Appearances & Goals To Date
|Youngest Player:||Richard Hastings (28 years 315 days)
|Oldest Player:||Dennis Wyness (2007 years 234 days)|
|Average Player Age:||28 years 315 days|
|Domestic Players:||10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Richard Hastings (28 years 315 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Rory McAllister (2007 years 234 days)|
|Average Player Age:||31 years 179 days|
|Domestic Players:||17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
A narrow defeat after a spirited Caley Thistle performance in front of a new club record crowd. An upset always looked unlikely but Celtic had to work hard for the three points.
Craig Dargo was missing due to a virus and Ross Tokely was suspended. Dennis Wyness came back into the starting eleven and Stuart McCaffrey took Tokely's place at right back.
It was a night of nostalgia as the life of Jimmy Johnstone was celebrated. The main stand entrance was awash with scarves, shirts and messages of condolence and his widow Agnes carried the newly-won CIS Cup onto the field before the game. The remaining Lisbon Lions joined her, the players and the crowd in a minute's applause in memory of the 'Greatest Ever' Celtic Player.
Celtic started the game at high speed and it took two superb saves in quick succession by Mark Brown to avoid Caley Thistle going behind. In just 15 seconds Shunsuke Nakamura was through but Brown dived to save then hold his low shot. Maciej Zurawski, the current holder of Jimmy Johnstone's number seven shirt, was set up by John Hartson in three minutes but again Brown made a brilliant save from close range.
Two minutes later a bouncing ball from the right reached Graham Bayne in the Celtic box and he tried to chip it over Artur Boruc, it beat the keeper but cleared the bar. A Neil Lennon chip from 20 yards in 14 minutes went wide then in 21 minutes Brown made another excellent save from Nakamura.
Celtic took the lead in 34 minutes when Stephen McManus rose high to head a Shaun Maloney corner goalwards, the ball soared high over Brown then dipped before crossing the line via the bar.
Half Time 1-0
Hartson could have doubled the lead just after the break but he mishit a few yards out. Boruc saved from Bayne in 51 minutes then a poor Bobo Balde pass back caused some confusion. Borucâ€™s kick-out went high in the air and it broke to Ian Black 20 yards out, but he shot over.
The good ICT spell continued as Boruc had to dive to hold a 25 yard shot from Dennis Wyness. Hartson went down in the Caley Thistle box on the hour mark but his penalty claim was rejected.
Bayne hit wide in 75 minutes before Celtic's lead was increased three minutes later. Darren Dods brought Maloney down 19 yards out and Maloney hit the free kick over the wall and into the top left corner; a repeat of his goal in the CIS Cup final three days earlier.
Dion Dublin nearly touched in a third with two minutes left but a late surge by Caley Thistle was rewarded with a consolation goal. Barry Wilson and Rory McAllister combined to set up Richie Hart 25 yards out. Hart's shot should have been covered by Boruc but he let it squirm under his body to make the final score 2-1.
Full Time 2-1
Aberdeen moved up to sixth place last Saturday when ICT were idle and the Celtic result ensured that they were not dislodged.
Match report written by Ian Broadfoot