Celtic booked their place in the next round of the Scottish FA youth cup after dispatching Dundee United 3-0 at Tannadice. Joseph Thomson and Paul McMullen netted for the visitors, either side of an unfortunate Jamie Robson own goal, to round of a fine footballing display for the young Hoops.
Celtic dominated possession in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Their game plan from the outset was to start the build up play from the back and each player was getting their passes spot on. As a result the Dundee United players were run ragged right from the start attempting to chase and close down the opposition players.
On the 11th minute the pressure told as Celtic capitalized on their early dominance to make the breakthrough. A corner kick was sent into the penalty area and the Dundee United defence managed to get it clear. However, Celtic’s Thomson was lingering just outside the area and, as the ball fell his way, he struck a sweet and powerful volley straight into the back of the net.
Following the goal Celtic continued to control the game. The next clear chance for them came in the 16th minute. McMullen sent in a great cross from the right hand side of the pitch which was met by the head of Aidan Nesbitt. The number 7’s header was aimed low but the United goalkeeper, Ryan Booth, dived well to save and hold the effort.
At this point it became clear that Dundee United had to continue to pressure Celtic, in order to force them into a mistake, if they were going to have any joy at goal. In the 21st minute Dundee United’s Ola Adeyemo came close to doing just that. After some relentless pressing the United number 9 managed to collect the ball high up the pitch following a mistake. He drove at goal but was halted by a fine recovery tackle from the Celtic right back, Jack Breslin.
Celtic thought they had scored their second goal three minutes later, but the offside flag denied them. Liam Henderson crossed in from a wide free kick and, in a similar fashion to Celtic’s opener, Thomson volleyed at goal after the initial clearance. This time, however, Booth did well to parry the shot away and Stuart Findley fired the rebound into the net from close range. Unfortunately for him the linesman’s flag was raised straight afterwards to cut the celebrations short.
The visitors didn’t have to wait too long before they did make the score 2-0. Just two minutes after the disallowed goal a low and hard cross, delivered from the left by Henderson, was inadvertently diverted into his own net by Jamie Robson as he attempted to clear. The left back was under pressure to act with Thomson just behind him waiting to finish the inviting cross. It was a real unfortunate moment for the Dundee United team as their defence had begun to nullify a lot of the Celtic pressure at that point of the game.
Celtic kept up their good ball retention for the rest of the half but it only led to one more clear cut chance before the half time whistle. In the 43rd minute McMullen delivered a great cross from the right hand side that found its way to the feet of Nesbitt. The resulting shot was blocked by a combination of United goalkeeper and centre back and the danger was temporarily averted.