This mostly excellent game was marred by what could only be considered a stupid brawl just before the hour. The second in as many away games.
Putting behind them the two defeats in the previous two games, this was once again the confident Celtic that has been trashing the opposition all season.
The first half was all about pressure from Jones and McNeil, orchestrated from the midfield by Bauress - playing probably his best game of the season so far despite constantly being wound up by the Whitby players.
McNeil start the chances when his thumping shot only just off target. Jones followed his lead: after being put through by Bauress, he raced into the box, firing into the side netting when pressured by Campbell, the Whitby keeper and a defender.
Whitby's best,and possibly only real chance, came mid way through the first half, when a backpass to Ingham was a little too strong, catching the Celtic number one on the wrong foot. Fortunately, it sailed past the outside of the post (though only just).
Celtic finished the half as they strarted it, with Bauress not managing to dip his thirty yard effort enough to make it creep under the bar. Filson's volley, from a Scott corner, rattled the crossbar before attaining orbit. In both cases, Campbell was well and truely beaten and the Seasider's defence static. At the other end of the pitch, Whitby cannot claim to have had a shot on target.
The second half was more of the same.
The incessant pressure was obviously telling on Whitby, for Danny Kay crashed into Bauress in a very dangeous tackle. There cannot be any excuses, really, but Bauress was the focus for a lot of aggrevation from the Whitby players all afternoon. This was one hard challenge too much, and he pushed Whitby midfielder Logan. Whitby reinforcements arrived, whilst Filson was obviously quickly in on the act to defend his skipper. Within seconds, both teams were all out fighting just outside the Celtic penalty area.
The referee had no option, sending Bauress off as soon as he could be extricated from the melee. Filson got a yellow card for his part in it. Whitby were not let off. Kay was dismissed, presumably for the tackle that led up to the incident, and Dixon was given a yellow card for foul and abusive behaviour towards an assistant referee. Celtic no longer top the Fair Play league for the Unibond (which they did in November) with three red cards and countless yellows during December. This latest farce has only added to Phil Wilson's team selection headache, as even more players will be suspended.
It took a total of five minutes to get the whole mess sorted out, but eventually it was, with both teams subdued for about quarter fo an hour.
Filson injected some life back into the game when he sent Jones after a long clearance from defence, which Jones used to beat the Whitby offside trap (they were holding a line near the half way line!). After that it was simplicity itself for the midfield man to score. He rounded Campbell and slotted home in front of about a hundred travelling fans.
McNeil almost added to the tally when he first burst through the defence only to scoot the ball wide, and then secondly getting onto a Ward cross that he again put wide.
Whitby finally got a shot on goal in the dying minutes. A late corner made the travellers think back to the one all draw at Bower Fold in August.
Skelton put his head onto the cross, and beat Ingham, but also beat the far post.
Celtic are back!