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Celtic finish UEFA Youth League campaign in style

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Celtic ran out 3-1 winners over Belgian club Anderlecht in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday afternoon, leapfrogging them in the group to finish in third place.

Anderlecht got the game underway in Dumbarton but it was Celtic who enjoyed the better start, often finding joy down the left wing. Jack Aitchison had the first chance of the game for the Hoops around seven minutes into the first half but hit his side-footed effort wide of the post.

The Bhoys began to look more confident on the ball, enjoying lots of possession in the Anderlecht half and took the lead after 22 minutes following a set piece.

Michael Johnston won a corner for Celtic but when the ball arrived at the feet of Euan Henderson, the midfielder’s shot was blocked. Jack Aitchison was the fastest to react and fired the ball in to give the Hoops the lead.

Then, just minutes later, Celtic grabbed their second that put them in control of the match. Aitchison did well to hold up the ball before feeding Kerr McInroy, who calmly placed the ball beyond Oliver Vliegen in the Anderlecht goal.

Celtic began to control the game but still had to be wary of their Belgian opponents. Nelson Azevedo went close when he headed over for the visitors and Milan Corryn’s well-struck volley went wide, reminding Celtic of the dangers they still faced.

The home side kept pushing for a third goal that would kill the game, looking particularly threatening whenever Johnston was on the ball. The right-winger tormented the Anderlecht defence time and again and began to impose his authority on the game towards the end of the first half.

Celtic started the second half he way the finished the first, charging up the pitch in search of a killer third goal. Johnston came close after beating two defenders but was blocked before he could get his shot away.

Anderlecht then went down to ten men when Alexis Saelemaekers was shown a straight red for is challenge on Miller. Five minutes later it got even worse for the Belgians when Johnston got on the scoresheet.

The winger showed nimble footwork to dribble past two Anderlecht defenders before coolly slotting it into the back of the net.

Celtic looked happy to see the game out at this point and retained possession, but Anderlecht still created the odd chance. Francis Amuzu tested Celtic keeper Ryan Mullin with a shot from 20 yards but the young stopper was equal to it.

Corryn pulled one back for the visitors with around 20 minutes left to play with a low shot from just inside the box, but any hopes of a dramatic revival were extinguished just a minute later when Reian Meddour picked up his second yellow card, reducing Anderlecht to nine men.

Celtic cruised to victory from that moment onwards and could have added to their tally, with Johnson coming particularly close for the Bhoys with just a few minutes remaining.

The referee then called time on an entertaining match that resulted in Celtic overtaking Anderlecht in UEFA Youth League Group B, finishing the campaign with six points.

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