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  • Celts draw with Everton in Premier League International Cup opener

    Celts draw with Everton in Premier League International Cup opener

    By: Martin Dalziel in Liverpool on 25 Nov, 2014 21:03

  • English Premier League International Cup

    Goodison, Liverpool

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    CELTIC...1

    (Twardzik 26)

    EVERTON...1

    (Duffus 80)

    CELTIC’s Development Squad were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in their English Premier League International Cup tie against Everton tonight (Tuesday).

    Stevie Frail’s side controlled the first half and took a deserved lead through Filip Twardzik’s close range conversion but they were pegged back in the second half by a resurgent Everton, who equalised through Courtney Duffus.

    The Hoops started the game brightly, passing well, patiently and probing at the Everton defence. High pressing in the first few minutes put the Toffees under pressure and allowed Paul George to flight a ball in to Russell Griffith’s box but his cross went over the bar.

    Everton then hit on the break quickly and Arouna Kone flashed an effort over after doing well to find space on the edge of Leo Fasan’s box. The tone for the first half was set with both exchanges.

    Celtic were industrious in the first fifteen minutes and kept the ball well for most of that time. George and Paul McMullan interchanged well and it was the latter who had the first real effort of the game.

    The striker capitalised on a slip in Everton’s defence and pinged a shot towards goal but it was down the throat of Griffiths, who saved well.

    Eoghan O’Connell then flashed a header straight at Griffiths following the first corner of the game before Everton failed to test Fasan with two corners of their own at the other end.

    Most of the Hoops’ early play came through the middle but it was Calum Waters on the wing who carved out a good opening for George on the box but the Irishman’s shot was off balance on the turn.

    Celtic’s strong start eventually paid off midway through the first half when Liam Henderson’s free-kick was deflected wide for a corner.

    McMullan swung an angled cross in from the set-piece and it was flicked to the edge of the box by the Everton defence. Joe Thomson lay in waiting and his volleyed shot was tapped in by Filip Twardzik in the box.

    The Hoops maintained their dominance in the wake of the goal but were forced back at points as Everton sought to restore parity.

    Chris Long was most threatening, linking up well with Jonjoe Kenny on the left wing but the Celtic defence did well to close their passing down and snuff out the duo’s play.

    Everton went close at the end of the first half as Kone and then Kenny passed up good shooting chances with weak efforts but the teams went in level at the break.

    The start to the second half was punctuated by slack passing and throw-ins as each team pushed the other wide and as they struggled to regain their rhythm.

    Everton were the team on top as they chased an equaliser and they passed up a great early chance to get that when a through ball evaded the Hoops defence. Kenny managed to ghost in at the back post to beat the offside trap but he cut inside onto his right foot, allowing Fasan time to measure his shot save comfortably.

    Celtic were happy for Everton to pass it around at the back but McMullan forced the Toffees’ backline into a number of rushed passes as he pressed from the front for Stevie Frail’s side.

    Kieran Tierney then replaced Paul George as the Frail shuffled the pack. Twardzik pushed up behind McMullan to help provide support but Everton remained in control of possession.

    The Celts won a minor reprieve when Twardzik was fouled by Joe Williams, forcing the first yellow card of the game, but they couldn’t keep possession.

    Conor Grant was happy to capitalise on that for Everton and continued to probe the Celtic back line with through balls. One such pass found David Henen in space beyond Fisher but the Celtic right-back managed to block the cross.

    Grant then tested Fasan with a shot from the edge of the box but the midfielder was falling as he struck the effort and it went wide.

    Everton’s dominance dissipated for a brief spell and Celtic found their passing touch again but a swift counter attack from the hosts ended with the equaliser from substitute Duffus, who finished Gethin Jones’ cross well to make it 1-1.

    The Toffees continued to push Celtic in the closing stages and won several corners through the clever play of Grant but the Hoops were quick on the break and went close themselves.

    Fasan then sealed the draw for Celtic with a comfortable and strong catch late on to give the Bhoys a share of the spoils.

     

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Fasan; Fisher, O’Connell, Findlay, Waters; Henderson, Lindsay; Thomson, George (Tierney 60), Twardzik; McMullan (Donnelly 90)

    Not used: Hart, Kelleher, McCart, Breslin, Nesbitt.

    EVERTON (4-2-3-1) Griffiths, Jones, Kenny, Walsh, Pennington, Galloway, Grant, Williams, Kone (Dowell 45), Long (Henen 70) McAleny (C.Duffus 64)

    Not used: Hewelt, Connolly.

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