SPFL Development League
Mon 17 August, 2015. Kick Off: - 19:00
Cappielow Park, Greenock.
Scott MacKenzie’s development side returned to action as they travelled to Cappielow to take on Celtic in their second league game of the season. The Young Jags were looking to put behind them a poor performance against St Johnstone and gain a bit of revenge against their Glasgow rivals who beat them twice last season, despite very impressive performances from the boys in red and yellow.
MacKenzie was able to call upon first team player Dan Seaborne as he continued his comeback from injury, having featured as a late substitute in the first team game against Kilmarnock the previous Saturday. David Wilson and Declan McDaid also got a run out as they looked to put in performances that would impress the watching Alan Archibald.
Thistle started the game in nervy fashion and Donnelly nearly punished slack play but lost his composure with the shot firing well wide.
McDaid made inroads into the Celtic rearguard and worked the ball well for Nisbet who forced Belgium international Logan Bailly to tip his shot wide of goal.
Celtic were having the bulk of possession but struggling to create clear-cut opportunities in front of Marc Waters’ goal. Thistle were proving handy on the break as Declan McDaid continued to prove an effective release from pressure with his pacy runs winning several free kicks in dangerous positions.
Thistle were able to contain Celtic to a goalless first half but barely 120 seconds into the second half, they trailed by a goal. Anthony Stokes went on a mazy run into the Thistle half and after holding off several challenges from the Thistle defence, his low shot was deflected into the path of Nesbitt who got a toe on the ball to divert into the unguarded net.
Celtic had noticeably stepped it up a gear and Thistle were unable to contain them at times with the off the ball movement, tearing holes in the Thistle rearguard. It was no surprise, therefore, when Celtic doubled their lead in the 54th minute, and it was that man Nesbitt again. A bit of a stramash in the box, ended with Nesbitt getting the ball from close range and bundling it into the back of the net.
Celtic settled down a little, content with their two goal lead and Thistle came back into the game. McDaid burst through, and with options either side of him, chose to go it alone with his shot being deflected out for a corner kick. The trialist centre half, who played well in the first half before fading in the later stages of the game, got his head on the ball but headed narrowly over the bar.
Thistle thought they had a way back into the game when Dominic Docherty fired a low shot past Bailly, but the linesman had his flag up for offside, a very tight call.
Waters, then had to produce another tremendous save from a Thomson free kick before Celtic finished the scoring through Nesbitt once again. The ball dropped to the striker, called up to the Scotland Under 19 squad earlier that day, and he spun a curling half-volley into the far corner of the goal.
It was a hard lesson for the Young Jags with Celtic stepping up the pace for a 15 minute spell that put the game out of reach.