Celtic began the new league campaign with a win against Newington last Saturday with Chris Lavery, signed late on Thursday from Dungannon Swifts, starring on his debut.
The game started brightly with exchanges even and little between the sides in the opening moments but the Hoops looked assured and businesslike and on 20 minutes took the lead when Chris Lavery blasted home from the edge of the box following a superb through ball from the lively Daniel Ryan.
Stung by this reverse the home side came storming back and thought they had equalised only for Hoops keeper Michael Goff to make a splendid one handed save.Minutes before the break strong running from Ryan, whose pace was unsettling the Newington defence,resulted in him putting in a low dangerous cross and skipper Raymond Fitzpatrick made it 2-0 at the interval.
A hotly disputed penalty gave the home team a lifeline 10 minutes after the restart when keeper Goff was involved in a collision with the Newington centre forward and although it appeared that it was a foul on the Hoops custodian the referee awarded a spot kick which was converted making the score 2-1.
The game began to open up but rather than panic Celtic attacked with strong running up front and some tenacious tackling in particular from Rooney at the heart of midfield kept the home side at bay.
On 80 minutes they extended the lead when Chris Lavery struck a well placed shot past the keeper putting the Hoops 3-1 to the good. This seemed to deflate the home side and five minutes later Dale Malone ended the game as a contest with a beautifully struck shot from outside the area and the points were safe.
Although early days this was the performance that was required to set Lurgan Celtic on the road to better days at Knockramer Park. This was a tremendous result over a side that most pundits were tipping for promotion and it was gained without Ryan Henderson and Conor Hagan both injured and David Magee who is awaiting International clearance. The McLean’s Bookmakers Man of the Match was awarded to Chris Lavery who not only scored twice but had a fine overall game.
in the Hoops engine room. After a trip to Ballymoney to play Glebe Rangers in the League Cup on Tuesday night Celtic entertain Banbridge Town on Sat in a quest for more league points in the first home fixture of the season and hopefully there will be a good turnout to see the game.