Gretna 08 tested the patience of the Celtic B side as they held out for 74 minutes before Ben Wylie made the breakthrough.
The visitors, with 11 defeats in their previous 15 matches, showed no attacking intentions with two banks of five players in front of their keeper for most of the match.
It was an afternoon of hard labour for Tommy McIntyre’s side but in the end they got their reward to break a run of two 1-0 home defeats.
Gretna parked the bus in spectacular style, often with five or six men strung along the 18 yard line with Celtic toiling to create any worthwhile chances.
Wylie tried a couple of shots from outside the penalty box, the visitors conceded corners happily but there was little threat to the Gretna keeper.
In the 36th minute Owen Moffat had a half chance from 12 yards out but his first time shot was blocked by the keeper in a move that summed up a first half of frustrations for McIntyre’s side.
Half time 0 0 Gretna defending in depth, Celtic restricted to long range efforts. pic.twitter.com/X4pLO99Yrh
— Joe McHugh (@videocelts) October 9, 2021
Tsoanelo Letsosa hit the bar in the 56th minute from a Moffat cut-back as the second half followed on from the pattern of the first 45 minutes.
Substitute Frankie Deane started the move that broke the deadlock, winning the ball 35 yards from goal, feeding it to Letsosa who laid it into the path of Wylie whose 20 yard effort hit the underside of the bar then crossed the line.
Celtic were unable to find a second goal but after complete domination they’ll be grateful that Wylie’s shot crossed the line- and hopeful that future opponents show some intent to attack.
CELTIC: Mullen; Jackson (Deane 60), Robertson, Easton, Paterson; Murphy, Letosa; Davidson, Wylie, Summers (Anderson 64); Moffat
SUBS: Morrison, Quinn, MacKenzie