We are now in the business part of the season, and following last weeks disappointing draw, the margin for error could not be tighter as Celtic sit at the league's summit with only 2 points separating them from 4th place.
Hooligan, on the back of a defeat were also looking to put last weeks result behind them, but Celtic were not in charitable mood and found themselves on the back foot from the start. Celtic were leading from their impregnable back line which was arrogantly toying with Hooligan, like kittens playing with a ball of string. The Celtic defense has now gone an incredible 405 minutes without leaking a goal, which, if I had archival data, would surely prove to be a record. Perhaps resident statistician, Fitzpatrick will be able to verify??
It was at the opposite end of the field where Celtic need to improve upon though, goals were needed, and manager Tibby decided to reshuffle his pack bringing in McCallum to partner Curley in a bid to get Celtic re-firing on all 4 cylinders.
Following the early pressure, Celtic didn't have to wait too long for their first effort on goal. After a mazy run, cutting in from the right, Curley squared to Gonzales just inside the box, who flashed a shot goalwards, which Hooligan's unfamiliar keeper just about managed to tip round the post in not so convincing fashion.
Celtic continued to press, confidently knocking the ball about with small interchanging passes, playing the attractive football instilled in them from Mowbray inspired Tibby. For all the sexy football on display, Celtic would finally get their reward from a set piece following a freekick conceded about 40 yards out down the Celtic left. Box to box midfielder, Prior stepped up to the plate, in what was assumed would be a routine chip in to the box. Prior, having already spotted possible frailties in the Hooligan keeper had different ideas however, and from all of 40 yards, saw the keeper off his line, and audaciously lobbed the ball over the scrambling keeper.
The second half continued much in the same vain as the first, with Celtic bossing proceedings with slick passes starting from the back. Hooligan were pinned in to their own half, and could only relying on the occasional counter attack as small relief.
For all their pressure though, Celtic were unable to finish the game off and get the much needed second goal to ease nerves. The slender 1 goal lead remained intact, and eventually all the points were secured in the closing exchanges of the game courtesy of a sublime finish by Roberts. A finish any forward would have been happy with.
Having been released down the left channel, in behind the Hooligan defense, Roberts still had plenty of work to do, 40 yards from the glory that beckoned. Roberts' pace took his surging run into the unfamiliar territory of the oppositions box, and having decided not to square the ball to the on rushing reinforcements, bored down on goal and drilled a left foot shot into the bottom right corner.
Que the celebrations.....!
"Number 1" was the cry from Roberts as he ran off in jubilation like a dog let off a leash for the first time, and is still probably running loose across Cherry Beach as you read this. Hopefully, "number 1" will soon become 2, 3 and more, now Roberts has opened his account.
With Multinational, KU Golden Oldies and another team that shouldn't be in the league, all snapping at their heals, Celtic will likely have to win their 4 remaining games in order to stay on top of the heap, come September when champions are crowned. This will be Celtic's toughest test yet, with two of their remaining four games against title rivals Mutlinational and KU, leaving the TSSL media league delicately poised. Don't take your eyes off this for a second.
|Fionn MacCool's Celtic||14||8||4||2||39||11||28||28|
|KU Golden Oldies||12||8||3||1||38||15||23||27|
|Globe and Mail FC||14||4||2||8||32||29||3||14|
|Trinity Park FC||14||0||0||14||5||114||-109||0|