'Well Down by Two at Parkhead

Last updated : 08 August 2004 By Firparkcorner

Clarkson with a half chance in the second half

As it happens, we managed to make a reasonably positive start to the match but we did not threaten early on. However, the one thing that we could not afford to do was to lose an early goal and typically that was what we did. It looked as though we had scrambled the ball clear but it broke to Jackie McNamara on the edge of the box and he gave Marshall no chance with a tremendous shot into the far corner.

It would have been easy for us to collapse but a combination of determined defending and Celtic not over-exerting themselves meant that we were still looking relatively comfortable. John Hartson missed a sitter, scooping the ball over from six yards but clear chances for the hosts were rare despite their dominance in terms of possession.

Towards the end of the half we came back into things and created some half chances. Burns had a shot easily saved and he also headed over after magnificent work from Patterson to get a cross in from the left. Burns also could have done better on a breakaway but he lacked the pace to get clear of the defence and his attempted pass to Clarkson was blocked.

Terry Butcher commented that the start of the second half was our best spell of the game but again we could not create good opportunities. A cross ball was blasted wide by Varga with Clarkson in prime position to slot home but the game was soon killed off by a goal at the other end. Celtic’s first real attack of the half saw a cross from our left finished off at the near post by Sutton. This effectively ended the game as a contest but Sutton missed a one on one with Marshall when the floodgates were threatening to burst. But the defence held firm and the introduction of McDonald and Foran for Clarkson and Burns up front gave Celtic some problems. Foran held the ball up well but it was Skippy who looked lively with his quick feet and he could only watch in anguish as Leitch bundled the ball wide after his good work on the wing.

So, we ended up with the expected defeat but there was no disgrace in the performance and as Terry said, better teams than us will leave Celtic Park with worse defeats than we did. If we can continue to work hard against poorer opposition then hopefully the chances and goals will come. The season starts in earnest at home to Hibs next week!