonstrated how much both sides were willing to put on the line, as the game looked to be in danger of boiling over, but Celtic will have hoped that the game ending injury to their right back was not too serious.

Celtic kicked off the second half and looked to build on the solid performance their back line was producing. Stuckmann's ample 6ft 5inch frame was making light work of the Hooligan attack, mopping up the long balls with German like efficiency. The onlooking family proving to be a good omen as Stuckmann's display was fast becoming a man of the match performance.

With the defense unlikely to be breached, Celtic continued to chip away at Hooligan in search of the elusive opening goal, which had it have come, surely would have opened up the play. Midway through the second half, Celtic had two chances in quick succession. First Bredin was released down the left wing, and after getting to the byline squared the ball to the advancing Roberts, who was agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock. Moments later on the opposite wing, Morales manage to square another ball from the byline, to Bredin who unfortunately could not guide his effort goal-wards after a late run to the front post.

For all the chances Celtic were producing, it was arguably Hooligan's who had the most clear cut goal opportunity. With the Celtic defense finally breached, their striker who only had to pull the trigger from 6 yards out, was left bewildered after a last ditch tackle from McCallum saved what looked like a certain goal.

At the opposite end of the field, Celtic had probably their best chance of the game when they were denied what look like a stone wall penalty. Prior, after a twisting and turning run into the box, which left several opposition players in his wake, was eventually cruelly hacked down only for the offense to go unspotted by the perfectly placed referee, who claimed he "didn't see it". The referee's sole indiscretion on what was otherwise a very well officiated game (which I never say) could only have been down to his eyes being crossed after the mesmerizing run of Prior.

After an epic battle between two fiercely contested sides, that saw everything from crunching tackles to inarticulate touchline bickering, in the end both sides will probably be happy with a draw and a share of the spoils. Celtic, may have only picked up 1 point but they claim their first clean sheet of the season and remain unbeaten in the TSSL so far, in what continues to be their best start to a campaign. Attention will now turn to the second fixture of a grueling double header weekend, as Celtic look to defend their League Cup title against Morton.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Fionn MacCool's Celtic 2-1 Globe and Mail FC

It was not a game for the purist's and fans of total football, but Celtic did what was necessary, rolled up their sleeves and got the dirty work done to claim all three points and a third straight victory. Sometimes, for its own mortality, the beautiful game has to be politely ignored and kept in a safe place, while the ugly hammer out a result.

The early morning 9am kickoff ensured that a strict curfew was imposed on the Celtic squad the night before, which had the sole purpose of keeping blood alcohol to a coherent, legal level. And, what better way is there of clearing the pallet and avoiding the breathalyser from an opposition player, than a Tim Horton's double double?

So, with the senses heightened by a cheap dose of caffeine, Celtic began to congregate in the state of the art changing facilities lavished upon them by the hospitable Eglinton flats. Which, basically consisted of a room the size of a shoe box that wouldn't have been out of place latched onto a wing of Fort Knox. Catering for a nearly full Celtic squad in the small quarters, after the welcome returns of the likes of McCallum, Monaghan and Roberts, verged on the claustrophobic, but demonstrated Celtic'c continuing pursuit of professionalism, on and off the pitch.

In the TSSL's effort to promote woman's right, Globe and Mail kicked off the half, officiated by the unusual honour of a female ref. First they get the right to vote, then equal pay and now they get to boss around 22 grown men, in what can only be described as a relentless pursuit of repressing the vulnerable male population. Next they will be running for office, or driving articulated lorries, is their no end to this feminist juggernaut?

I will be honest, I bitch and moan at ref's regardless of their gender, race or sexual orientation, probably way more than I should. So, I can safely say that when it comes to lamenting the decision's these whistle blowing totalitarians make, prejudices takes a back seat, their is no escaping my, and many others wrath. Unfortunately for the high shorts wearing lady, basking in her 90 minutes of command, frustration grew through both sides as play was stifled by the constant use of the whistle. Clearly, the whistle would take a pivotal role throughout the match.

With that said, the piecing sound of the ref's whistle could not be put to blame for all of the untidy work on display at the Eglinton flats venue. With the ball bobbling around on the hard, but greasy surface, early chances were few and far between. Celtic were missing the artificially enhanced surface of Cherry Beach, and so was my decision to wear indoor footwear instead of studs.

After a good 20 minutes or so of unadulterated scrapping by both sides, a freekick was awarded to Celtic just inside their own half, down the left channel. As both sides jostled for the most strategic position, Globe and Mail insisted on a high line, looking to play the offside trap. The problem with the offside trap is that it leaves a gaping space behind the back line, which can be exploited should in not be executed in a coordinated fashion. And, unfortunately for Globe and Mail, that's exactly what happened. Teague hugged the defensive line, while Carney chipped over the freekick into the acres of space behind the now redundant offside trap. The Globe and Mail defensive line stood like statues, expecting the linesmen flag, only for it to be non forth coming, leaving Teague through on goal, with only the keeper to beat. With the ball bouncing towards the edge of the box, and the cries of off-side now in vain, Teague took fall advantage lobbing the ball audaciously over the keeper, who was caught in no man's land -1 nil to the hoops, get in!

