Thursday, 27 May 2010
While lesser foe's would have settled on the accomplishments of last season, basking in the warm of past glory, Celtic took the opportunity to further test its resolve and up the ante. During the winter season there has been a transformation of Celtic in to a well run club off the field, which now reflects the past achievements on it. The name may have change, but this is still Celtic. Toronto Celtic FC.
Making the step from the Media division to the mid week league, which carry's the added burden and motivation of Promotion and relegation, no amount of pre-season training can truly replicate match fitness for the arduous season that lies ahead. For Toronto Celtic, their first test came against Transylvania, who, if my sources serve me correctly, managed an admirable 3rd place position in Division 2 last season. A good marker as to the standard that has to be at the very least matched, if Celtic are to achieve aspirations of promotion come the end of the season.
With the scourching heat almost climbing to 30 degrees, Celtic ignored the suns touture, and set about their task in frenzied fashion, enjoying the majoroity of possession in the early exchanges. Their counter parts, expereinced and well organised, seemed content with allowing Celtic to dictate territory, and were happy with launching quick breaks.
First to enjoy the license of freedom was Teague, would could only scuff his shot into the thick foleage, after a neat pass by Lucero. Finding more joy down the right wing moments later, another pass from Lucero soon followed, which released Teague towards the byline. Teague squared a low cross to Strike partner McGoldrick, who's first time snap shot flew just wide of the post, with the keeper routed.
As the half wore on, and with Celtic being continually frustrated at the lack of reward for their fair share of possession, Transylvania started to show their prowess, with a couple of long range efforts following the now obvious counter attacks. Eventually, Celtic were made to pay for not making their possession count, after what looked like a pretty routine bouncing cross in to the box, managed to evade the heads of two defenders before kindly findings its way to the Transylvanis forward, who was left with the simple task of nodding home from all of 6 yards. Not a goal that Celtic will relish seeing a video replay of.
Spurred on by a feeling of injustice that had left Celtic 1-nil down at half time, they took to the second half, eager to make amends, and forge a truer reflection of the state of play by leveling up the score line. And, with a host of changes made at the interval, it would not take long for one of those fresh legs to bring Celtic level. After chasing a ball over the top that looked like a lost cause, Kovac doggedly robbed his marker, before turning just inside the right corner of the penalty box, and then deftly looping his effort over the keepers head into the opposite corner of the goal. This was a replay all of Celtic would have liked to have seen! Especially, as this will go down in history as Toronto Celtic FC's first ever competitive goal.
Not to be out done by Kovac' exquisite leveler, Fitzpatrick and Brooks were also soon trying to get in on the action. First Fitzpatrick let fly from all of 20 yards, only for his effort to whistle just over the bar, echoing "that goal" from the cup final. Then, Brooks after being picked out by a pin point cross field pass from Prior, placed his effort jsut wide of the post with the keeper all but beaten.
As the minutes started to tick away, it was increasingly likely that neither team were going to be able to break the deadlock. However, similar to the end of the first half, Transylvania started to enjoy a little more possession and were drilling in a few long range efforts. The best of which was a 25 yard volley that looked to be dipping under the bar, before Fourie fully stretched like the stride of a springbok, managed to get fingertips to it and tip it over the bar.
With the referee dressed in Italia 90' officials kit, who had barely ventured outside the centre circle, bringing the 90 minutes in the gruelling heat to a close, Celtic will have felt that this was a good first taste of life in the Second Division, and may have felt on another day that they could have knicked all 3 points. Never the less this was a good test, and one Celtic will want to build upon as the start of the season begins to take shape.
Posted by Ben Teague at 13:11