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