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  • Derby delight for the Hoops in Paradise

    Derby delight for the Hoops in Paradise

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 13 Apr, 2016 21:24

  • Scottish Women’s Premier League
    Wednesday, April 13, 2016 
    Celtic Park

    Celtic 5
    (Howat 18 & 73, Mulvey 43, Montgomery 47, Murray 82)

    Rangers 1
    (Turner 65)

    HISTORY was made at Celtic Park tonight (Wednesday) when the Celtic Women’s team played their first competitive match at Paradise, and the Hoops marked the occasion with an impressive 5-1 victory over city rivals, Rangers.

    Kirsty Howat had the honour of scoring the first goal at Paradise for the Hoops, while there were further strikes from Suzanne Mulvey and Kerry Montgomery before Howat added her second of the night. And there was also a goal for Christie Murray, making her debut for the Hoops at the start of her second spell with the club.

    To the strains of The Celtic Song, Kelly Clark led the Hoops out on to the pitch, accompanied by the warm applause of the Celtic fans in the main stand.

    When the action got underway it was the visitors who were first on the attack, with Jordan McLintock’s run down the left creating a corner, but Celtic dealt well with the set-piece and soon took control of proceedings.

    And they could have taken the lead after just four minutes. A Christie Murray free-kick from 25 yards out was only parried by goalkeeper, Claire Johnstone, but Chloe Craig’s shot on the rebound hit the side-netting.

    Suzanne Mulvey’s cross from almost on the goal-line bounced off the bar and away to safety after eight minutes, and five minutes later, the Hoops had a strong claim for a penalty when right-back Alex Middleton surged into the box and was fouled as she tried to find a team-mate with a pass, but referee, Ross Birrell ignored the claims.

    Celtic were looking sharper and slicker, and enjoying the bulk of possession, so it was no surprise when they took the lead after 18 minutes. Christie Murray’s corner was cleared back out to the Celtic No.7 and her first-time pass back into the box was expertly volleyed into the net by Kirsty Howat.

    Rangers tried to get back into the game, mainly through McLintock and Chantelle Brown, but Celtic were proving too strong in midfield and at the back.

    Just after the half-hour the home side should have doubled their lead but Kerry Montgomery’s header from a Craig free-kick went wide of the post.

    Suzanne Mulvey’s runs down the channels were stretching the Rangers defence, and the striker got her reward two minutes before the break when she doubled Celtic’s lead.

    Montgomery sent a superb ball down the inside-right channel and Mulvey got into the box ahead of her marker and lofted the ball over the onrushing Johnstone in the Rangers goal to give the Hoops a thoroughly-deserved 2-0 half-time lead.

    Celtic began the second-half with an even greater intensity and made it 3-0 within 90 seconds of the restart. The impressive Alex Middleton delivered a cross from the right-hand side into the area and the ball fell to Kerry Montgomery, who showed great composure to fire the ball home.

    And Middleton almost made it 4-0 on 50 minutes when she steered a right-foot shot narrowly wide.

    Celtic were completely dominating the game, with the midfield triumvirate of Kerry Montgomery, Natalie Ross and Kelly Clark dictating the play.

    Indeed, it took Rangers until just after the hour mark before they could muster their first attack of the second-half, when Megan Foley surged into the box, but the Hoops defence dealt well with the danger.

    However, on 65 minutes there was a glimmer of hope for the visitors when they scored. Good work from Brown down the left saw her swing a cross into the box and Katey Turner’s looping volley evaded Megan Cunningham in the Celtic goal.

    But it wasn’t long before the Hoops restored their three-goal lead and it was Kirsty Howat who netted her second goal of the night.

    The delivery into the box came from Celtic substitute, Courtney Whyte, and Natalie Ross did well to lay the ball off to Howat, whose left-foot volley into the roof of the net gave the Rangers keeper no chance.

    There were a raft of substitutes from both sides, and it was the Hoops who always looked the more likely to add to the scoring, which they did with eight minutes of the match remaining.

    Joanne Paton, another one of the Hoops’ subs, found Christie Murray inside the box at the second attempt, and her precise left-foot shot ended up in the back of the net to make it 5-1 for Celtic.

    It was an emphatic victory for Celtic on a night when Hoops history was made.

    CELTIC: Cunningham, Ross (Dalgliesh), Craig, Murray, Montgomery, Mulvey, Howat (Paton), Clark, Middleton (McGuire), Rafferty (Connolly), Knox (Whyte).
    Subs: Kerr, Cavanagh

    RANGERS: Johnstone, Jones, O’Neil, Brown, Faughan (Sinclair), Foley (Robertson), McLaughlin, McLintock, Swanson (Adams), Turner, Gemmell.

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