Ray nets crucial winner on good day for leaders

Daniel Ryan receiving his Man of the Match award from Dwyer Henderson

Daniel Ryan receiving his Man of the Match award from Dwyer Henderson

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The Hoops made the trip to Tobermore on Saturday and after a tough encounter against one of only four teams to take points off Celtic this season came home with the points.

Less than a minute after kick-off a mix up in the Hoops defence let in Ally Young but John Cochrane showed great composure to clear the shot off the line.

A few minutes later a horrendous hailstorm forced the referee to lead the teams off the field for 10 minutes and then play resumed with Celtic scoring after Stephen Hutchinson sent in a free kick finding Daniel Ryan who slipped the ball past the keeper.

A delightful Ryan Henderson pass in the 15th minute put Ryan in and he fired narrowly over and in the next attack the same player headed wide from a splendid Dale Malone cross.

With Celtic in the ascendancy Malone then sent in a fee kick which found Raymond Fitzpatrick and he also headed wide. Tobermore then started to exert pressure and some clever passing resulted in Conor Hagan making a goal line clearance which lead to a series of corners making it a dangerous few minutes for the Hoops, but the defence held firm to avert any danger

Conditions did not lend themselves to good football and although the wind was on their backs Celtic found difficulty in the freezing conditions to play with their usual confidence. Just prior to half-time Chris Lavery broke through the home defence and shot narrowly wide from outside the penalty area.

Tobermore started the second half as they did the first and on 52 minutes Young forced a fine save from Conor McCorry, but a minute later the home sides pressure paid off as Conor Deans levelled the with a fine shot into McCorry’s top left hand corner

Almost immediately Ryan relieved the pressure with a fine run and shot which was cleared, but within two minutes McCorry was in action again making another good save. On the hour mark Ryan broke through on goal and was brought down outside the box and from the resultant free kick Malone struck it firmly forcing the keeper to parry it and the ball was cleared. On 70 minutes manager Colin Malone brought on Niall Lavery and Aaron Haire to replace Colly Rooney and Henderson in a bid to freshen things up. Just after this Young forced another good save out of McCorry.

Celtic the regained the lead on 78 minutes as Haire passed to Fitzpatrick whose shot was turned away for a corner and from this the ball found its way to Fitzpatrick who beat the keeper low at his right hand corner. This setback seemed to knock the heart out of Tobermore as at that point as they had looked the more likely to snatch a win. Josh Barton replaced Chris Lavery and the Hoops saw out a very hard win.

Daniel Ryan was judged McLeans Bookmakers Man of the Match.

This week Celtic are host Queens at Knockramer as the race for promotion hots up and from here on in there will be no easy games for any side in this league.

Declan McVeigh who missed the Tobermore game is back from suspension.