Celtic may have lost in windswept Cumbria against table topping, free scoring, 100% record at home, Barrow; but the shift put in by each and every player suggests that this season still has promise.
Celtic were a goal down with Barrow's first attack, Jason Walker curling in a great free kick that left Lewis King no chance as it dipped and swerved its way into the back of the net. It was a worthy match winner.
It should have been two moments later, when Dan Pilkington got behind the Celtic line, but his shot lacked any kind of urgency, which was similar to Paddy Lacey a little later on, Lewis King making both claims comfortably. The save from Anthony Wilson was anything but routine, with King acrobatically tipping his header from a free kick over the bar.
It wouldn't be a game against Barrow without at least one moment of controversy. Nobody in the ground would have disagreed that when Aidan Chippendale slid in to reach a ball ahead of keeper Tony McMillan that there was a definite foul. What was harsh was that it was a straight sending off. Both players were sliding for a loose ball, the keeper arrived half a second first. Had it been the other way, would McMillan have had an early bath? One would suspect not. As it was, Celtic had an hour to face table toppers Barrow not only a goal down, but a player down too.
Celtic's endeavour meant that not only did they hold Barrow at bat, they created chances too. Matty Hughes headed Ben McKenna's free kick just over the bar, whilst Stefan Galinski headed a corner narrowly wide of one post, and Liam Dickinson fired across the face and wide of the other post from McKenna's excellent ball.
From the off of the second period, Barrow looked eager to get an early goal to settle the game, but as good as Lacey's effort was, King's save was better, although Barrow did keep coming, keeping the pressure on, and it almost told as Celtic were struggling to clear a ball into the box, and Pilkinton's shot curled past King, and rebounded off the post, coming to Anthony Wilson, who headed over the bar, relieving the pressure on the beleaguered Celtic back line.
The second half was obviously going to be a half of few chances, but the couple that did come could have got Celtic an unlikely equaliser, the best of which was Matt Reagan's smashing shot from thirty yards through a crowded box that managed to get zero touches on the way through, and letting McMillan catch routinely in the end, though any kind of deflection would have left McMillan sorely tested. Even King wasn't really tested, though his reading of the game as the ball came anywhere near the box and his distribution were superb. The closes Barrow came was an Andy Cook header five minutes from time, which tested King's reflexes, but amounted to nothing.
The whole Celtic team worked their socks off, with special mention to Alex Mudimu who has progressed in leaps and bounds, and ran himself into the ground for the team in the time he was on the pitch.