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Celtic are the 2015 Little Big Shot Youth Cup champions after an emphatic 5-2 victory against rivals Rangers. Sam Wardrop opened the scoring before an unfortunate own goal from Calum Waters leveled the scores. Further goals from Aidan Nesbitt and Luke Donnelly saw Celtic go in at half time 3-1 up. In the second half Nesbitt added two more goals, one from the penalty spot, to complete his hat-trick and see Celtic reach a dominant 5-1 score line. Dylan Dykes pulled a goal back for Rangers one minute before the final whistle but it was too little too late.
Celtic began the half stronger, dominating possession of the ball. In the third minute they generated their first chance of the game when the ball fell to the feet of Connor McManus. The Celtic captain’s shot, however, was blocked by Rangers’ centre half Luka Garsparotto.
In the seventh minute Rangers had their first opportunity at goal. Darren Ramsay picked up possession of the ball 25 yards out and bulleted an effort at the target. The ball flew just over the bar, much to the relief of Celtic ‘keeper Jordan Hart.
Rangers started to turn the tables, in terms of control of the game, as they began to create more chances for themselves. In the 12th minute of the match a Ramsay corner landed onto the head of Garsparotto. The Rangers number five managed to get his header on target but it was blocked by the Celtic bodies that had rushed to meet him.
Shortly after Celtic’s Hart had a heart stopping moment (no pun intended) as he was nearly dispossessed by Ramsay. With the number ten bearing down on him he managed to get the ball away from any imminent danger.
As the game neared the quarter of an hour mark Garsparotto came close again via a Ramsay corner kick. This time the kick was delivered to the head of Craig Halkett before finding its way to Garsparotto. The centre back’s effort, however, was well blocked by Connor McManus.
With 17 minutes on the clock Rangers came agonizingly close to opening the scoring. Once again it was a Ramsay corner that proved to be the catalyst as the ball landed on the head of Kevin Mbabu. The midfielder’s header flew inches over the crossbar, a chance that Rangers would come to regret not taking.
Just three minutes later Celtic went 1-0 up. Kieran Tierney delivered a corner into the Rangers penalty area and, following a bit of pinball, the ball was prodded home on the goal line by Sam Wardrop.
Within a minute Rangers were back on level terms following a bizarre own goal. Calum Waters looked to head the ball back to his goalkeeper to calm the impending Rangers pressure. However, the Celtic left back misjudged the position of Hart and the header bounced past the goalkeeper and into the net.
Following this set back Celtic reassumed control of the game and regained the lead on the 26th minute. What a goal it was too. Aidan Nesbitt picked up the ball out on the right flank and expertly evaded three Rangers challenges as he drove towards goal. As he got closer to the target he unleashed a fierce strike straight into the bottom left hand corner past Liam Kelly. A fantastic way to go 2-1 up.
In the 31st minute Rangers came close to securing an equaliser. Ryan Sinnamon delivered a super cross from the right wing, which found Jamie Mills inside the Celtic penalty area. The Rangers number three attempted to volley at goal but his effort went wide of the post.
A minute later Celtic were enjoying a two goal advantage. Nesbitt turned from goal scorer to provider as he fired in a great cross, from the right, directed towards Luke Donnelly in the Rangers box. The Celtic number 9 took one touch to control and then another to take the ball away from the rangers defence in an excellent show of skill. He then rounded that all off in the perfect manner, by slotting the ball into the back of the net through the keeper’s legs.
Four minutes prior to half time a Celtic mistake very nearly led to a goal for Rangers. Eoghan O’Connell misplaced a pass and it was intercepted by Ramsay about 25 yards from goal. He opted to shoot straight away but it was comfortably claimed by Hart. Soon afterwards the half time whistle went and Rangers were left having to come up with a way to get back into this cup final.