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  • Young Celts thrash Killie 4-1 in final league clash

    Young Celts thrash Killie 4-1 in final league clash

    By: Martin Dalziel on 14 May, 2015 20:10

  • SPFL Development League

    Celtic FC Training Centre, Lennoxtown

    Thursday, May 14, 2015


    (Donnelly 3, McGrath 48, Duffy 85, Waters 87)


    EARLY goals in either half helped Stevie Frail’s Development Squad to a 4-1 victory over Kilmarnock at Lennoxtown tonight in their last league fixture of the 2014/15 season.

    The Bhoys strode confidently into an early lead through Luke Donnelly’s close-range finish but the visitors drew level on six minutes after capitalising on a break of the ball in the box after a free-kick.

    Celtic regained the lead three minutes into the second-half, however, through a clever finish from Jaison McGrath inside six yards after good work on the right by Michael Duffy.

    The Irishman then showed great composure to give the Bhoys a deserved third five minutes from time with a calm finish from inside 12 yards after Kilmarnock failed to clear their lines under pressure.

    Calum Waters added a fourth two minutes later with a fine angled finish from just inside the area to cap off a comprehensive victory for the Bhoys and give them good momentum going into Thursday’s SFA Youth Cup final against Rangers.

    Frail made almost wholesale changes to his side as the team looked to bounce back from Monday’s defeat to St Mirren, with the inclusion of Eoghan O’Connell and Stuart Findlay among eight fresh faces brought in to the starting XI.

    After going behind inside the opening minutes of Monday’s match against St Mirren Celtic sought to impose themselves on the game from the off and they did that in excellent fashion by taking the lead on three minutes.

    A good interchange of play between Duffy and McGrath set up Donnelly in the area but his first time effort was cleared. The ball then broke to the wing where it was swung back into the box and gathered by Donnelly, who steadied himself and smashed the opener home with his right.

    It was the start Frail had been looking for but his team’s brilliant opening play was almost instantly cancelled out when Kilmarnock drew level on six minutes. The visitors won a dangerous free-kick in Celtic’s half which they whipped in to the box and the ball fell kindly to their striker who controlled and fired past Hart in goal to draw Killie level.

    The Hoops rallied from the set back and a nice passing move on the edge of the area allowed Donnelly to get a shot in on goal but his low effort from 20 yards was saved by the Kilmarnock keeper.

    Celtic were completely on top but the Ayrshire side pressed the Bhoys well anytime they got near the box, prohibiting their attacks. The Celts kept the tempo up anytime they lost the ball, however and continued to put Kilmarnock under pressure when they gathered possession.

    The Hoops then had a great chance to regain the lead after Donnelly laid off the ball to Duffy as he charged down on the box but the Killie keeper got two strong hands to the winger’s shot.

    The visitors had a brief chance to get in front after a high ball over the top of the Celtic defence caught the backline on the back foot but Hart got down well to save the shot before half-time.

    Celtic resumed control of the tie after the break and, just like the first half, strode into the lead within minutes of the whistle.

    Sam Wardrop dropped a ball over the Killie backline on 48 minutes which was seemingly beyond everyone but Duffy chased it down and played a first-time ball back into the box where McGrath had ghosted in and finished the move with a controlled low shot from close range.

    Regaining the lead gave Celtic the confidence to play their normal style of flowing, passing football and they almost added to their lead on 56 minutes when Duffy flashed a curling left-footed volley at goal but the Kilmarnock keeper saved the effort spectacularly to deny the winger.

    O’Connell was replaced by Jack Breslin just before the hour mark and the reshuffle at the back allowed Killie to get in behind the Bhoys while the defence adjusted but the visitors couldn’t finish a chance from inside the area.

    The Celts took the missed opportunity from the visitors as a warning and they could have extended their lead further on 66 minutes when Breslin broke forward from defence and helped the ball along to Duffy in the area but the Kilmarnock goalie once again got down well to thwart the Irishman.

    Duffy wasn’t to be denied, however, and he finally got his goal five minutes from time when he pounced on the break of a ball in the visitors’ box after they failed to clear a Celtic attack.

    Left-back Calum Waters then added a fourth just before full time when he stroked home with his left from just inside box as Kilmarnock fell to pieces under the Hoops pressure before the referee called full-time.

    The win allowed Frail’s side to finish their league campaign on a positive note and will give his young side confidence going into next Thursday’s SFA Youth Cup final against Rangers at Hampden.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Hart; Wardrop, O’Connell (Breslin 58), Findlay (McCart 78), Waters; McManus, Murray; Nesbitt (Lafferty 78), Donnelly, Duffy; McGrath

    Not used: McCabe, McIlduff

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