James Keatings made his first youth team appearance of the season as Celtic demolished Hamilton Accies 8-0 at the Barrafield.
With a four minute hat-trick and an assist for Patrik Twardzik before being substituted in the 62nd minute with the score at 6-0 Keatings is entitled to be pleased with his display.
Strikers being the greedy type that they are Keats could also claim an assist when his replacement Bahrudin Atajic scored within a minute of coming onto the park.
“James did very well for us last season and is deservedly training with the reserve and first team squad at Lennoxtown,” Frail said.
“He’s came down to the 19s today, worked really hard and took his chances well. Last season he was played more as a wide player but he showed his eye for goal today.
“He took his goals well and coming off the pitch he said that he felt he could have scored more.
“Sometimes players suffer for being versatile but James can play in several positions and that’s what you are looking for.”
Celtic were three up at half-time with no real signs of the goal feast that was to follow. Keatings panicked the Hamilton left-back into a mistake before opening the scoring then completed a good passing movement by setting up Patrik Twardzik for the second from 20 yards out with seven minutes left in the first half.
Three minutes from the break he probably got an idea that it was going to be his day when the Hamilton ‘keeper completely misjudged a hopeful punt from Jordan Lowdon leaving Keatings with the task of running the ball into the net.
“During the first half we never played as well as we have in pre-season but it was still pleasing to go in three up,” Frail added. “We started the second half the way that we wanted to and the fourth goal killed the match.”
Four minutes into the second half Celtic were awarded a penalty when Bagshaw was sent tumbling in the box.
Callum McGregor looked hopefully at Keatings to get the spot kick but never stood a chance and although the penalty had to be re-taken he never made any mistake second time around.
A stopwatch would really have been required at this point with Keats helping himself to another couple of goals which I timed as the 52nd and 53rd minutes.
Collecting a pass from Twardzik on the left Keats shot instinctively into the net from the edge of the box then switching to the other side, racing onto a pass from McGregor, checking onto his left foot and curling a shot around the Hamilton keeper into the corner of the net.
Lowdon and Callum Bagshaw anchored the midfield but were also keen to move forward when ever the opportunity appeared.
Keatings was joined in attack at various times by Twardzik and Callum McGregor with Michael Ordish also pushing forward from the right wing.
“We want to see fluidity and flexibility from the forward type players,” Frail explained. “To a degree the players have a licence to do their own thing, they know the positions on the pitch and when someone comes out of position someone else tries to fill it.
“We work on this framework every day in training, it’s all about passing and moving. We show them how certain top teams operate and we’re trying to adopt that into our game.
“It would be good to stand at the side and not coach, you want players to see things for themselves. That’s happening and we want to transfer that from training into matches.
“The coaching staff set the standards, the players have to strive for it and we’ll have them in for training again tomorrow.
“You need to enjoy it when you win, they’ve worked hard but it’s just the first game of a long season but very pleasing.”
Keatings was replaced by Atajic who wasted no time in his comeback from injury with a well worked goal within a minute of coming on, shooting home from twenty yards out.
With sixteen minutes left to play substitute Curtis Jones netted with a tap in from a corner, five minutes from the final whistle a deer appeared on the park from nowhere and ran into the fence behind the Hamilton goal, as someone said the deer was the only thing not to find the Hamilton net!
TEAM: Robbie Thomson; Stephen O’Donnell, Lewis Toshney, Matty Hughes, Kieron Brennan; Michael Ordish, Callum Bagshaw, Jordan Lowdon, Callum McGregor; Patrik Twardzik, James Keatings
SUBS Bahrudin Atajic (Keatings 62), Cutis Jones (O’Donnell 62), Islam Feruz (Twardzik), Paul George, Liam Gormley, James Wightman, Joe Chalmers