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  • Dominant Bhoys defeat Den Bosch in Paisley

    Dominant Bhoys defeat Den Bosch in Paisley

    By: Martin Dalziel on 01 Jul, 2015 21:37

  • Pre-season friendly

    St Mirren Park, Paisley

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    CELTIC...2

    (Mackay-Steven 3, O.G. Pantophlet 25)

    FC DEN BOSCH...0

    CELTIC kicked-off their pre-season campaign with a convincing 2-0 victory over Dutch side FC Den Bosch at St Mirren Park tonight.

    The Celts controlled the first of their three friendlies at the Buddies' ground in balmy conditions  and swept into the lead inside the opening minutes through excellent play from Gary Mackay-Steven.

    The former Dundee United winger was also responsible for the second when his direct run from the right forced a defensive slip from the visitors and doubled Celtic's lead on 25 minutes through Kadeem Pantophlet's own goal.

    Ronny Deila took the opportunity of the friendly nature of the game to hand debuts to Dedryck Boyata, Luke Donnelly and Leo Fasan as the Bhoys took to the pitch for the first time in their New Balance kit.

    Mikael Lustig and Tom Rogic also made their return to the side following spells on the sidelines and were joined by Liam Henderson following the conclusion of his loan spell at Rosenborg.

    Youngster Donnelly started brightly, slipping a through ball in for Mackay-Steven before his fellow Development Squad team-mate Kieran Tierney sent the first cross in from the left inside two minutes.

    Mackay-Steven then opened the scoring inside the third minute when he latched onto a scything through ball from Stuart Armstrong and showed good composure to nick the ball round the keeper and slot home comfortably from inside 12 yards.

    Celtic were in control from then on with Mackay-Steven at the heart of everything good about the Bhoys’ play and it wasn’t long until he helped the Celts go 2-0 up.

    His darting runs into the box from the right had been a trademark of his play in the first half and he was finally rewarded when a sprint into the box drew out Kees Heemskerk in goal, who could only palm the winger’s chipped shot into the path of Pantophlet, who bundled the ball into his own net on 25 minutes.

    The former Dundee United attacker then found himself on the receiving end of some harsh tackles after Den Bosch defender Jordy Winden snapped at the playmaker with a late lunge and received a yellow card. Winden was then lucky to then not be sent off after he crunched in on Scepovic at the touchline but not even a foul was awarded.

    A flurry of action in the box then saw Celtic go close again to getting a third but the keeper saved when one-on-one against Donnelly before Rogic flicked a shot off the left side netting.

    The returning Lustig then saw a header crack off the bar from Armstrong’s corner on 31 minutes before Boyata’s shot on the turn was hooked clear.

    Den Bosch were struggling to deal with Celtic’s pace and flair and they drew a massive sigh of relief as the whistle blew for half-time shortly after the Hoops boss had introduced Darnell Fisher and Aidan Nesbitt for Lustig and Armstrong.

    The start of the second half saw the champions maintain their control of the game but focus more on their passing and movement, rather than a repeat of the all-out attack that had characterised the first half.

    Chances were still in abundance, however, and Tom Rogic had the best of them, heading over on 47 minutes form Henderson’s corner.

    The game then began to look like a stereotypical pre-season match after Den Bosch’s composure continued to waver before the Hoops boss rang the changes.

    Jamie Lindsay, Eoghan O’Connell, Calum Waters, Stuart Findlay, Joe Thomson, Derk Boerrigter, Paul McMullan and Michael Duffy all entered the fray as Tierney, Rogic, van Dijk, Donnelly, Henderson, Mackay-Steven, Boyata and Scepovic took their leave.

    It was a wholesale reshuffle for the Celts but that didn’t seem to disrupt their play too much as they continued to stroke the ball around with confidence and comfort.

    The new look side saw the Bhoys finish the game with nine academy players on the pitch and the youngsters showed no hesitancy to display the skills which saw them clinch the SFA Youth Cup last season in emphatic fashion with a 5-2 thrashing of Rangers.

    O’Connell was commanding in defence, thwarting any chances the visitors attempted to create and the Celtic forward players were quick to press their opponents high up the pitch.

    McMullan and Duffy both gave glimpses of their pace and trickery on the wings and the duo linked up well to keep the Celts up the pitch.

    The game finished with a shot from Boerrigter after a further period of possession from the champions and the dominant display saw the Bhoys get their pre-season campaign off to a winning start.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Fasan; Lustig (Fisher 40), Boyata (O’Connell 60), van Dijk (Findlay 60), Tierney (Waters 60); Henderson (Lindsay 60), Rogic (Thomson 60), Mackay-Steven (Boerrigter 60’), Donnelly (Duffy 60), Armstrong (Nesbitt 40, McManus 82), Scepovic (McMullan 60)

    Not used: Hazard.

    DEN BOSCH: Meeskerk, Disveld, Maatsen, Winden, Beekmans, Smeekes, Vossebelt, Pozder, Zeldenrust, Verlaan, Malcolm

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