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  • Young Hoops break Hearts with thrilling comeback

    Young Hoops break Hearts with thrilling comeback

    By: Mathew Newton on 03 Oct, 2016 21:09

  • SPFL Development League
    Cappielow Park, Greenock
    Monday October 3, 2016

    CELTIC... 3
    (McCart 51, 57, Watson 53)

    HEARTS... 1
    (Currie 35) 

    A SENSATIONAL six-minute blitz from the Celtic Development Squad saw the young Hoops get back to winning ways with an impressive comeback victory over Hearts at Cappielow tonight (Monday).

    After going behind in the first-half, three quick-fire goals after the break, including a brace from centre-back Jamie McCart, put the young Celts in a strong position and they held on for a deserved victory, thanks to the excellent saves of Leo Fasan late in the match.

    The win was the perfect response from Tommy McIntyre’s side following defeats to Ross County and Manchester City in the SPFL Development League and UEFA Youth League respectively and was made even sweeter given the number of changes the Celts had to make due to the raft of international call-ups from their ranks.

    With key players like Calvin Miller and Regan Hendry all absent from the line-up due to Scotland duty, a string of younger players were given a chance to impress, none younger than 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele, who made his first Development Squad appearance as a second-half substitute in the entertaining encounter.

    The young Hoops started brightly, playing at a high tempo and creating a number of chances early in the game.

    Joe Thomson pulled the strings from midfield and nearly put the home side ahead with a free-kick inside the first 10 minutes. The 19 year-old’s thunderous strike left the Hearts keeper at a standstill but the ball cannoned back off the crossbar.

    Despite the positive start from Celtic, it was the visitors who opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark. The home side failed to clear a corner and Rory Currie fired a shot from just inside the area into the top corner to put the Jambos 1-0 up.

    The Celts continued to dominate possession after going behind and almost equalised before the break but Daniel Higgins’ long range effort was just wide of the target on 43 minutes.

    McIntyre’s side started the second-half as brightly as they opened the game and they almost levelled the scores on 48 minutes but Thomson’s volley from close range forced a superb save from the Hearts goalkeeper, Kelby Mason.

    Just minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Josh Kerr had his shirt pulled in the area. Jack Aitchison stepped up to take the spot-kick but was twice denied as Mason produced two reflex saves to stop the strike and the rebound.

    Three goals in six minutes from Celtic then quickly turned the game on its head as the Bhoys finally found the breakthrough.

    Jamie McCart met Thomson’s free-kick to head the Celts level on 51 minutes before Broque Watson put them in front with a curled finish into the bottom corner from a difficult angle two minutes later.

    Centre-back McCart then claimed a second goal to put Celtic 3-1 up when he pounced on a loose ball in the area to half-volley into the back of the net on 57 minutes.

    Watson almost had a brace and Celtic’s fourth of the evening 10 minutes later as the Celts threatened to overrun the visitors but his delicate shot squeezed past the keeper and just past the post.

    The home side continued to press and Aidan McIlduff went close after linking up with Aitchison. The left-back’s effort forced another good save from Mason in the Hearts goal on 76 minutes to deny the Hoops again.

    A magical moment was then crystallized for a talented young Celtic prospect as 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele replaced Aitchison with just under 10 minutes left to make his debut at that level – seven years above his age group. The diminutive playmaker didn’t look out of place and played his part in the closing stages.

    The Jambos still had life in them and started to push the Bhoys back in the final minutes but two excellent saves from Leo Fasan kept Celtic’s two-goal advantage intact before the referee called time on an entertaining game and deserved three points for McIntyre’s men. 

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1): Fasan; Wardrop, Kerr, McCart, McIlduff; Higgins (McGrath 67), Payne; Watson, Thomson, Archibald (Church 90); Aitchison (K Dembele 81)

    Subs not used: McAdams, Duffy, Bowers, Bell


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