Celtic Park, Glasgow
Saturday, January 20, 2018
(Forrest 2, Sinclair 11, Ntcham 48, Boyata 55, Edouard 85)
CELTIC kicked off 2018 in style as they eased past Brechin City 5-0 at Paradise in the first game back following the winter break. The Hoops continued their quest for a second successive treble with a dominant victory over Brechin in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.First-half goals from James Forrest and Scott Sinclair opened proceedings before Olivier Ntcham, Dedryck Boyata and Odsonne Edouard rounded off a comfortable afternoon for Celtic.
Kristoffer Ajer retained his place in heart of the Hoops defence alongside Dedryck Boyata following a run of impressive performances in the last four league games of 2017. His inclusion was part of a strong Celtic line-up, with 20-year-old Odsonne Edouard leading the attack.
Celtic looked fired up and eager to impress in their first game back since the winter break and it took the champions just two minutes to open the scoring.The visitors’ first touch of the ball was picking it out the back of their net after Forrest’s neat finish. Sinclair’s intricate footwork and pace saw him beat his man out on the left wing before working his way to the byline and cutting the ball back for Forrest who side-footed his shot beyond Graeme Smith in the Brechin goal.
Celtic subjected Brechin to a barrage of attacks throughout the opening stages and the visitors found themselves trailing by two goals shortly after 10 minutes.Brechin gave away possession in trying to pass the ball out from the back and were punished by Celtic’s high pressing when Callum McGregor intercepted a stray pass inside the penalty area. The ball fell to Sinclair who tucked it away from six yards out.
From there, Celtic maintained a relentless stranglehold on the game as they dominated possession and flooded the Brechin goalmouth with wave after wave of attack. Sinclair enjoyed particular success down the left wing as he tormented the Brechin left-back, Aron Lynas, with sharp turns and sudden bursts of pace.
The Englishman was unlucky not to add a second just before half-time after watching his 30-yard effort shave the outside of the post.Olivier Ntcham came close midway through the half when he worked his way in behind the opposition defence and tried to slip the ball round the keeper, but it was narrowly wide. Later, he had a go from around 25 yards out but Brechin were again spared when his flashing half-volley went inches wide of the post.
Celtic started the second half in identical fashion to the first and their opponents found themselves further behind after only three minutes of the restart.Mikael Lustig tore down the right flank and floated a ball into the six-yard box from the byline. Ntcham timed his run perfectly and rose high above the Brechin defence to head the ball down and make it 3-0.
Dedryck Boyata increased the margin to four after getting on the end of a Celtic corner 10 minutes into the second-half. The Belgian defender ran across goal and found the back of the net with a glancing header.Tierney looked determined to add his name to the scoresheet and came close to doing so after linking up well with Scott Brown. The full-back controlled the return ball brilliantly and dribbled his way into the box, only for his shot to be blocked.
Odsonne Edouard was unfortunate not to make it five after some impressive passing between Mikey Johnston, one of three second-half subs for the Hoops, and McGregor led to a the French striker receiving a through ball on the edge of the six-yard box. He fired over, though, after tried to lift the ball over the keeper from a tight angle.However, he made amends minutes later when Lustig cut inside and slipped the ball through for the Frenchman inside the box. With his back to goal, Edouard controlled the pass, turned and fired the ball beyond Smith’s near post.
CELTIC: (4-1-2-3) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata (Bitton 60), Ajer, Tierney; Brown (Kouassi); McGregor, Ntcham; Forrest, Edouard, Sinclair (Johnston 68)
Not Used: De Vries, Simunovic, Dembele, Miller
BRECHIN CITY: (4-4-2) Smith; Lynas, McLean, Crighton, Spark; Graham, Dale, Smith, Sinclair (Watt 66); Jackson (Layne 60), Orsi (Fusco 80)
Not Used: O’Neil, O’Neil, Dyer
Partick Thistle v Celtic
23rd January 2018
Kick Off 19:45