SPFL Development League
Monday, April 16, 2018
Cappielow Park, GreenockCELTIC…4
(Johnston 7, Crossan 46, 48, Caffrey 90)DUNDEE UNITED…0THE Celtic Development Squad returned to winning ways in convincing fashion after dismantling Dundee United 4-0 at home.
Mikey Johnston opened the scoring early in the first half in what was only his second game back following a prolonged absence through injury. PJ Crossan then scored two goals in quick succession after the break before Thomas Caffery concluded proceedings.
The young Hoops started the game on the front foot and forced United to defend deep in their own half in the early stages.
Unable to contend with the Celtic attack, the visitors conceded a free-kick inside 10 minutes and Celtic capitalised on the opportunity. From the right-hand side Ewan Henderson rolled the ball into the box and the onrushing Johnston tucked it home from 12 yards.
Celtic maintained their pressure on United following the goal with Johnston proving to be a thorn in their sides. The 18-year-old illustrated his talents just minutes after scoring when he embarked on a wonderful run from the half-way line. He dribbled his way into the box only to have his shot saved by Josh Donaldson.
Dundee United eventually gained a footing in the game midway through the half and forced Hoops stopper Ross Doohan into a couple of fine saves.
Crossan looked determined to add his name to the score sheet before half-time and came close to doing so. His first effort came from a superb solo run down the left which Donaldson saved and he was denied a second time right before the break after Robbie Deas played him through on goal with a great pass.
The Celtic forward would not be held at bay in the second half however and finally found the back of the net within a minute of the restart when he muscled himself into a good position inside the box and finished with an excellent right foot shot.
Crossan’s strength and pace undid the opposition two-minutes later when he latched onto a long ball before shrugging off an opposition defender and firing home from just inside the box.
With a three goal advantage the Hoops showed no signs of tempering down their attack and continued to press united for the remainder of the game.
Johnston ran riot throughout and ensured Donaldson was kept busy in the United goal. The Celtic winger forced a great save from the opposition keeper from a free-kick 20 yards from goal. Later in the half he collected the ball in midfield, advanced towards goal and narrowly shot over the crossbar.
He then left the United defence helpless inside the box with his quick footwork creating space for him to get a shot off but the keeper again saved.
As the final whistle drew nearer Celtic looked determined to increase their advantage and they did just that right before the end. Thomas Caffrey looped a wonderful volley off the underside of the bat from 18 yards to draw a line under the evening’s exploits and secure a comfortable win for the Hoops.
The win serves as a great response to the disappointment of being eliminated from the SFA Youth Cup after losing out on penalties to Hibernian in the semi-final last week.
The convincing victory will serve as a huge boost for Tommy McIntyre’s side as they look to build momentum for a busy end to the season with four games in hand to league leaders Hibernian.Celtic (4-2-3-1): Doohan, Bell, Duffy (Potter 60), Deas(c), Church, McInroy, Henderson, Mazis, Campbell, Crossan (Caffrey 73), Johnston (Aitchison 73).
Not used: Willison........
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