Celtic overcame St Mirren, a waterlogged surface and some dubious refereeing to win 2-0 tonight and claim three important points at Lennoxtown.
PJ Crossan and Regan Hendry were the scorers in a match totally dominated by the home side.
It was a very youthful Celtic side that started the match with current u-17 players Daniel Church, Ewan Henderson and Kerr McInroy on the pitch at the final whistle.
The win wasn’t without cost however with Jack Aitchison taking a bad leg knock that required lengthy treatment before he hobbled to the treatment room.
The surface water made the conditions difficult but the match referee seemed happy to let a number of dangerous slide tackles go unpunished.
Aitchison slipped as he raced onto an early chance with Hendry serving notice on the 20 minute mark with a 30 yard effort that the Saints keeper didn’t get close to.
On the half hour mark Crossan was chopped down just inside the penalty box but the referee and his assistant preferred to look away.s.
It looked like the first half would end goalless but with the last move of the first 45 Crossan made the breakthrough, timing his run perfectly to meet a low driven cross from Mikey Johnston cutting in from the left.
Aitchison went off injured in the 55th minute with a reshuffle seeing the industrious McInroy introduced to the middle of the park.
Ten minutes later Celtic doubled their lead. Aidan McIlduff’s shot come cross was pushed away at the front post, it fell to Hendry who took one touch to control the ball then drilled a half volley into the net from 15 yards out.
Church made a big impression in the closing stages, linking up well with Johnston as he took the step up from u-17 football to Development League in his stride.
CELTIC Hazard; Ralston, Wardrop, Kelleher, McIlduff (Church 77); Johnston, McManus, Hendry, Miller; Aitchison (McInroy 55), Crossan (Henderson 73)