Celtic had the better of the first half, and after Daniel up-ended Meechan with a late and dangerous challenge, Smart's free kick cleared the crossbar. Torpey was next up, creating space from nothing, and forcing Sandercombe into his first save of the match.
A brilliant save from Phillips's legs denied McNiven when through one-on-one at the other end, with Stafford wasting their corner. Celtic broke quickly, and moved the ball up field, with Torpey creating the space for a cross, and Briggs coming in unmarked from the back of the box to meet the ball with a thumping header that gave Sandercombe no chance.
It could have been two minutes later but for Daniel on the line, as Woolliscroft latched onto a short corner and fired through the crowded box, only for Daniel to get in the telling block. After a pair of corners, the ball fell to Briggs and though it wasn't the most powerful of shots it was perfectly placed and required a very good save from Sandercombe to just get finger tips on the ball and divert it around the post.
The second half saw Stafford have a bit more urgency about them, and Thorley got onto a free kick to divert it past Phillips only to find Woolliscroft on the line hacking clear at the back post. When Brannan's shot beat Phillips, it was Keeling on the line to ensure that Stafford stayed a goal behind.
At the other end, Smart broke through the offside trap to go one-on-one with Sandercombe, but the Stafford keeper stood up well, and made an excellent block, Sandercombe was in similar form as the game went towards the final few minutes, when Meechan was put through by an excellent Barwick through ball to go one-on-one, and if anything, the Sandercombe save was even more exceptional, and he deserved his luck when the ball fell to Meynell with a goal at his mercy and the Celtic defender put the ball over the stand.
Celtic held the play up for the final few minutes, though they were helped by some poor passing from Stafford.
The win puts Celtic back into the play-offs, with games in hand on the teams around us.
|6||Brannan, Steve||> 69|
|11||Millar, Christian||> 80|
|12||Magee, Mark||< 69|
|15||Reid, Ishmale||< 80|