The goal may have been the first real chance for either side, and you would have assumed that it would give Celtic a good foundation to build on, however any signs of an easy stroll for Celtic were put in to perspective when the referee made a ballsy decision in awarding a penalty against Mercier for handball, 10 minutes from the end of the half. It was one of those types of handball's that are sometimes given, and are other times blissfully ignored. But on this occasion, and with the referee looking to stamp her authority on the game, there was only going to be one outcome.

So, for the second game running Celtic were up against a penalty, which gave Fourie another chance to bring out the rubber legs. However, the Globe and Mail striker kept his focus, and coolly finished from 12 yards, giving Fourie no chance.

Celtic will have felt a little hard done by, but their spirits showed no signs of being dampened moments after the equaliser, when Stuckmann drilled in a curling effort from the edge of the 18 yard box, only to be denied by the girth of the post. On closer inspection the foundations of the goal post looked to have been physically shaken, such was the power behind the Giant Germans effort.

The Second half began with the score level, but it was Globe and Mail who showed early promise and initiative. Celtic were miss placing far too many passes, and were welcoming pressure from their opponents. So, it came some what against the run of play though, when Celtic were given a life line. Tenacious midfield Chilean, Gonzalez managed to dig out a shot inside the box, only for it to be blocked by one of the many bodies occupying his route to goal. However, the ricochet fell kindly to Teague, who was on hand to grab his and Celtic's second, forcing the ball under the keepers body from just outside the six yard box.

It was a bitter blow to Globe and Mail's efforts, but they showed great resolve and continued to dominate much of the play despite trailing for the second time in the game. If it were not for the heroics of the ever present Fourie in goal, Globe and Mail would have surely got themselves back in the game. First, and again after another freekick was awarded, Globe and Mail had Fourie at full stretch, after what seemed like a shot destine for goal was tipped around the post. Next, a cross from the Globe and Mail Left wing turned into a dangerous shot, but Fourie was alert to the danger, and again at full stretch tip it over the bar. This was turning out to be a day for the camera's for Fourie, who must have been wishing McGroarty was there to capture what was developing in to a man of the match display.

At the opposite end of the pitch chances had dried up quicker than the greasy surface being played on. Such was the scarcity of opportunities, Curley decided on taking matters in to his own hands by inexplicably checking an opposition player in the centre circle. Such was the velocity of the collision, that it sounded more like a car crash than a tackle. Curley walked away from the incident without a scratch, while the opposition player rolled around on the floor like a salmon out of water. Clearly the sound was worse than the impact. And fortunately with only 10 minutes left on the clock, the referee was lenient on the sleep deprived Curley, no doubt after a few charmful whispers in her ear, deciding the robust challenge warranted a yellow not a red.

With the final minutes on the clock rapidly ticking away, Celtic were under heavy pressure and desperate for the final whistle. Fourie cemented his man of the match accolade with one more match winning save right at the death. Celtic were unable to clear their lines effectively, and their striker was left with a golden opportunity to claim a draw, only for the striker to blast his shot directly at the well placed Fourie. The danger was desperately averted, and this time the referee's whistle did bring an end to the game and not another freekick, much to Celtic's relief.

It won't go down as the prettiest spectacle ever witnessed, but Celtic dug deep and managed a win, when perhaps in previous season they would have dropped points. Its ugly games like this that can have a huge bearing on outcomes come the end of the season. Manager Tibby will want to play down any premature talk of title credentials, given how early it is in the season, but Celtic have shown signs that they can win, and win ugly when they need to. Hopefully in their next fixture against the some what inappropriately named Hooligans Filmworks, Celtic can get back to some pretty football. It will, however, be a stern test given that Hooligans have only conceded two goals so far this season.

Next game 13th June Hooligans Filmworks v Fionn MacCool's Celtic 9am, venue Eglinton flats (NW)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A Weekend of 2 Halfs

A Catalogue of goals, errors and double headers. Following last weeks record breaking exploits, Celtic picked up where they left off, writing history in the process against minnows Trinity Park, before the sobering clash against Premier opposition, DV Hawks in the TSSL Cup.

Fionn MacCool's Celtic 10-1 Trinity Park FC

Where do you start? Trinity Park, whom allegedly switched from the Sunday league to the Media League, in search of more hospitable pastures, continued their woeful underestimation of the Media League for the second week in a row, by succumbing to a heavy defeat at the hands of Celtic.

Looking at the score line, which resembles something that would be more familiar at the New Road cricket ground, its hard to believe that Trinity Park actually took the lead in this one sided encounter. From the moment you heard the shrill blast of the referee's whistle, Celtic dominated possession and territory, pinning Trinity firmly in to their own half with no feasible escape route. Had it not been for Celtic's insistence, in attempting to walk the ball in to the goal, which, considering the fight being put up by the entrenched opposition was not completely unrealistic, the scoring would have taken a predictable path.

