Celtic XI stung by Jags at Firhill
By: Mark Henderson on 21 Jul, 2012 13:57
Arr Craig Cup
Saturday, July 21, 2012
(Welsh 33, Lawless 48)
A CELTIC XI were beaten 2-0 by Partick Thistle in the opening match of the Arr Craig Cup pre-season tournament at Firhill.
Goals in each half from Sean Welsh and Steven Lawless have the hosts the spoils, consigning a young Hoops side to Sunday's third/fourth place play-off against either Airdrie or Everton.
Stevie Frail and Danny McGrain had selected a youthful team with a smattering of first-team experience. The likes of Morten Rasmussen, Rabiu Ibrahim and Josh Thompson featured alongside many of last year's double-winning Under-19s' side.
One of the key men in that success was Tony Watt, who of course made such a memorable top-team bow towards the end of last season with a brace against Motherwell.
The young striker started on the left of a front-three and he was soon causing problems to the hosts' backline with his strength and direct running.
In the seventh minute, he created the first chance of the match for himself, cleverly spinning away from his marker and curled a shot narrowly wide of the far post.
The home side offered an instant response when former Celt, Stephen O'Donnell, reached the byline but Christie Elliot failed to make a proper connection from his cutback.
At the other end, Watt drove into the area and sent in a dangerous cross from the left. Rasmussen reached it but his flick was deflected wide.
The more experienced and streetwise Thistle side gradually began to enjoy more possession and carve out some opportunities, with Stuart Brannigan and Chris Erskine forcing Robbie Thomson into smart saves.
Just past the half-hour mark, they made the breakthrough when substitute Sean Welsh headed into the corner from Paul Paton's free-kick from the right.
The Jags had further chances to the extend their advantage but Elliot dragged a shot wide and Marcus Fraser made a last-gasp tackle to thwart Erksine.
After surviving that barrage, the Hoops mounted several attacks of their own as half-time approached. Rasmussen was unable to divert a right-wing cross on target and a rasping drive from Callum McGregor was tipped over by Scott Fox.
However, Thomson had to make another excellent stop before the break, pushing Aaron Muirhead's thunderous free-kick to safety to keep the deficit at one goal.
Celtic came out with greater purpose after the restart and a terrific piece of trickery and vision from Rabiu Ibrahim sent Patrik Twardzik through on goal but the Czech youngster fired high into the stand.
However, 60 seconds later, the Jags doubled their advantage as Steven Lawless found the corner with an accurate finish from 18 yards after Erskine's shot had been blocked.
With Jackie McNamara's side in control, the Hoops made a double change with Darnell Fisher and Paul Slane replacing Lewis Toshney and Twardzik.
Nonetheless, it was the hosts who continued to pose the greater goal threat, although McGregor forced Fox into s save and Paul Slane saw a goalbound effort blocked for the Bhoys.
In the closing minutes, Kris Doolan struk the post for the home side and Paul Paton shot over as Thistle finished strongly to progress into tomorrow's final.
CELTIC XI ( 4-3-3) Thomson; Toshney (Fisher 58) Fraser, Thompson, Blackman (Chalmers 86); Ibrahim (Atajic 70)Irvine, McGregor; P. Twardzik (Slane 58) Rasmuseen, Watt
Not Used: Daniels
PARTICK THISTLE (4-3-3) Fox; O'Donnell (Balatoni 73), Muirhead, Archibald, Sinclair (Welsh 30); Paton, Murray, Brannigan; Lawless (Craigan 62), Elliot (McGuigan 62), Erskine (Doolan 62)
Not Used: Wightman, Halsam