Many may have forgotten what it was like to Celtic win, but they won comfortably, and were the better side for the majority of the match against a Hyde team that ran out of ideas quickly, until the match was evened up by Matty Hughes being sent off.
Hyde did start brightly, and for the opening quarter of an hour were on top, with Ted Cribley firing wide then straight ta Lewis King, before King was properly tested with a dipping effort from Tom Bentham that King tipped over for a corner. Celtic started to get in it, taking control of the game, and Scott Kerr fired over from a corner before Todd Jordan's header from another corner forced Connor Hunt into a decent stop. Just past the half hour mark, and King came to the rescue when Tom Bentham's low effort was parried away by a flying King save, only to fall to Louis Almond who turned and fired into the net, but the whistle for offside went before the ball left his boot.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin had been a thorn in Hyde's side all match, and his pace, skill and strength were put on show as he rolled around Matt Flynn and unleashed a great drive when one-on-one with Hunt, Hunt making a great stop. The ball bounced up and started trundling towards the line and it looked like he might get there to keep it out, when in ran Kevin Holsgrove to toe-poke home and score against his former club. There was still time left in the half for Lewin to snatch at a shot from the edge of the box and send it skidding just wide, and for Todd Jordan to have a crack that Hunt had to stop.
Celtic needed to keep it tight in the opening minutes, but the half time talk worked better for the home side, and Hyde got right back in it with a simple goal, a cross in from the left, Matt Regan wrong footed by Tom Bentham's first touch and he rifled home unchallenged.
For a little while, it looked like Celtic had gone back into their shells, but a wondrous strike from Scott Kerr brought them right back out of their shells, when Kerr saw Hunt off his line and lobbed him with a forty yard effort. It was over Hunt's outstretched hand, but came crashing back off the crossbar. However, showing predatory instincts beyond his age, Lewin had followed the shot in, and as it came down from the bar, he rifled home.
Seconds later, and Celtic had a cushion, Matt Regan, moved into midfield, provided a perfect curling cross behind the defence that Lewin met perfectly giving Hunt no chance.
Matt Regan almost got a goal of his own seconds later with a cracking effort that saw Hunt flying across his goal to palm it away for a corner. Paul Ennis went very close from seventy yards away when he saw Hunt well off his line and tried what can only be described as an audacious lob. To save Hunt's blushes he did get back, but was at full stretch to catch.
Another goal was only a matter of time, and it was Celtic taking the proverbial from the Hyde defence, with Charlie Ennis and Dominic Calvert-Lewin swapped passes almost at will before Ennis tired of playing with the defenders and slotted home.
Hyde were given a way back into the game when there was some kind of altercation after Matty Hughes shepherded the ball out. The man advantage galvanised Hyde, and they fashioned three chances with Luke Givernin and Louis Almond both forcing King into routine stops, and Givernin finally beat King, only for Stefan Galinski to clear off the line. From the corner, there was a lot of pressure, resulting in two more corners, from the third, sheer persistence saw Connor Hughes forced the ball over the line.
With fifteen minutes left, Hyde did go looking for a third, but never looked likely to get it until right at the end when Givernin's cracking effort was tipped over the bar at full stretch by an imperious Lewis King.
The red card did stop Celtic in their tracks, making them a little unwilling to venture forward, but with a three goal cushion, it wasn't needed. There was a little inconsistency in the bookings, with Scott Kerr being booked for a routine foul, whilst Adam Blakeman's forearm smash to upend Lewin in full flight resulted in a foul only, however, this didn't stop Celtic going onto record a very important win.
|6||Lomax, Kevin||> 81|
|10||Cribley, Ted||> 65|
|12||Masterson, Ryan||< 65|
|15||Day, Rhys||< 81|