Celtic produced a very good performance and took a share of the spoils with promotion chasing Halifax in the unusual surroundings of Spotland, home of Rochdale AFC.
The game was switched due to ongoing pitch problems with Halifax's normal home venue of the Shay and perhaps it was the change of scenery that affected them the most, as Celtic were able to produce a resolute display, rarely looking in real trouble and perhaps even counting themselves a little unfortunate to have not snatched an unlikely victory.
Clear cut chances were at a premium for either side throughout the game but it was Celtic who came closest to scoring, when Jack Laird's effort rattled the crossbar.
Although Halifax started the game the brighter, any efforts that they did produce were matched by those of Mitchell Austin, who caused the home defence a number of problems throughout the game with his pace.
It was Austin who was right in the thick of the action in the games most controversial moment, when his what appeared to be more than a decent penalty shout was turned down by the match officials.
Despite Austin's best efforts, it was Halifax that always seemed the more likely to score and one of their two best chances of the game came and went when Alex Cairns was able to produce a fantastic save from a header, by diving low to his left.
All throughout the game, Celtic competed and during the second half they began to look even stronger when first Lewis Hatch's shot was blocked en route to goal, before Laird's crossbar effort.
As the game neared it's end, Celtic looked more and more comfortable and likely to hold on for at least a point. Although Halifax began to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at it and perhaps should have even scored right at the end, when a cross was only inches away from being converted, it was the Celtic back line and Alex Cairns that earned the plaudits and came out on top, snuffing out any threat of danger with consumate ease.
With neither team able to produce a goal, it was the real away side that came away the happier with the 0-0 result and perhaps goes a little way to show that these boys can indeed compete with the stronger sides at this level.
After what have been some recent tough times, a few more performances and results like this will very much make the future look a lot brighter again.
|St Juste, Jason