Celtic can finally put the 2017/18 season behind them after stumbling over the finish line away at Halesowen on a cold, wet, grey day, and left as pointless as the last fortnight.
Aidan Winterbottom was back in goal after his recent outfield excursions, due to George Sykes-Kenworthy having concussion after Thursday's match. Unsurprisingly after the recent few weeks, most of the chances fell to the home side, though the Celtic back line generally dealt with their hosts quite comfortably. There was very little action in the opening twenty minutes, except for both Daniel Burns and Lee Hughes tested Winterbottom. When Winterbottom was beaten from a corner, Hughes's header was hacked clear off the line by Danny Morton, and Hughes headed into the side netting. Celtic did get forward, mainly through the phenomenal work rate of Matty Wolfenden and Jake Charles, with Liam Dickinson providing excellent hold-up play.
Tired legs pushed on through the second half, holding on to just before the hour mark, when Daniel Bragoli's low cross was stabbed home amid a tangle of players to open the scoring.
Though Luke Ashworth's header from a corner was a good one, Daniel Platt was still awake and was well positioned for the catch, as he was when Connor Hughes ripped through the Halesowen back line but his final shot lacked the power to fully test Platt.
Halesowen took the three points when Ahmed Ali rose unchallenged to plant a header into the back of the net.
Celtic could have been forgiven for giving up. With twenty minutes remaining an Oliver Roberts free kick was just over, Brice Pouamoun's first time shot off Connor Hughes's volley was agonisingly close to getting a consolation goal, Liam Dickinson had to stretch his neck to get onto a corner, putting it over the bar, and, right at the death, Charles shot over the bar.
Celtic can now turn their attention to next season, putting this season of weeks without a home fixture, an away day hoodoo and an end with sixteen games in three weeks that has made it a truly horrific season.
|2||Ekongo, EnockLuc||> 74|
|4||Poscha, Marcus||> 80|
|11||Burned, Daniel||> 45|
|14||Oyenuga, John||< 74|
|15||Agbor, Roland||< 45|
|16||Dallow, Samuel||< 80|