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  • Ronny Deila gets off to a winning start

    Ronny Deila gets off to a winning start

    By: Martin Dalziel in Austria on 03 Jul, 2014 19:37

  • Pre-season friendly

    Hofmaninger Stadion, Bad Wimsbach, Austria

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    CELTIC...3

    Stokes 2, Johansen 42, McGregor 47

    FK Krasnodar...1

    Odil 19

    THE Ronny Deila era at Celtic began with a convincing 3-1 friendly win over Russian side FK Krasnodar in Austria.

    Anthony Stokes handed the Norwergian the perfect start by lofting home after 70 seconds, and although Odil Akhmedov restored parity, Stefan Johansen restored the Scottish champions’ advantage before the break.

    Young midfielder Callum McGregor sealed the victory with a clinical finish shortly after the interval to give the new Hoops boss a winning start.  

    Celtic  took to the field in glowing sunshine and turned in an equally bright performance which will please the new manager as his work gets underway in earnest.

    Celtic showed their intentions early on with a high pressing approach to the game. That intensity reaped positive awards immediately after a long ball over the Krasnodar defence found Stokes 70 seconds into the match. He controlled impeccably and sent a sumptuous chip over the Krasnodar keeper.

    The exquisite finish from the Irishman showed off the skills fans have come to know and love from Celtic’s Number 10 and proved he has lost none of sharpness in front of goal over the summer.

    The Russian side responded well and won a free kick on the edge of the Celtic box but the resulting shot was saved well by Lukasz Zaluska.

    The Hoops continued to dominate possession in the opening stages, winning the ball back quickly and high up the pitch.

    Derk Boerrigter was booked on the 12th minute for what seemed to be an innocuous challenge and the ref’s decision signalled a change in proceedings in the game.

    FK Krasnodar managed to gain better possession and began pressing Celtic deep in the Bhoys’ half. Their determination paid off with an equaliser on 19 minutes through Odil Akhmedov after an attacking pass evaded the Celtic defence and the Krasnodar midfielder slipped the ball past the on-rushing Zaluska.

    After the restart the Celtic defence kept their cool with Virgil van Dijk imposing himself well and playing the ball out from the back. The big Dutchman stopped a Krasnodar chance on 32 minutes with an outstanding block, reflecting Celtic’s resilience in defence.

    There was concern for Celtic shortly after when Mikael Lustig took a knock on the elbow but the Swede recovered and Celtic began to attack again.

    The Bhoys took the lead again on 42 minutes through Stefan Johansen after great determination saw him win the ball from a seemingly lost pass in the Krasnodar box. The Norwegian midfielder dragged the ball away from the sprawled Krasnodar keeper and dispatched a composed low shot into the net.

    The Hoops pressed well for the remainder of the half before the ref blew for half time following around five minutes of stoppage time.

    Ronny Deila named a completely changed XI for the second half but his players started in identical manner to the first half with an early goal.

    Leo Fasan, Adam Matthews, Eoghan O'Connell, Calum Waters, Stuart Findlay, Beram Kayal, Callum McGregor, Liam Henderson, Teemu Pukki, Leigh Griffiths and Bahrudin Atajic replaced the first half team and showed the same determination straight away.

    Callum McGregor’s first-time shot on the edge of the box following a cross from the right was too good for the Krasnodar keeper, and the youngster added his name to the score sheet to put the Hoops 3-1 up.

    Celtic dominated possession from there on, with McGregor’s skill coming to the fore alongside assured performances from Stuart Findlay and Calum Waters.

    Vladimir Bystrov was booked for Krasnodar on 57 minutes for a blatant pull on the dynamic Kayal and the break in play allowed the Russian side to make four changes.

    The game lost its flow for a period thereafter but Celtic still looked dangerous on the break as they weathered pressure from Krasnodar.

    Griffiths tested Sinistin in the Krasnodar goal with a fantastic free-kick on 67 minutes. But the Russian side launched a counter attack after the resultant Celtic corner and a first-time shot saw Fasan pull off an incredible, one-handed save high to his right.

    The Italian’s skills kept Celtic well ahead and he continued to show his composure by smothering a number of shots and crosses.

    The Hoops maintained control of the game, employing quick, one touch passing to pull apart the Krasnodar midfield and defence.

    This tactic led to a delightful passage of play between Griffiths and Atajic on the right flank, with both players evading the Krasnodar defenders with a succession of passes, before Griffiths was eventually flagged offside.

    Kayal was booked for a foul on 80 mins which offered Krasnodar a chance outside the Celtic box.

    Ari stood over the dead ball and chipped a ball to the left post but once again, the agile Fasan proved he was more than equal to the shot.

    A quick break from Pukki shortly after saw the Finn pick up the ball outside his own box and stride confidently into the Krasnodar half, but his final ball to McGregor was stopped with a sliding tackle and the Russian side regained possession.

    Celtic won a corner following great play again from Pukki but McGregor’s cross was cleared for a throw in.

    As the game came to its conclusion, Celtic continued to press on the edge of the Krasnodar box. That left space for Krasnodar and the Russian side had a chance cleared off the line by Stuart Findlay in the 89th minute.

    The resultant corner led to a foul for Celtic which was followed shortly after by the final whistle with the Hoops running out deserved winners.

    CELTIC (4-3-3) Zaluska; Lustig, van Dijk, Mulgrew, F. Twardzik; Brown, Johansen, Commons; McGeouch, Stokes, Boerrigter

    Website Man of the Match: Callum McGregor

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