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  • Forrest fires Celts to victory in pre-season opener

    Forrest fires Celts to victory in pre-season opener

    By: Tony Connelly on 27 Jun, 2018 19:39

  • Pre-season Friendly
    Wednesday, June 27, 2018
    Vorwärts Stadium

    CELTIC…1
    (Forrest 72)

    SK VORWARTS STEYR…0

    JAMES Forrest kicked-off Celtic’s pre-season with a 1-0 win against SK Vorwarts Steyr in the first of the Scottish champions’ three friendlies in Austria.

    A piece of individual brilliance from Forrest in the second half was enough to secure a win for the dominant Hoops in Steyr.

    Brendan Rodgers handed Lewis Morgan his Celtic debut with a place in the starting XI and the new Bhoy impressed with some promising attacking play.

    He started alongside Ryan Christie who marked his return to Celtic following a season-long loan at Aberdeen last season.

    The pair were joined in the team by fellow Hoops debutants Stephen Welsh and Kerr McInroy.

    The teenagers, 18 and 17-years-old respectively, are a product of the Celtic Youth Academy and their impressive performances in the Development squad last season had earned them their elevation.  

    Celtic wasted no time in pilling the pressure on the home side with Morgan at the helm of the attack. Early on he burst down the wing and cut a pass back for Sinclair inside the box but the Steyr defence intercepted it and denied the Englishman a clear goalscoring opportunity.

    It took Celtic around 10 minutes to find their rhythm after which point they began crafting some opportunities in front of goal.

    With Scott Brown in the starting XI, Celtic controlled the midfield and McInroy looked comfortable in the centre of midfield alongside the Hoops captain.

    As well as breaking up the play, the 17-year-old illustrated his range of passing early on with a great diagonal ball over the top of the opposition defence for Griffiths. The keeper was quick off his line though and managed to latch on to the ball which Griffiths had initially controlled with his chest.

    Both Morgan and Christie looked lively in attack as they tried to impress the manager. Christie caused problems for the home side with his willingness to run at the defence. He also found space out on the left and used it to good effect when he drilled a great pass across the face of goal for Griffiths but the defence was alert to the danger.

    Morgan grew in confidence as the half progressed and the home defence were unable to prevent him getting past them and swinging numerous crosses into the box. The 21-year-old showed excellent footwork and change of pace out on the right and a good final ball into the box too.

    Brendan Rodgers made wholesale changes for the second half with only Scott Bain reprising his place in the side that started the match.

    Celtic’s dominance on the game was unaffected by the changes and they soon began exposing holes in the Steyr backline.

    James Forrest came closest to opening the scoring early on after Callum McGregor picked him out at the back post with a low drilled ball. He was unable to get a clear shot at goal, though, and saw his shot from six-yards blocked.

    Celtic were denied what looked like a clear goal moments later when Scott Allan’s side-footed effort from the edge of the six-yard box was saved by Michael Halbartschlager, although it looked to be over the line and the dengered also appeared to have stopped it using his hands.

    The Hoops eventually got the goal they thoroughly deserved midway through the half thanks to Forrest.

    The 26-year-old looked sharp from the start of the second half as he troubled the opposition defence with his pace and willingness to take them on.

    He did just that when he went on a mazy run which saw him skip past three opposition defenders before firing a low right-footed shot across goal and into the bottom corner.

    From there, Celtic maintained their grasp on the game and continued to flood the Steyr goalmouth with wave after wave of attack.

    The home side sat deep and left little space for Celtic to exploit but they still managed to create goal scoring opportunities.

    Callum McGregor was unlucky not to have added his name to the scoresheet with a low curling effort from the edge of the box which was heading for the bottom corner but the keeper pushed the shot round the post.

    Ewan Henderson impressed in midfield too. The 18-year-old was composed and picked out his team-mates with some intelligent passing. He linked up well with Forrest late on after collecting a return pass. His shot was blocked though and Celtic had to settle for just the one-goal victory in their first pre-season outing.

    Celtic will now turn their attention to their next opponents, Bohemians Prague, who they will face on Saturday (June 30). That match will also be shown live on Celtic TV  to all subscribers, including UK & Ireland.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1): Bain, Miller, Compper, Simunovic, Welsh; Brown, McInroy, Christie, Morgan, Sinclair; Griffiths

    Second half: Bain (Hazard 62); Hendry, Ajer, Tierney, Forrest, Kouassi, McGregor, Hayes, Henderson, Allan, Aitchison
    Not Used: Doohan, Hendry

    SK VORWARTS STEYR (4-5-1): Grobalber; Stefan, Mario, Yusuf, Josip, Nicolas, Christian, Thomas, Mirsad, Lukas, Michael
    Not Used: Bernhard, Tobias, Alem, Simon, Christoph, Patrick, Hajrudin Dino, Nico, Michael, Philip, Sebastian, Rexhe

    Website Man of the Match: Lewis Morgan

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