However, as so often you see, a side dominates only for one aimlessly lofted ball by the opposition, to cut through the defense like a moment of genius attacking clarity. After 20 minutes, Trinity awoke form their sedated state, scoring against the run of play, after what seemed like another routine punt, evaded the Celtic back line, leaving a one on one with the Keeper. Fourie, fresh and alert to the danger after intensive sessions down the gym, did well to cut down the angle, and even managed to get a piece of the ball, was ultimately unable to save Celtic blushes -1 nil Trinity.

Before the kick off I had advised against complacency, as we had in the past, so often conceded points to lesser opposition. A fact that Fitzpatrick was quick to cross examine, reeling off countless victories against such weaker teams, in a robotic vidiprinter like manner. The statistical tongue lashing put me firmly in my place, but almost came back to haunt the scot, before reality finally kicked in 5 minutes after Trinity took the lead.

Temuri Imnaishvili, deployed as a striker instead of his preferred specialised left wing slot, came off the bench to pull Celtic level, after some tricky footwork opened up space in the box allowing a clean sight of goal. A collective sigh of relief was exhaled throughout the Celtic ranks, as the ball nestled in the net, and now it only felt like a matter of time before they would take the lead.

The equaliser though, only seemed to add more unneeded urgency to Celtic's hurried play, and it took the unlikely combination of the two Worcestershire born boys to put Celtic in the driving seat. Manager Tibby, who had previously stated his reluctance to be utilised on the pitch, came off the bench to score his first goal of the season, slotting home after being put clean through by Teague.

Before the half was up, Fitzpatrick added a third. And it was his first since that memorable goal in last years cup final, which every Celtic player, and anyone within a mile radius of Fitzpatrick, knows of as they have been subjected to a count by count rendition of the winner in forensic detail.

The second half continued in much the same vain that the first had finished, Celtic dictating play like an arrogant rogue totalitarian. The hoops had now earned the freedom to nonchalantly knock the ball around at will, and toy with Trinity, like a cat playing with a ball of string.

The feline qualities were unrelenting, the flood gates were now well and truly breached, and Celtic were adding to the score line quicker than the referee could scribble them down. Prior scored with clinical accuracy from the edge of the box after some great approach play by Celtic, proceeding goals by Curley, the returning
Gonzalez and Mercier who dedicated his goal to the Celtic back line.

The over worked referee would have been forgiven for bringing a premature end to proceedings, given that both sets of players had lost track of the scoreline but ultimately he proved unforgiving allowing Celtic to reach double figures and a record winning margin.

DV Hawks 4-0 Fionn MacCool's Celtic

Unlike the previous result, this scoreline didn't tell the whole picture. Celtic, thin on numbers, due to injuries, players taking unauthorised vacation (when are you back Seamus?) and other unacceptable commitments, (Sheriff's take note) put up a brave fight against DV Hawks, who normally earn their scalps in the Premier division.

After a physical first half which saw DV Hawks 1 up, Celtic started the second half, aided by the strong Eglinton cross wind, knowing that an equaliser would have them right back in the fixture and would put the pressure back on DV Hawks. It would, however, be DV Hawks who first threatened to add to the score line, after Carney unceremoniously ended a darting run by their brummy forward inside the box. Carney will have felt like he had no choice but to bring the player down, and the referee was equally left with little option, and duly pointed to the spot.

At 12 yards, and against premier opposition, you would have betted on DV Hawks putting the game beyond doubt, but when you have the "
Grobbelaar rubber legs" of Fourie in goal, mesmerising the forwards distracted eyes, anything can happen. And, just like Bruce and Jerzy before him, Fourie's tricks paid off, after the striker buckled under the torment, ballooning his effort clean over the bar. Cries of the now trademark "justice" bellowed out from the burly South African, and Celtic were off the hook.

However, Fourie's heroics were short lived. The pacey brummy forward again exploited the ball over the top, and no amount of wobbly legs were going to break his concentration this time, as gleefully he converted to make it two nil. This knocked the wind out of the Celtic sails, and despite some legitimate claims for a handball in the penalty box, that went unnoticed by the bewildered referee, who's performance was saved the scrutiny of video replay, Celtic could not fight their way back in to the game.

The final score ended 4 nil, which in truth flattered DV Hawks. They may have reached the next round of the cup, but they will not forget this bruising battle against the hoops too quickly, and the scars will serve as a reminder should their memory lapse.

For Celtic, their are bigger fish to fry, and attention will now quickly be turned to the League. On a weekend that served a record win and a deflating cup loss, Tibby will look to settle the ship, starting at home (Eglinton Flats NW corner) against Globe and Mail FC on Saturday 6th June, KO 9.00am

Related Posts with Thumbnails