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  • Bhoys finish pre-season with a bang

    Bhoys finish pre-season with a bang

    By: Martin Dalziel on 25 Jul, 2015 16:51

  • Pre-season friendly
    Celtic Park
    Saturday, July 25, 2015

    CELTIC...2
    (Griffiths 12, Mackay-Steven 22)

    RENNES 0

    CELTIC capped off their pre-season preparations with a 2-0 victory over Ligue 1 side Rennes at Celtic Park.

    Goals in the first-half from Leigh Griffiths and Gary Mackay-Steven proved to be enough to earn Ronny Deila's side a comfortable victory over the French team and provided the side with a welcome confidence boost ahead of Wednesday's clash against FK Qarabag in the UEFA Champions League.

    The Bhoys started the match with a strong line-up as the manager gave his players their final chance to work their way into the first-team starting XI for Wednesday’s game against the Azerbaijan champions.

    Striker Leigh Griffiths was given the nod up front ahead of Nadir Ciftci for the first-half and he staked his claim for Wednesday when he fired the Bhoys in front with an expert finish inside the box on 12 minutes.

    The forward gathered a pass on the right wing and edged towards the box where he somehow managed to work some space and steer a low shot beyond three Rennes defenders and Benoit Costil in goal to put Celtic in front.

    Gary Mackay-Steven then replicated Griffiths’ show of intent when he provided a deft finish to a defence-splitting ball from Stuart Armstrong on 22 minutes.

    Armstrong was deployed in the central attacking midfield role and he was in the right place to take a quick free-kick after Efe Ambrose was fouled in the Rennes half.

    The attacker spotted the run of his former Dundee United team-mate on the left channel and he cut the visitors open with a beautiful pass into the penalty area which Mackay-Steven complimented with an equally appealing low shot beyond Costil.

    The scoreline underlined Celtic’s clinical play in attacking areas, despite Rennes enjoying a healthy share of possession throughout the first 45 minutes.

    Celtic came out almost entirely changed for the second-half with the manager opting to give some fringe players a chance to impress alongside a string of first-team regulars.

    Among the changes included Leo Fasan in goal and Hoops youngster Joe Thomson in midfield, who were joined by Callum McGregor on the right flank, making his first appearance since February following his return from injury.

    The changed line-up took time to adjust to the game but the match soon fell into the pattern of the first-half with Rennes enjoying some good possession but equally as blunt with their attacks.

    Celtic still looked threatening and promising up front but the forwards struggled to find the killer pass as the Rennes defence stepped up their efforts to keep the scoreline respectable.

    Janko was impressive at the other end and a brilliant show of strength and skill at the right flank got the crowd on their feet on 65 minutes after he robbed Rennes of possession and sprung a Celtic attack which led to a blocked shot from Rogic.

    Fasan also proved his promising talent with a commanding performance in goal and a string of good saves, particularly late in the game against substitute Ola Toivonen who looked sure to score, but the striker was denied by a strong hand from the Italian goalkeeper.

    Rennes continued to push as the game reached its conclusion but the Bhoys rarely looked troubled and will go into Wednesday's crucial match against FK Qarabag full of confidence after today's display.

     CELTIC: Gordon (Fasan 45); Ambrose, Boyata (Janko 45), van Dijk (O’Connell 45), Mulgrew (Izaguirre 37); Brown (Thomson 46), Bitton (Rogic 46); Forrest (McGregor 46), Armstrong (Ciftci 46), Mackay-Steven (Stokes 46); Griffiths (Scepovic 46)
    Not used: Tierney, Bailly.

    RENNES: Costil; Mexer, Mendes, Fernandes (Andre 66), Grosicki, Sio, Moreira, Sylla, Henrique (Doucoure57), Lenjani, Armand
    Subs: M’Bengue, Toivonen, Diagne, Sorin, Hunou, , Kondradsen, Baal, Danze

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