SPL v Celtic
CELTIC 2 DUNFERMLINE 1 23/11/11
Attendance: ?, Kick Off: 7.45pm
Referee: Bobby Madden
Dunfermline returned to Celtic Park for the first time since March 2007. Jim McIntyre`s team was far from full strength; Gary Mason returned after suspension but given there were six players still out injured there was a welcome return for Andy Dowie. Captain Austin McCann missed out with a hamstring injury, Paddy Boyle dropped to the bench and upfront Andy Barrowman was preferred to Liam Buchanan. David Graham was making his 100th appearance for the Pars,
Neil Lennon brought in Sung-Yong Ki and Kris Commons. Badr El Kaddouri and Georgios Samaras made way for them. Celtic kicked off attacking the goal at the east end and spent the opening minutes in the Pars half. First Paul Gallacher had to take was an easy one from Anthony Stokes on four minutes.
The first corner of the game in fifth minute came Dunfermline`s way after Willis had fed Thomson on the top of the box but that came to nothing and with Willis having taken it on the left he was out of position when his pass was intercepted by Gary HOOPER. The Hoops striker broke fast to roll the ball in past Galacher at the left goalpost.
The Pars came forward as Celtic sat back a bit but Alex Keddie was caught in possession on halfway and they got punished for having too many men forward. Celtic broke with incredible pace with Stokes getting in a shot from the left side of the box. Gallacher did well to parry the shot but there was a scramble then for the ball. Hooper teed it back for James FORREST to smash the ball into the net from 8 yards. 2-0.
Five minutes later Willis drilled a free kick narrowly outside the right post from a 25 yard free kick. Barrowman kept play in front of Forster but Daniel Majstorovic did enough to prevent Andy Kirk connecting with the pass. Back at the other end Biram Kayal powered a shot on target that Gallacher kept out with his outstretched left foot.
Commons fired another long distance attempt over Gallacher`s crossbar and then on 26 minutes Sung-Yong Ki picked up the ball in midfield, played it off Stokes and then met the return in the box to head on target but Gallacher held. Next minute Ki got to the right byeline but his cut back escaped through the box to the far side where Stokes rocketed in a shot that Thomson blocked.
In 31 minute Celtic looked certain to get their third but Gallacher and Keddie did remarkable well to keep out Stokes` effort and prevent Commons with a follow up. Immediately Stokes had another chance and yet again unbelievably could not accept a tap in at the far post.
Dunfermline looked better when going forward and on 35 minutes Barrowman and Kirk pressed the Celtic defence to give Burns possession on the edge of the box but the former Queens player couldn`t get a shot in. Celtic continued to threaten with both Forrest and Commons firing inches wide of the right goalpost.
Hooper was next to thump a low shot at goal but that one slipped wide left. Mistakes had cost the Pars two goals but in all earnesty had Celtic taken all the chances that had come their way, their lead could have been much much more.
Half Time: Celtic 2 Dunfermline 0
Celtic brought on Paddy McCourt in place of Kris Commons for the second half and the home side picked up from where they finished pegging Dunfermline back and the Fifers had to absorb pressure by the bucket load. Burns brought down Forrest on the 18 yard line and Referee Bobby Madden pointed to the penalty spot. Ki and Stokes both seemed to want the 56th minute spot kick but Ki held out before driving his shot wide of the left post.
On the hour Jim McIntyre made a double substitution with Paul Willis and Ryan Thomson being taken off and Joe Cardle and Paddy Boyle coming on. Celtic kept coming though with Forrest picking out Ki who threaded a great ball into the path of Stokes and he had Celtic fans on their feet but his shot rebounded out off the left post.
Liam Buchanan came on for Andy Kirk at a 65th minute free kick given when Ledley downed Graham. When that was sent in by Cardle, Burns` glancing header sent the ball wide left. The substitutions did take Dunfermline further up the park and Barrowman dispossessed Kayal to allow Buchanan and Cardle to push up. Cardle had a low 71st minute shot turned around his right hand post to concede a corner as the Celtic Park crowd grew increasingly frustrated by their side`s loss of composure.
In 73 minutes a long ball through almost let in Buchanan and Celtic keeper Forster was really lucky to tip the striker`s net bound shot away. A Graham burst took the ball down the right from where he delivered a ball that Barrowman headed down for Buchanan but that was the wrong option as it was mopped up by the central defence.
With ten minutes left Majstorovic`s challenge on Buchanan won the Pars another free kick but Matthews headed out Cardle`s cross. Georgios Samaras was introduced in place of Stokes but it was Cardle who threatened with numerous twists and turns until Wanyama eventually cleared. Celtic forced a corner but Buchanan intercepted and Burns burst up the left wing. The ball was delivered into the box by Boyle and Mason had tough luck at the near post.but with three minutes remaining the Fifers scored. Graham pushed the ball right for BARROWMAN on the right side of the Celtic box and from 16 yards the Pars striker picked his spot at the left post and it was 2-1.
The goal gave the visitors the chance to push for an equaliser amid they worried the Celtic faithful as they went for it. The Celtic goalkeeper was yellow carded for timewasting but in the end his side saw it out to take the three points.
The second half performance was much better by Dunfermline. Apart from the penalty miss and Stokes shot off the post there was little to concern Paul Gallacher. The team will certainly take confidence from the form that they eventually found.
CELTIC: Fraser Forster;Adam Matthews, Daniel Majstorovic,Biram Kayal, Joe Ledley,Victor Wanyama, James Forrest, Kris Commons (Paddy McCourt HT), Sung-Yong Ki, Gary Hooper, Anthony Stokes (Georgios Samaras 81)
SUBS NOT USED: Bdr El Kaddouri, Dylan McGeouch, Andre Blackman, Marcus Fraser, Lukasz Zaluska
SCORER: Hooper (6), Forrest (13)
YELOW CARD: Forster (93)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Andy Dowie, John Potter, Alex Keddie; Paul Willis (Joe Cardle 60), Ryan Thomson (Paddy Boyle 60), Gary Mason (c), Paul Burns, David Graham; Andy Kirk (Liam Buchanan 65), Andy Barrowman,
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), Shaun Byrne, Kerr Young, Steven McDougall,
SCORER: Barrowman (87)
WEATHER: Rain 9C
NEXT MATCH: (home) v Aberdeen
Saturday 26th November 2011, kick off 3:00pm
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm