Clark 2, Howat 8, Dalgliesh 21, Ross 52, Grant 65
Forfar Farmington 0
Celtic made an explosive start, scoring three goals, hitting the bar and drawing several outstanding saves from the Forfar keeper all in the first 21 minutes. Two further goals in the second half secured the Hoops’ second successive 5-0 win.
At 15-years-old, Kiera Gibson made her second first-team start in goal, being the second ‘Millennial’ along with Jamie-Lee Napier to play in the team this season. Abby Grant took over from Kerry Montgomery in midfield for Celtic in their fourth encounter of the season with Forfar.
Forfar won a corner on their left within the first minute, but it was the counterattack initiated by Ruesha Littlejohn which allowed Celtic to open the scoring. A corner was swung in from the right by Heather Richards and skipper Kelly Clark, surrounded by a cluster of defenders flashed a header into the net.
There followed a spell when Celtic produced arguably their best football of the season. Natalie Ross, currently in wonderful form, was spraying passes around, Heather Richards appeared to be everywhere, wide players Kirsty Howat and Abby Grant were eager for possession and intent on attacking. This potent cocktail led to a series of quick-fire passing movements which had Forfar struggling to get hold of the ball.
In the sixth minute, a clever interchange between strikers Littlejohn and Suzanne Mulvey sent Howat through, but her fierce shot was tipped on to the crossbar by keeper McNicoll.
There was no stopping the Hoops at this stage and they increased their lead two minutes later when Grant played the ball into Howat who calmly rolled the ball home.
Waves of Celtic attacks followed with keeper McNicoll making spectacular saves from a Grant shot and a Clark header. Full-back Ellis Dalgliesh was next to score, when, after good play on the left, she cut in and hit a low, curling shot which crept in at the post.
With the game virtually over after 21 minutes, Celtic eased up on the pace and played out the remainder of the first half patiently retaining possession and probing the Forfar defence without adding to their tally.
It took only five minutes of the second period for the Hoops to score their fourth. Fittingly it was Ross who scored, gathering a pass from Alex Middleton in the centre of the Forfar defence and firing a precise shot beyond the keeper.
This cushion allowed Celtic to make several substitutions, giving some fringe players valuable game-time.
Cara McBrearty, plagued by injury all season, came on after 55 minutes and made a significant contribution at left back, getting to the Forfar goal-line on several occasions and delivering dangerous crosses.
Grant completed the scoring for Celtic in 65 minutes with the best goal of the match, showing fine technique with a crisp, first-time finish from the edge of the penalty area.
Forfar had proved difficult opponents in the earlier games this season, but were swept aside by Celtic who played with confidence and skill, utilising the whole width of the pitch. Once again Natalie Ross was in inspiring form, aided and abetted by the energy and strength of Heather Richards.
The twin strike force of Mulvey and Littlejohn worked tirelessly throughout, but were unable to add to the score. The defence, seldom troubled by Forfar, nevertheless stood firm, giving young Gibson in goal a relaxing afternoon between the posts.
Celtic: Gibson, Clark, Middleton (McBrearty 55), Rafferty, Dalgliesh, Ross (Connolly 73), Richards, Howat, Grant, Mulvey (Paton 65), Littlejohn. Sub not used: Cunningham.
Reported by Celtic FC
Picture: Celtic FC