Celtic U18s booked their place in the Scottish Youth FA Cup after an emphatic victory against St Johnstone last night at McDiarmid Park.
Coming into this game, St Johnstone played every round of the cup. In the first round they played away to Partick Thistle and won 3-2 to give themselves a trip to the Highlands in the second round where they beat Inverness 2-1. This was followed by a 6-1 demolition at home in the third round against Falkirk to set up a youth edition of the Tayside Derby, in which they overcame Dundee United 2-1 at McDiarmid Park.
For the visitors, after a fourth-round exit in last year’s tournament to the hands of Hibs, the draw was more favourable this time around as. In the third round, they defeated Deveronvale FC 11-0 at home before a closed match saw them beat Dunfermline 6-1.
Celtic got us underway, and from the start, you could see the game that was going to be played with Celtic on the attack and St Johnstone sitting and countering effectively.
In the eighth minute Francis Turley whipped in a corner and Evan Easton had two good opportunities but Ben McCrystal cleared the ball for St Johnstone.
In the 14th minute there was a scare for the travellers. Mitchell Frame was pressured by Bailley Pert forcing him to pass it back to Marcus Gill in the sticks. The keeper’s clearance was poor though and the ball fell to Adam McMillan who failed to capitalise on the opportunity and could only put his shot into the hands of Gill.
Two minutes later and Celtic thought they had broken the deadlock, but it was ruled out. Benny-Jackson Luyeye scored comfortably but Kyle Ure’s initial pass was played too late and the midfielder had wandered offside.
But, at the 25-minute mark, Lewis Dobbie cut in from the left and fired his shot past Kyle Thompson to open the scoring for real this time.
Going into half-time at 1-0, St Johnstone still had a chance to get into the game but, almost instantly into the second half, Lewis Dobbie crossed the ball to Daniel Cummings who headed past the helpless keeper to double Celtic’s tally.
Eight minutes later, Cummings doubled his own tally. Rather than a header, he took a powerful shot from 25 yards out which rattled in off the crossbar. This spectacular strike took him to six goals in the Scottish Youth Cup for the season.
The game played out like the first half; the Saints did create opportunities to create opportunities but there were not any killer movements. This was capitalised when Caleb Goldie connected at the back post for Celtic’s fourth goal after a perfect cross from Jackson Luyeye.
The hoops picked one more goal up at the death via Alasdair Davidson and that was all she wrote – a 5-0 victory to book their ticket to Hampden where they will face either Rangers or Hamilton.
Commiserations to St Johnstone, despite the scoreline, they played a good game, won the ball back when needed and the defence stood strong, but they were just outclassed in the midst of a strong season.
Celtic played a great game today, strong all over the park. Benny-Jackson Luyeye played a great game on the right-hand side, an assist to go with his beautiful skills and footwork to navigate the final third.
For the Saints, the defence was really good and, the man between the sticks, Kyle Thompson played excellently, in the first half he kept the score down and gave his team a fighting chance going into the break.
St Johnstone Player of the Match: Kyle Thompson
The saints keeper pulled off some great saves for St Johnstone, initially keeping the score low in the first half for his team to give them a chance going into the second half.
Celtic Player of the Match: Daniel Cummings
The 16-year-old was clinical for Celtic as he scored twice in the second half, taking his tally to six in the Scottish Youth FA Cup.
St Johnstone Magic Moment: Double save
Kyle Thompson pulled off a great double save in the first half to keep his side in the game.
Celtic Magic Moment: 25-yard screamer
Daniel Cummings thunderous 25-yard strike in the second half to give his side a 3-0 lead was the pick of the bunch for the visitors
St Johnstone U18s:
1. Kyle Thompson
2. Filipe Franczak
3. Scott Bright (C)
4. Franio Franczak
5. Joe Ellison
6. Bayley Klimionek
7. Kody McKinstray
8. Ben McCrystal
9. Adam McMillan
10. Bailey Pert
11. Jackson Mylchreest
12. Callum Barlow
14. Lewis Bennett
15. Lucas McKimmie
16. Kyle Scott
17. Brodie Dair
18. Ben Denholm
1. Marcus Gill
2. Josh Dede
3. Mitchel Frame
4. Caleb Goldie
5. Evan Easton
Kyle Ure (C)
7. Benny-Jackson Luyeye
8. Francis Turley
9. Daniel Cummings
10. Aidan Borland
11. Lewis Dobbie
12. Colby Donovan
13. Jamie Meikle
14. Aidan Cannon
15. Alasdair Davidson
16. Jude Bonnar
17. Thomas Hatton
Referee: Alan Budd
Assistant referees: Liam Duncan, Nathan Crawford
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