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Dominant Celts march on in Scottish Cup

By: Mark Henderson on 03 Feb, 2013 15:03

Scottish Cup fifth round
Starks Park, Kirkcaldy
Sunday, February 3, 2013
 
RAITH ROVERS…0
 
CELTIC…3
Commons 56, Forrest 83, Mulgrew 86
 
CELTIC booked their place in the last eight of the Scottish Cup with a convincing 3 -0 victory over Raith Rovers at Starks Park.
 
Kris Commons finally rewarded the Hoops´ dominance by breaking the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 56th minute, before James Forrest marked his return from injury by doubling the advantage following an incisive counter attack.
 
Charlie Mulgrew planted a shot in the top corner from 20 yards to round off the scoring as Neil Lennon´s men finished strongly to take their place in tonight´s (Sunday) quarter-final draw.
 
There were three changes to the team that overcame Kilmarnock on Wednesday night, with Beram Kayal, Joe Ledley and Tony Watt restored to the starting XI at the expense of Emilio Izaguirre, Georgios Samaras and Scott Brown. Kelvin Wilson donned the captain´s armband.
 
Celtic made a brisk start in the blustery conditions and quickly began to boss proceedings. Mulgrew was particularly assertive in the opening stages, showing plenty of enterprise from the left-back position.
 
He sent in a series of dangerous deliveries, causing consternation in the home side´s defence, and one looked to have earned a penalty as the ball struck Eddie Malone´s outstretched hand. Referee, Steven McLean was unmoved, however.
 
Victor Wanyama and Commons were both off target as the Hoops continued to press forward but it was Mulgrew who continued to carry the greatest menace though his overlapping runs.And after some trickery on the edge of the area, he brought out a smart save from David McGurn with a low drive.
 
Adam Matthews saw another appeal for a penalty turned down, when his cross careered into a ruck of bodies and appeared to hit a hand, before a neat passage of passing presented Wanyama with a chance to shoot from 25 yards. McGurn was well-positioned, however, and made a comfortable stop.
 
In the 35th minute, a swirling corner from Mulgrew was heading towards the far posts until Joe Hamill hacked off the line but the well-organised hosts managed to survive until the interval.
 
Undettered, the SPL champions continued where they had left off after the break. Matthews, brimming with confidence following his brace against Kilmarnock in the previous game, fired narrowly over.
 
And the full-back was then turned provider, sending in an inviting cross which Watt glanced inches wide.
 
Lukasz Zaluska had been a virtual spectator at the other end but he was called into action in the early part of the second half, pushing Brian Graham´s free-kick to safety.
 
That gave the home support some encouragement but they were swiftly silenced the Hoops raced up the pitch to open the scoring.
 
Commons twisted and turned just inside the area and was tripped by Simon Mensing. This time the referee pointed to the spot and Commons dispatched the penalty emphatically in the corner.
 
Forrest made his first appearance since Boxing Day following his hamstring injury as Neil Lennon made a double switch on the hour mark. Brown was the other player to enter the fray, with Watt and Kayal making way.
 
This made no difference to the pattern of play, however, as Celtic maintained their control of proceedings. Commons nearly added his second of the afternoon, the attacker being thwarted by a superb save by McGurn.
 
And Brown passed up an excellent opportunity shortly after, blasting wide after Hooper´s effort had rebounded into his path.
 
As the home side began to commit more men forward in the closing stages in search of a leveller, the Hoops capitalised on the extra space to kill off the tie with two terrific goals.
 
Hooper released Forrest through the middle. With his first touch, the winger flicked the ball over Laurie Ellis. He then used his explosive pace to streak past the veteran defender, before deftly flicking the ball over the advancing McGurn.
 
And in their next attack, Mulgrew added number three, sending a trademark left-foot strike into the top corner, as the Hoops eased to a win which preserves their domestic double ambitions.
 
CELTIC (4-4-2) Zaluska; Matthews, Lustig, Wilson, Mulgrew; Commons (Stokes 76), Wanyama, Kayal (Brown 60), Ledley; Hooper, Watt (Forrest 60)
Not Used: Fasan, Lassad
 
RAITH ROVERS (4-4-1-1) McGurn; Thomson, Mensing, Ellis, Malone; Walker, , S. Anderson (Spence 74) Hamill; Smith (G. Anderson 65); Clarke; Graham
Not Used: Callachan, Donaldson, Laidlaw
 
Website Man of the Match: Charlie Mulgrew

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