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  • Bhoys claim victory in Andy Bryan testimonial

    Bhoys claim victory in Andy Bryan testimonial

    By: Martin Dalziel on 13 Jul, 2015 21:25

  • Andy Bryan Testimonial

    Cappielow, Greenock

    Monday, July 13, 2015

    CELTIC...3

    (Scepovic 15, Donnelly 43, Stokes 48)

    GREENOCK MORTON...1

    (Orr 19)

    CELTIC powered to a 3-1 victory over Greenock Morton at Cappielow in a special testimonial match as the Ton acknowledged their kit manager’s 40 years of service with the club.

    A team comprised of senior and youth Hoops players claimed the win through goals from Stefan Scepovic, Luke Donnelly and Anthony Stokes as Morton paid homage to the life-time of work their kit man Andy Bryan has given to the club.

    And his dedication to the Ton was rewarded with a strong turnout from the club’s fans as more than 1,000 supporters filled the ground ahead of kick-off.

    Celtic Development Squad coach Stevie Frail had expressed his delight before the match at being invited to bring a team to play the game and he took the opportunity to include some senior players in his squad with Scepovic and Stokes both named in the starting XI alongside a string of Young Hoops regulars.

    Kick-off was preceded with a guard of honour from both teams for the man of the hour and he enjoyed his moment in the Greenock sun in front of the fans.

    When the game did get underway the Bhoys started well and the opening 10 minutes offered up a decent display of football from both sides.

    The first goal then came on the 15 minute mark when Scepovic found the back of the net with a precise header from six yards after Aidan Nesbitt’s cross from the right. It was a move that came off at the third time of trying but underlined the Serbian striker’s composure in the box.

    It wasn’t long until the home-side drew level, however, after they held the ball well following the restart and split the Hoops defence with a clever through ball to forward Thomas Orr, who calmly slotted his shot low beyond Fasan with his left on 19 minutes.

    The goals breathed life into the game and Morton went close to going in front shortly after equalising but Fasan’s reactions at his near post kept the scores level.

    Good defensive work from Celtic just after the half hour mark then thwarted a stinging volley from Joe McKee as the Ton pushed for the lead. Jim Duffy’s side then passed up another guilt-edged chance to go in front when Orr failed to meet Russell’s low cross with the goal gaping and they were punished for their mistake minutes later after the Bhoys won a corner after pushing up-field from the Morton attack.

    Ton keeper Derek Gaston flapped at Nesbitt’s cross in, allowing the ball to fall kindly for Luke Donnelly who showed no hesitation to stroke a shot home and put the Celts 2-1 up at half-time.

    Celtic came out for the second half fired up and added to their lead almost immediately after the restart through Stokes.

    The Irishman picked up the ball around the half-way mark and strode confidently forward into Morton territory on the left flank. He then dashed inside with a knock-on, leaving his defender for dead, before coolly side-footing past Gaston to put Frail’s team 3-1 up.

    The Bhoys began to dominate as Morton made a string of substitutions after the goal and Nesbitt and Stokes both went close to adding to the lead before the Irishman was subbed after the hour mark.

    The home fans were keen to see their side get back into the contest and they tried to will Duffy’s reshuffled side forward but the Hoops were in full flow and it looked only a matter of time before they would score again.

    Second-half substitute Calvin Miller went close to doing so but he was nudged off the ball outside the box after collecting Donnelly’s set-up in a good position.

    Celtic’s control of the match continued with Jamie Lindsay and Joe Thomson dictating matters in midfield and feeding the Bhoys forward line.

    The fresh legs of Miller continued to probe at the Morton defence but the fourth goal remained elusive for the Celts as the saw out the game 3-1 winners despite a late flurry from Morton.

    The full-time whistle was followed with a post-match presentation to Andy Bryan who will remember the evening not for the score-line but for the entertaining football on display and support from the fans.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Fasan; Wardrop (McCart 53), O’Connell, Breslin, Tierney; Thomson, Lindsay; Nesbitt, Donnelly, Stokes (Miller 65); Scepovic

    Not used: McCabe, Murray, Hill, Hendry, McIlduff,

    GREENOCK MORTON starting XI: Gaston (Adam 68); Kilday (Stevenson 76), Russell, O’Ware (Trialist No.2, 60’), Lamie, Miller (Tidser 54), Barr (Trialist No.1; 46,) Forbes (Pepper 54), Orr (Scullion 68), McCluskey, McKee (Cairney 76)

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