Celtic do not have a reserve side as such, but the side that ran out did not match a usual league side with five players rested, and the bench brought on for full games. The rain blighted competition looked like being hit again, but the weather merely threatened rather than came down in force.
Celtic took the lead in such elegant fashion that the crowd suspected a rout was on the cards. McNeil collected the ball on the left, and swung in a cross that Pickford volleyed home past the despairing Town keeper - who has seen more than his fair share sail past him this season.
However, a rout was not to be, as Congleton rallied, with a great deal of midfield pressure that saw Celtic pushed back further into their own third than they would have liked. When Congleton were awarded a free kick 25 yards out, there was some anticipation among the home supporters. Washington's thunderous drive got just acclaim.
Town continued to pressure Celtic, forcing them off the ball whenever it looked like they might settle, and it was somewhat against the run of play that Stalybridge saw their lead restored. Alex Green, not one to usually take free kicks, curled a blinding ball around the two man wall into the bottom corner.
When the teams came out in the second half, Celtic looked slightly restructured, and ran Congleton ragged. It was only a matter of time before the Stalybridge pressure caused Congleton to collapse in defence, and this resulted in Steve Jones adding to his large season tally with a blasted shot into the roof of the net.
Congleton were out played in the second half - but their first half performance showed that they are capable of staying in the first division despite their recent run.
Celtic on the other hand march on, steamrollering the opposition and will face Ashton United on the third of March at Hurst Cross.