Betfred Cup: Celtic 2 Dunfermline 1 AET: 17/08/19

Dunfermline supplied unexpected resistance when they faced the Scottish Champions on their home patch and received great credit after taking them to extra time and going within six minutes of a penalty shoot out.

For the Betfred Cup tie at Celtic Park Stevie Crawford made two changes from the side that he fielded the previous Saturday at Dumfries. Euan Murray was out through injury and Andy Ryan was on the bench meaning starts for Stuart Morrison and Josh Edwards. Danny Devine was a welcome sight on the bench returning to the match day squad for the first time this season.

Neil Lennon made five changes from the one he chose to face CFR Cluj in the Champions League qualifier on Tuesday night. Jozo Simunovic and Scott Brown were left out, Scott Bain missing through injury while Olivier Ntcham and James Forrest found themselves on the bench. Into the Celtic team came Craig Gordon, Chris Jullien, Nir Britton, Boli Bolingoli and Leigh Griffiths.

Over 1200 Dunfermline Athletic fans made the trip to Glasgow for their teams first match there since 2012 and despite the loud home sound system it was the Fifers who were making all the pre match noise. It was their flags and mosaic that stood out as the teams emerged from the tunnel. The crowd were asked to welcome the finest team in Scotland as Callum McGregor led out Celtic. It was the cup holders who kicked off attacking the goal at the east end.

Griffiths forced a fourth minute corner off Lewis Martin and Paul Paton headed away the danger when Mikey Johnston sent the ball over from in front of the vociferous Pars support. Celtic were in control and it was the sixth minute before keeper Gordon got a touch from a pass back.

Kevin Nisbet was the first visitor to penetrate the Celtic box and although he rounded his first opponent the defence comfortably swept away the potential danger. Four minutes later the big Pars striker evaded the attentions of his marker to capitalise on a long bouncing ball but through with just Gordon to beat the angle was made tight and hi# shot from the right side slipped just outside the left goalpost.

Then Nisbet did really well to hold on to possession on halfway to tee up Tom Beadling and send Ryan Dow down the right. A 13th minute corner was won but when Edwards sent that over from the right his touch was too strong and nothing came of the setpiece.

Several attempts to clear resulted in Celtic earning a 19th minute corner on the left. A second followed from the right that Eduardo headed on target and was successfully turned behind for another corner that was more easily defended.

Out on the left wing Boli received a ball from Eduardo and his 22nd minute cross was inviting but there were no takers. Three minutes later a similar delivery was headed away by Lee Ashcroft and then when Martin had to concede another corner it was Paton who headed away Ryan Christie’s cross.

A foul on Beadling handed Edwards another opportunity from a free kick on the right 30 yards out but no one got a touch as he pumped the ball through the Celtic six yard box. Ryan Scully then made a really good save from a powerful Johnston shot. There was lots of defending being done with Martin in particular earning his wages. Scully dropped to his right to hold a McGregor shot in 32 minutes but the Championship side were experiencing great difficulty in getting the ball out of their own half.

Scully then stopped a stinger of a shot from Bitton and then held a dangerous cross in from the left. When Elhamed fouled Edwards, Dow was able to send a free kick into the box from just in front of the home dugout. Unfortunately that got cleared and Gordon held Paton’s returned ball.

The Fifers then survived two 42nd minute corners, Jullien heading the second over the bar from close in and Morrison has sent the first behind. A 45th minute corner wa# equally dangerous but the Pars captain got that away.

Half time: Celtic 0 Dunfermline 0

The visitors were immediately under pressure from the restart. Paton was yellow carded for his challenge on Eduardo just 12 seconds into the second half but fortunately Griffiths hit the free kick from 29 yards out weakly wide right.

Paton launched a speculative shot from 35 yards out but was well wide of the target. A spate of misplaced Celtic passes did not help their cause but then in 55 minutes Mikey JOHNSTON found the net. The twenty year old did not celebrate the goal possibly indicating that his ball from 25 yards out on the left side was meant to be a cross. 1-0

Celtic then made the first substitution of the match, James Forrest replacing Leigh Griffiths followed ten minutes later by Stevie Crawford withdrawing Kyle Turner to bring on Josh Coley.

