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Match Report -
Promising
By Debbie Taylor

As is traditional in friendlies, Celtic were concentrating on looking flash, and defending not at all well.

The defensive frailties were not immediately apparent as Mossley struggled to break down some slick and clever Celtic passing. German and Fitzgerald looked on sparkling form as time after time the ball was swept into acres of space on the wings, allowing the two fullbacks to run with great freedom. Signs of what could come were also evident as Hallows, Potts and German moved the ball in a series of deft triangles that left the Seal Park outfit chasing shadows.

Kevin Parr was also on classic form, time and again mopping up and creating chances from nothing. Indeed, Parr initiated a move that could have seen either Hallows or Wharton open the scoring just a few minutes in when his lofted cross was volleyed by Hallows, only to ricochet back to Wharton from Taylor. Wharton hesitated a fraction of a second lining up his shot, allowing Paver to throw himself in front of the Celtic man.

Potts too was in complete command, dancing and jigging through defenders, intelligently squaring the ball off when needed, holding and laying off with a deft touch. when he saw German with a ten yard gap around him at the corner of the box, an inch perfect low ball was quickly controlled by ex-Leigh player. Paver came across quickly, but German stepped inside him, and whipped in a great shot that clipped the bar on the way out.

A goal for Celtic was definitely coming, as Eastwood's too soft shot forced a simple save, then Fitzgerald did likewise from distance, before Hallows charged down Hackney's throat in the Mossley goal to latch onto a beautifully weighted Pott's ball. He jinked past a defender and slotted it home with ease.

Mossley finally got hold of the game after half an hour, winning a free kick, and Dootson had his first job of the afternoon as Bradshaw curled a fast ball around the wall, but Dootson got down well, and blocked, scooping it up ahead of a charging Mossley attacker.

Eastwood then went close, getting his shot deflected onto the bar, then Ridings found himself in space, and forced a finger tip save from the keeper. Celtic could do nothing from either corner, showing one area that requires work.

Mossley got rewarded for persistence when a floated ball came into Wolstenhome, who trapped it on his chest, turned and fired it into the top corner.

Hallows soon restored the lead when confusion over an offside shout (that wasn't offside) allowed Hallows to chip the keeper just before half time.

There was time for an equaliser before the half ended, and it came as half a dozen Celtic shirts crashed into Wolstenhome, granting Mossley a penalty. Trees took it well.

In the second half Celtic attacked well, but defensively looked awkward.

Firstly they left Murray with too much room, and he punished them with a well struck shot into the top corner.

A defence has to gel before it becomes an effective unit, and this one hasn't yet. Timmons and German were excellent, but Bowker's immaturity showed in a number of instances, especially when Wolstonholme chested down a throw to turn Bowker and repeat his earlier effort a few moments into the second half.

Both sides made plenty of changes, and it was a welcome return to Winfield Steele.

Steele and Barker both made excellent contributions, as they ran the ball at the defence, but the Mossley centrebacks were too physical for Winnie and he was dispossessed to often. Potts almost grabbed a goal after squirming through the defence to go one on one with Hackney, but his powerful grass skimming shot hit the upright.

Celtic continued to have good periods of dominance, but failed to make anything off it, and it was Mossley who came closest to grabbing goals as the second half ran down. Shiel had both attempts, forcing Dootson into two excellent saves.

To sum up, Celtic still have some work to do strengthening the back line, and should work on their set pieces. But it looked promising despite the scoreline.

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