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Celtic lose out to Ajax in the final of the Hong Kong Shield

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Celtic lost 2-0 to Ajax in the final of the Hong Kong Sevens earlier today.

The main tournament, titled the HKFC IP Global International Soccer Sevens, was won by Aston Villa who beat Rangers in the final.

After finishing runners up to Birmingham City in Pool D Celtic faced Rangers in today’s third quarter-final but lost 2-0 with Andrew Shinnie scoring both goals.

That resulted in Celtic dropping into the Shield Event ( sorta Europa League style) where they defeated Tai Po 4-0 in the semi final with goals from Sean Fitzharris, Richie Towell, Deccy Gallagher and Callum McGregor scoring.

Ajax overcame Birmingham in the other semi and won the Shield thanks to goals from Nathaniel Will and Vlatko Lazic.

Hoops coach Danny McGrain said: “It’s been a great day for this young team because they can only learn from the experiences and they will be hoping to come back next year.

“Ajax are an older team, they play in an U21 division and we’ve got
18-year-olds here, three years is a huge difference in terms of football
experience.

“This is the start of the new breed coming through at the club and hopefully three or four of these boys will progress to the first team.”

Villa seem to be specialists in this event with today’s win their fifth success in the tournament.

First team squad men Nathan Delfouneso and Marc Albrighton were included in the Villa squad.

Rangers had reached the final without losing a goal in five matches but quickly found themselves three down at half time.

Another double from Shinnie wasn’t enough to prevent Villa from winning the trophy with their coach Bryan Jones pleased by his side’s success.

He said: “We had watched Rangers play and we knew they were very strong in midfield, Shinnie is an excellent player, but we felt we could get at them down the wings and I think it paid off.

“Marc and Nathan have also been to the Soccer Sevens before and that counts because seven-a-side is completely different. You can play in the Premiership and still struggle in this form of football.

“They know how to play it and I think their experience told in the end. We think they’ve both got a great future in the game.”

I’d like to thank Niall Donnelly of the organisers for keeping me up to date throughout the event, full details of the competition can be found here

Celtic results:

2-0 v Hong Kong FC, Towell (pen) and Keatings

0-0 v Happy Valley

1-1 v Birmingham City, Towell

0-2 v Rangers

4-0 Tai Po, Fitzharris, Towell, Gallagher, McGregor

0-2 Ajax

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