By Graham Fleming at Forthbank Stadium
Celtic Colts ran out 5-1 winners against the University of Stirling on Wednesday – the students’ second league defeat on the bounce.
Substitute Adam Brooks opened the scoring for The Hoops just after half-time, following a cagey first 45. Rocco Vata scored a second before Brooks and Ben Wylie also added to the scoreline.
Robbie McGale pulled one back for the home side late on, but Wylie added a fifth for the visitors in injury time.
University head coach Chris Geddes said: “It’s never nice to lose five goals, but we have to respect the quality of the opposition.
“We didn’t think that we played badly. At nil nil Celtic should have had a man sent off – the big centre back pulled Jamie Penker by the neck, throttled him, and threw him to the ground. I think everyone saw it was a red card. I’m not going to say the ref bottled it – but it should have been red. It might’ve been a different game then.
“In the second half, tired legs were playing a part and we were playing a team who is fitter than us, and they move the ball well so it was always going to be difficult in the second half.”
The first half was a muted affair as Celtic tried to move the ball on the pristine Forthbank pitch – but the effective shape of the students never allowed their opponents to get into a rhythm, which meant there were few chances in the initial period.
Wylie was threaded through with a great pass, but he could not beat goalkeeper Ben Fry.
The game came to life in the second period. Five minutes after play re-started, Penker was holding up the ball when Bosun Lawal threw him to the ground, however the referee only dished out a yellow card, despite protests from the dugout.
Celtic scored shortly afterwards when Adam Brooks went on a mazy run, following a counter on the left, and slid into the box where he unleashed a shot under Fry to open the scoring.
Celtic added a second in the 57th minute when Vata drilled a low shot across the goal, before Brooks scored his second of the match.
Owen Moffat also produced a wonder strike five minutes from time, as he placed a lofted effort over the keeper from 40 yards on the left.
University of Stirling pulled one back in the closing stages when McGale capitalised on a slack back pass and lobbed the goalkeeper to finish. However, the celebrations were short lived, as Celtic restored their four goal advantage in injury time through Wylie.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Doan, Berry, Lavery, Davidson (McGale), de Zoeten, Jarvis, Penker (Thompson), McGill (Kennedy), Downie.
Celtic Colts: Oluyayemi, Jackson, Lawal, Hjelde, Paterson, Otoo, Murphy, Carse, Wylie, Moffat, Vata.