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Celtic 3-0 Gretna
Celtic 3-0 Gretna
By Clive Lindsay

Scott McDonald celebrates the opening goal
McDonald put Celtic ahead before the break against Gretna
Celtic remain top of the Scottish Premier League ahead of Wednesday's derby with Rangers but were unconvincing in disposing of Gretna.

Allan Jenkins and Fabian Yantorno were denied by returning Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc before the side sitting bottom went behind after 35 minutes.

Aiden McGeady set up Scott McDonald to fire home off a post from 16 yards.

Scott Brown powered in the second four minutes after the break and Aiden McGeady fired a late third.

Boruc had made his return following knee surgery to replace Mark Brown.

Derek Riordan made a rare start along with Massimo Donati in place of Paul Hartley and Jiri Jarosik.

Gretna's plans were disrupted when captain Chris Innes was caught in an M8 traffic jam, with Ryan McGuffie called in ahead of his expected January move to Morton.

But the visitors coped efficiently with early Celtic pressure, a good block that deflected wide a McDonald shot on the turn being a rare moment of danger.

A Stephen McManus challenge at the other end prevented Kenny Deuchar's 14-yard drive finishing on target.

Gretna took heart and Boruc had to be alert to claw away a flick on from Jenkins, who had been chosen ahead of Henry Makinwa.

And, after Boruc had parried clear a Yantorno drive, Jenkins headed over from 10 yards.

Celtic responded to the danger by immediately taking the lead when McDonald fired the ball home low off the far post after being played through by McGeady.

Boruc prevented an equaliser when Yantorno finished a superb passing move with a powerful 15-yard drive that was pushed clear instinctively by the Polish goalkeeper.

Artur Boruc denies Gretna forward Allan Jenkins an opening goal
Boruc produced good saves on his return to the Celtic side

A Riordan drive from the edge of the box slid just wide after a deflection off team-mate McDonald that sent Gretna goalkeeper Tony Caig diving the wrong way.

Gretna head coach Davie Irons will have told his men during the half-time break that they still had a chance of a surprise result.

But Celtic virtually ended their hopes four minutes into the second half.

Brown played a neat-one two with Donati, collected the Italian's clever back-heel and fired the ball low into the far corner from 20 yards.

Gretna were almost handed a lifeline by Boruc when the goalkeeper's imperfect punch fired the ball against Jenkins' head and Gary Caldwell's overhead kick cleared it off the line.

Riordan reacted angrily to being replaced with Hartley, the forward heading straight up the tunnel as he exited after 63 minutes.

Hartley was quickly into the action, sending a header against the underside of the crossbar as Celtic took control.

A low drive from McDonald bounced to safety off the inside of the post.

And McGeady, seconds after being named sponsors' man of the match, sent a drive into the net after it took a deflection off McGuffie to round off an improved second-half display.

Celtic: Boruc, Caldwell, Balde, McManus, Naylor, McGeady, Donati (Sno 73), Scott Brown, Riordan (Hartley 64), McDonald, Vennegoor of Hesselink.
Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Killen, Caddis, O'Brien, O'Dea.

Booked: Scott Brown.

Goals: McDonald 35, Scott Brown 49, McGeady 89.

Gretna: Caig, Cowan, Horwood, Collin, McGuffie, Jenkins, Deverdics (McGill 69), Yantorno, Skelton, Murray (Makinwa 81), Deuchar.
Subs Not Used: Fleming, Paartalu, Grady, Innes, Barr.

Att: 57,171

Ref: D Somers

Category: SPL News | Views: 1057 | Added by: itwp | Rating: 0.0/0
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