Appearances & Goals To Date
|Youngest Player:||Dougie Imrie (24 years 214 days)
|Oldest Player:||Don Cowie (2009 years 211 days)|
|Average Player Age:||28 years 46 days|
|Domestic Players:||10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Iain Vigurs (19 years 300 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Dale Gillespie (2009 years 211 days)|
|Average Player Age:||25 years 234 days|
|Domestic Players:||17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
|Ian Black played his 100th major competitive game for the Club.|
|Michael Fraser played his 50th major competitive game for the Club.|
Caley Thistle could not end their winless streak that now stretches to seven games, but on the plus side, this was not a capitulation in the same manner as the last two games.
Unlike previous games where certain players appeared to just be going through the motions, the Caley Jags fought hard to get back into this game and almost succeeded.
After holding out for most of the first half, the Caley Jags went in at the break down by a goal after Scott McDonald scored on the stroke of half-time. On the hour mark, Samaras extended the Celtic lead but Caley Thistle fought back with a goal from Marius Niculae with 20 minutes to go. Despite several good chances, the equaliser wouldn't come but it was a far better performance than recent games.
Ian Black made his 100th appearance for Caley Thistle in this game but Craig Brewster did have an enforced change with Graham Bayne dropping out through injury and he was replaced by Markus Paatelainen. Former Caley Thistle and Dundee United midfielder Barry Robson was on the bench for Celtic.
Caley Thistle started with a 4-5-1 formation that has become familiar throughout parts of this season and were forced to soak up enormous amounts of pressure in the first half as Mike Fraser performed heroics in the ICT box.
Donati was the first with a shot from the edge of the box in 8 minutes that Fraser held well, then Samaras twice went close either side of the 20 minute mark with a 15 then a 20 yard drive and in 28 minutes McGeady came close with an effort that Fraser caught at the second attempt with McDonald nearby. A minute later and it was Nakamura who shot wide of the post.
All this before Caley Thistle had even had a sniff of a chance. However, as the half wore on, Caley Thistle did manage to get a little further forward. In 31 minutes Niculae made a break, found Paatelainen who in turn found Imrie but the recent signing could only put it wide. Imrie had another chance just before the break when an Ian Black free kick was headed back across the box but his volley went over the bar.
Right on the stroke of half-time Celtic took the lead. Hinkel was fouled on the right by Paatelainen and from the resultant free-kick, Nakamura fired in a dangerous ball. His kick was met by the head of McDonald on the six yard line and Fraser had no chance at stopping him scoring his 25th goal of the season.
Half Time: 1-0
Into the second half and Celtic went looking for the goal that would kill the game off. The first effort came in 51 minutes when Samaras hit the post but it was the same player who would extend the lead on the hour mark courtesy of some good work by Aiden McGeady. He beat a couple of players on the left then curled a cross into the box. Samaras was there to bullet the header past Fraser. 2-0
Caley Thistle got back into the game in the 70th minute through Marius Niculae with an assist from the Celtic defence. Scott Brown made a poor pass across his box that was pounced on by Niculae and he curled an excellent effort past Boruc. 2-1
From then on in, Caley Thistle tried hard to get an equaliser but it just wouldn't come. In 87 minutes Wyness came agonisingly close when his curling effort just went past the post and despite a late flurry of corners and free-kicks for ICT the ball didn't find its way into the net.
Full Time: 2-1
A disappointing defeat but a lot of heart to be taken from this match as the Caley Jags once again looked like a team who were giving 100%. Lets hope that continues.
Match report written by CaleyD