Celtic survived a second half onslaught from Hamilton Accies to book a place in the semi-final draw for the SFA Youth Cup thanks to a narrow 2-1 win at Cappielow.
Two early goals from Luke Donnelly proved to be priceless as Accies pushed for an equaliser after Eamonn Brophy pulled a goal back 11 minutes from half time.
It was a relatively young Celtic side, with the bulk of the players eligible to play at u-18 level, that was given the toughest of tests by their impressive opponents.
Having already beaten Motherwell and Dundee United the young hoops are 90 minutes away from a final appearance in the competition that they won in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
The hoops got off to the perfect start when Donnelly scoring twice in the first 10 minutes. After 6 minutes Jamie McCart held his head in his hands after sending a close range shot against the bar but Donnelly was on hand to tuck away the rebound. Three minutes later Kieran Tierney was sent tumbling in the penalty box with the striker on loan at East Stirling confidently netting from 12 yards range.
After that powering start to the match Celtic seemed to drop down a gear inviting Hamilton into the match with coach Stevie Frail urging his players to tighten up and push forward.
Without really threatening the Celtic goal Hamilton pulled a goal back in the 34th minute when the unmarked Eamon Brophy directed a header beyond Jordan Hart from eight yards out.
Brophy’s goal really brought the tie to life, installing belief in the Accies side and putting doubt into the play of the Celtic players.
The second half was almost entirely played out in the Celtic half with Brophy and former Celt Stevie Boyd pushing for an equaliser. Fortunately Hart was in outstanding form with a couple of great saves and exuding confidence in everything he did.
Seven minutes into the second half former Boyd tested Hart with a low 20 yard shot with both side’s desperate to get the next goal which would shape the tie
Ten minutes later Hamilton went even closer to equalising when Brophy struck the junction of the post and crossbar after a quick turn in the box.
Hart pulled off his best save of the night in the 67th minute virtually clawing away a low free kick from Boyd that almost slipped inside the post after the Accies striker had shaped up to cross the ball into the penalty box.
There were a few anxious moments around the Celtic goal but the hoops held on to book their place in the semi-final draw.
CELTIC: Hart; Wardrop, Kelleher, McCart, Waters; Hill, McManus (McIlduff 65); Miller, Thomson, Tierney (Nesbitt 46), Donnelly.
SUBS: McCabe, McKenna, Archibald
HAMILTON: Marshall Reilly McMann El Zubaidi Watson (c) Smith Docherty Boyd Brophy Tierney Armstrong
SUBS: Simpson Cunningham A Hughes C Granger R Connelly