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Match Report -
By Iain Benson
In front of a healthy crowd of just over 200, Celtic provided a good display that just didn't end in a goal. There were very few chances throughout for Burscough, and they had to be on top defensive form to stop Celtic's attacks. Nil-nil is a typical result against Burscough, a team we just always seem to draw with.

Burscough had a glorious opportunity in the opening sortie, with Hussy rounding Pettinger after going one-on-one with him. Pettinger had forced the visiting midfielder wide, and he had to pull it back for Gedman. Pettinger reacted well and cut out the pull back.

A lax pass between Nightingale and Parry allowed Steve Smith to latch onto the ball and race towards goal. With Burscough converging, Smith shot from the edge of the box on the run, putting the ball wide. Celtic were starting the pass the ball around Burscough for fun, and Willis had the incisive pass with a beautiful lob for Mulvanney, with the visiting keeper racing out, Mulvanney flicked the ball over him with a looping header destined for the back of the net until Bell intervened, racing back and hacking off the line.

Steve Smith won a corner that Prince knocked in well. Ellington at the back post rose highest and nodded down past Newness in the Burscough nets. This time, it was Hussey who cleared on the line, and Burscough were riding their luck a little. Mulvanney rounded Crowder to burst in on goal from an acute angle, but the keeper was well positioned, and made a comfortable save. Smith was the next to burst past Crowder, his cross almost found Ellington who threw himself at the ball, but it went for a corner.

Willis put Ellington through with a beautiful weighted pass that split the defence. Newness raced out, and Ellington's shot zipped narrowly wide.

With the half nearly over, Burscough finally got another chance, with Parry latching onto a loose ball from Black. He hurriedly took the shot, but it lacked power and was straight at Pettinger.

The final act of the half was Steve Smith winning another corner off Crowder. Prince's corner was excellent, again. Ellington won the header and it took two snatches from Newness to prevent the goal.

It was all change for Celtic in the second half (except for Haran, Prince and Ellington), whilst Burscough remained as they were. Hadland continued Celtic's attacking flair running down the flank. He whipped a great cross for Prince, who blazed over with his volley. Bell discovered that bookings happen in Friendlies too, when he handled the ball to prevent Prince taking it one-on-one with the keeper. Next time, Bell allowed Prince past him, and Prince went one-on-one with Burscough's substitute keeper. Good keeping saw the ball knocked away from Prince.

Burscough's best chance of the game fell to Gedman. Byrne got past Ben Smith and whipped a fast pace cross into the near post. Gedman beat everybody, but scuffed the volley wide. He then wasted another chance, as he was put through with a well weighted ball, and attempted to lob Buxton, but lobbed the bar as well.

Hadland's natural place appears to be on the wing as he burst past Crowder and looped a good cross for Prince. The trialist's header was excellent, as was the save. Hadland repeated the trick, this time with Wharton bursting into the box, and producing another great save from the visiting keeper.

Sykes, playing left back to complete the set of positions he has played for Celtic, was wrong footed by Byrne, who nipped around him and took a shot from the corner of the box, but there was a lack of pace in the shot, and Buxton claimed simply. With the game almost over, Farren burst into the box and blazed a shot past Buxton. Buxton reacted well getting enough of a fist on the ball to divert it onto the post. Blakeman was coming in at the back post and with the net at his mercy put the ball wide.

This was a great warm up match for Celtic, and though we didn't win it allowed Reed and Atkins to run the rule over new players as well as existing in new positions.

First half: Pettinger, Black, Caldecott, Keeling, Haran, Parr, S. Smith, Willis, Ellington, Mulvanney, Prince
Second half: Buxton, B. Smith, Sykes, Murcott, Haran, Wharton, Hadland, Price, Ellington (S. Smith), Mulvanney (Prince), Cornelly

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