FC Kilmarnock v Celtic Academy

Kilmarnock Ladies 2

Celtic Academy 4

Cairney (11’, 25’, 72’), Crilly ( 33’)

Report: Scott Lewis

Celtic Academy showed no sign of rust from their mid-season break with an impressive win over quality opposition.

In a game of 3 x 30 minutes, Celtic arrived in Ayrshire with a number of under 19’ players amongst their ranks.

Both sides eased their way into the game, getting a feel for each other’s style of play. Kilmarnock tried their luck a couple of times from distance in the opening few minutes but neither effort posed any real threat to Kerr’s goal.

Celtic implemented their high press extremely effectively in the 11th minute that lead to Cairney catching the Kilmarnock defender in possession and allowing herself to burst clear into the box. She calmly slotted the ball into the far-right corner, with the hand of the keeper being unable to prevent the ball finding the back of the net.

Only minutes later the attacker once again found herself driving through at goal due to her sides intense press winning the ball. She was pressed by a covering defender and this time she opted to cut centrally onto her right foot, on the edge of the box, and unleash a shot that forced a good save from the keeper but couldn’t double her sides advantage.

Kilmarnock looked the most dangerous from set pieces with their number 12 continuously providing good deliveries into dangerous areas but the away side were doing well to clear any threat.

Celtic were continuing to play fast paced football and their high press was often forcing the ball to be played back to the Kilmarnock keeper. 5 minutes before the end of the first period, this pressure paid off, as Crilly used her incredible pace to race onto a ball near the right corner flag before floating a brilliant delivery over the keeper and finding Cairney at the back post, who tapped in for her second of the match.

Celtic went very close on a couple of occasions to going into the first break even further ahead, as Nagle narrowly missed Henderson’s delivery from a corner from 6 yards out and Bell latched onto a mistake from the Kilmarnock defender that left her 1 on 1 with the keeper which seen her effort smash off the post and clear of danger.

Kilmarnock had their own chance to get one back just before the break, when a massive goal kick caught out the Celtic defence and left the home side breaking 3 v 2. Nagle did very well to recover and ensure that her side ensured their two-goal advantage at the end of the first 30.

Celtic started quickly in the second period and stunned their SWPL2 opposition 3 minutes in when McFarlane brought the ball up the pitch from a Kilmarnock corner and sent free Crilly who burst away and saw the keeper off her line so audaciously chipped the ball over her into the back of the net with an incredible effort from the corner of the box.

This seemed to spark something in the home side however and it did not take them long to pull one back. Just two minutes later, their number 7 drove into the right-hand side of the box, running up the goal line and cutting back to 47 who tapped in from 6 yards out. The feeling was very much game on.

Only two minutes later, number 7 for Kilmarnock once again burst into the box, looking extremely threatening, this time opting to shoot but could only find the side netting of Kerr’s near post.

Celtic appeared to tire a little at this stage with their press being less intense and their overall game slowing down a notch. Kilmarnock had a couple of opportunities in the remaining minutes of the period to get yet another goal back. Kilmarnock’s 10 initially found herself in space in the box, she fizzed one towards goal but it was straight at Kerr who did well to hold on to the ball.

The number 9 for Kilmarnock then burst into the box moments later and produced a wonderful attempt that looked destined to nestle in the top corner, but Kerr matched it with an equally outstanding acrobatic save.

After looking much improved in the second period, it was Kilmarnock who had the first early opportunity in the final period as Gibney was closed down by Kilmarnock’s number 10, who managed to block the keepers kick but she did well to recover and jump on top of the loose ball. It was in fact Celtic who got the next goal of the game, with Cairney getting a well deserved hat trick with a brilliant individual effort, dribbling past a number of Kilmarnock players on her way into the box before slotting the ball into the far bottom corner.

Kilmarnock’s dangerous set pieces paid off with 10 minutes to go, as a free kick from the corner of the box dropped on the penalty spot and the host’s 47 was first to it to slot in for both her and her team’s second of the match.

The game finished 4-2 to the Ghirls who looked well prepared for the title challenge ahead in the second half of their season.

Manager Michael Tuohy after the game said:

“We’re really pleased with where the girls are at this stage of the ‘mid-season pre-season’. With a balance of Academy and 19’s players today, the energy and quality that they showed against a strong Kilmarnock side who are doing well in SWPL2 was really pleasing. For us the mid-season games are an opportunity to challenge the players before the league games begin again and the players will get that again this week in training and next week against another SWPL2 team in EUHV.”

1st 3rd XI: Kerr, Toolan, Watson, Nagle, Simpson, Henderson, Menzies, Crilly, Wands, Cairney, Bell

2nd 3rd XI: Kerr, Toolan, Watson, Bryden, Howard, Henderson, McIndoe, McFarlane, Wands, Cleminson, Crilly

3rd 3rd XI: Gibney, Milligan, Brown, Nagle, Simpson, Henderson, Menzies, Young, Cleminson, Cairney, Bell