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  • Late drama as Celtic Reserves beat Hearts at Cappielow

    Late drama as Celtic Reserves beat Hearts at Cappielow

    By: Newsroom staff on 11 Mar, 2019 16:11

  • SPFL Reserve League
    Cappielow, Greenock
    Monday, March 11, 2019

    CELTIC…3
    (Duffy 3, Compper 14, Dembele 90)

    HEARTS…2
    (Moore 53, Irving 64)

    CELTIC scored a last-minute free-kick to beat Hearts 3-2 at Cappielow today (Monday) and re-establish a two-point lead at the top of the Scottish Reserve League table with a game in hand.  

    Early goals from defenders Wallace Duffy and Marvin Compper were matched by second-half strikes from the visitors’ Lewis Moore and Andy Irving. A last-gasp free-kick from Karamoko Dembele turned the game in Celtic’s favour, however, as Tommy McIntyre’s side secured maximum points.

    Celtic started with intent in the opening stages when, on three minutes, last week’s double-scorer Jack Aitchison played in Daniel Church down the left. The 18-year-old full-back fired a low ball across goal, but the visitors cleared at the front post.

    Minutes after that, the Hoops’ early pressure was rewarded with a goal when a Karamoko Dembele set-piece was met by Marvin Compper at the back post. The German centre-half headed back across the box to the incoming Wallace Duffy, who duly fired the ball into the net from six yards.

    Ahead of the quarter-hour mark, Celtic doubled their lead when Compper again showed prowess in the air, this time converting from a well-placed Armstrong Oko-Flex corner. The 16-year-old midfielder swung the set-piece into the opposition penalty area, and Compper headed home.

    For the next 10 minutes, the Hoops enjoyed a spell of possession as the visitors struggled to get a foothold on the match. On 24 minutes, Oko-Flex burst into the final third before slipping in Aitchison to his right, but the latter’s heavy touch ran the ball out of play for a goal-kick.

    At the opposite end, Hearts’ first chance of the game fell to Ryan Edwards, who met a fast-paced cross with a looping header that landed on the roof of the net.

    On 34 minutes, Hoops stopper Ryan Mullen handled well following a stretch of Hearts pressure, and at the other end, Dembele sent a flicked header off target. Two minutes on, Edwards again tried his luck from range to no avail, while Vakoun Bayo sent a similarly ambitious effort wide of the mark.

    The Bhoys entered the break two goals in front, but it was the visitors who carved the first half-chance of the second period when a corner was scrambled clear to Connor Shaughnessy, whose shot was blocked on its way to goal.

    On 53 minutes, the visitors reduced the deficit, courtesy of Lewis Moore. A half-volley from Andy Irving was blocked en route to goal, Moore collected the loose ball and then curled a neat finish into the net from close-range.

    A series of rough tackles followed during the next 10 minutes, before Bayo and Kerr McInroy entered the referee’s book in quick succession. Irving scored from a free-kick following McInroy's foul, netting his second set-piece in as many weeks for Hearts to make it 2-2.  

    From there, Celtic stepped up to create a couple of half-chances of their own. On 65 minutes, Oko-Flex capped off some tricky footwork with a shot high and wide of the target, while nine minutes on, some patient build-up play from the Hoops saw Oko-Flex, Dembele, Bayo and Church all combine well, before a cross from the left was headed to safety.

    Moments after that, Dembele skipped passed the Hearts defence, created an angle for his shot, and fired a strike off the crossbar.  

    During the final 10 minutes of the match, both teams threatened in front of goal, but it was the Hoops who stole the headlines with a late free-kick from Dembele, squeezed from a tight angle into the far bottom corner of the net.

    After two early goals, a comeback from Hearts, and a last-gasp winner, Celtic secured all three points at Cappielow to extend their lead at the top of the Scottish Reserve League with a game in hand.

    CELTIC: Mullen, Duffy, Welsh, Compper, Church, McInroy, Dembele, McLaughlin (Robertson 87), Oko-Flex, Aitchison (Coffey 69), Bayo (Diver 82)
    Subs not used: Willison, Mazis, Savoury, Caffrey

    HEARTS: Mason, Brandon, Burns, Shaughnessy, Hamilton, Irving, C. Smith, Cochrane, Edwards, Moore, Henderson
    Subs not used: Silva, Sandison, Ritchie, Logan, Makovora, Ward

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