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  • Johnston and Sinclair fire Celts to pre-season victory

    Johnston and Sinclair fire Celts to pre-season victory

    By: Mark Henderson in Austria on 03 Jul, 2018 12:01

  • Pre-season friendly
    Stallinger Financial Planning Arena, Rohrbach
    Tuesday, July 3, 2018

    CELTIC…2
    (Johnston 33, Sinclair 65)

    BW LINZ…1
    (Froschel 82)

    GOALS in either half from Mikey Johston and Scott Sinclair sealed a  2-1 win for Celtic over BW Linz in the first of today’s two pre-season friendlies in Austria. Johnston opened the scoring with a fine individual effort and Sinclair doubled the Hoops’ tally against the Austrian second-tier side from close-range in the 65th minute.

    Thomas Froschel bagged a late consolation for Linz as the Hoops saw out the remainder of the match to claim the win.

    Brendan Rodgers fielded a mix of youth and experience for the closed-doors contest in the town of Rohrbach, with Scott Bain, Marvin Compper, Eboue Kouassi, Scott Allan, Ryan Christie, Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths lining up alongside a host of younger players in the squad.

    The Bhoys made a bright start in the morning sunshine. Sinclair and Johnston both sent in dangerous deliveries from either flank with no takers, before Johnston registered the first shot on target in the 10th minute, but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Ammar Helac.

    Scott Bain was called into action for the first time seven minutes later when he saved from Dramac Franjo at his near post. The Hoops soon resumed the offensive, however, and Christie’s angled effort was inches wide after he’d been played in by Johnston.

    And it was Johnston who broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark with a fine solo effort. Collecting a pass from Allan in the inside-left channel, the young winger showed excellent footwork and composure to drift past several challenges before coolly picking his spot.

    Brendan Rodgers’ side threatened to doubled their advantage in quick-fire fashion as Christie met Griffiths’ corner with a glancing header but Helac made the save. Moments before the interval, Martin Kreuzriegler headed over from a corner for the Austrian side as the Celts went in with their one-goal lead intact.

    The lively Johnston threatened for the Hoops early in the second half after accelerating into the box but Helac was down quickly to smother his strike. As play surged from end to end, Manuel Hart had a couple of attempts for Linz, while Christie wasn’t far away from connecting with Griffiths’ corner.

    Allan also showed superb skill to dance past two challenges on the byline but no-one could apply the finishing touch from his cutback amid a ruck of Linz defenders.

    In the 65th minute, the Celts doubled their advantage. Johnston was the instigator, showing good strength to win a physical tussle near the edge of the box and then pick out the run of Griffiths. Bearing down on goal, the striker unselfishly rolled the ball across for Sinclair, who took a touch before finding the net. 

    The Bhoys were now firmly in control of the contest and Sinclair had the ball in the net again following a surging run from Johnston but the offside flag cut short the celebrations – despite the winger looking onside when Griffiths sent the ball into his path.

    With ten minutes remaining, the roles were reserved as Sinclair found Griffiths lurking at the back post but the hitman’s volley flashed narrowly wide.

    As the clock ticked down, Linz pulled a goal back through Froschel, the striker heading home inside the box, sparking a late rally from the Austrian side but, helped by an excellent save from Bain, the Hoops held firm to secure a deserved win.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Bain; Ralston, Welsh, Compper, Miller; Kouassi, Allan; Johnston, Christie, Sinclair; Griffiths.
    Not Used: Doohan, Hendry, Henderson McInroy,

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