The home side came extremely close as the match entered its final quarter, Christie desperately unlucky to not convert Elhamed’s cut back. Then in 70 minutes the same player received a pass from Johnston on the left only to send his shot wide right.

Ayer went down and required treatment when it really looked like the Celtic player actually fouled Coley. In 75 minutes and before the game restarted, Andy Ryan replaced Josh Edwards and after Ntcham replaced Ajer, the Pars sub was an immediate success. His run down the left got him in behind the Celtic defence and his cut back from the byeline was perfectly set up for BEADLING to thrash home from 15 yards out. 1-1

Johnston scampered away down the left but his final pass was too strong and went out for a throw in on the far side. With five minutes remaining and extra time looming, eighteen year old Gabby McGill replaced Kevin Nisbet who had ran his heart out. In the 89th minute the post kept Celtic out and having withstood another Celtic attack the board was raised to indicate a minimum of four minutes of added time.

In 90+2 Christie popped a shot over the bar from 25 yards out and remarkably in the final set piece of the half Jullien headed his attempt from a Christie free kick across the face of goal and behind. That brought on extra time.

Full time: Celtic 1 Dunfermline 1

Jonny Hayes replaced Boli before Ryan got extra time underway and it was another sub, James Forrest who had the first chance but the defence did a great job of keeping him out. Then Eduardo was well placed to strike a shot from 20 yards out but blasted the chance over the crossbar.

Although stepping behind his line Scully held an inswinging Christie corner and then a 98th minute corner was hit by Ntcham only to be deflected for another corner on the right that Ashcroft, to his pain, blocked.

Ryan did well to shield the ball and find Coley in 100th minute. His lay off to Beadling allowed a shot but from 25 yards out, he was off target to the right. Scully then pulled off his best save so far to turn a rocket of a shot released from 35 yards out by McGregor.

From the corner Jullien and Scully clashed and the physios were required before both players were fit to resume. More stoic Pars defending saw the Fifers reach half time in extra time still 1-1.

Ntcham belted a good chance over the bar from outside the Pars box before Matthew Todd became the Pars first ever fourth sub as with eight minutes remaining he replaced Ryan Dow.

The Pars had held out Celtic admirably and it was a very relieved Celtic Park that greeted FORREST’s 114th minute goal. The player got the chance to shoot from the right side of the Pars box and with a deflection ended up in the bottom left of the net. 2-1

There was still one final chance for the Fifers. Bitton collected a yellow in conceding a 119th minute free kick and when Ryan floated that in from the right, Ashcroft was spilled at the far post, no penalty given and it was Celtic whose name went into the hat for the next round’s draw.

A fantastic fighting display from Stevie Crawford’s Pars team and even the home support were praising the defensive set up that Dunfermline put up, something they had not experienced at domestic level this season.

CELTIC: Craig Gordon: Hatem Elhamed, Christopher Jullien, Kristoffer Ajer (Olivier Ntcham 76) Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (Jonny Hayes FT), Nir Bitton, Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor (c), Mikey Johnston (Lewis Morgan 116) Odsonne Edouard, Leigh Griffiths (James Forrest 55).
SUBS NOT USED: Vakoun Issouf Bayo, Marian Shved, Conor Hazard (GK).
SCORERS: Johnston (55), Forrest (114)
YELLOW CARD: Bitton (119)

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Stuart Morrison, Lewis Martin: Paul Paton (c), Ryan Dow (Matthew Todd 112), Tom Beadling, Josh Edwards (Andy Ryan 75): Kyle Turner (Josh Coley 66): Kevin Nisbet (Gabby McGill 85)
SUBS NOT USED: Danny Devine, Lewis McCann, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Beadling (77)
YELLOW CARD: Paton (46), McGill (92), Ashcroft (117), Ryan (120+1)

REFEREE: John Beaton
WEATHER: 17C Sunny

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home) v Dundee United, (home) Saturday 24th August 2019, 3.00pm kick off at East End Park

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