LURGAN Celtic made the long trip to Ballymoney United last Saturday and returned with all three points in a game where they did not play to their best but still emerged victorious.
The management team of O’Kane and Creaney made one change from the previous league game with Mackin returning from holiday to replace Murphy who can count himself unfortunate to miss out.
The game started with both sides involved in a midfield battle and chances were hard to come by but towards the end of the half Celtic began to dominate with Daniel Ryan at the heart of every move.
The formation of 3-5-2 took a lot of getting used to with Lavery and Haire struggling to fight their attacking urges but just managed to maintain their defensive discipline as the two teams reached the interval all level.
The second half began with Celtic dictating play and then manager O’Kane made a tactical change with Boyd coming on for Fitzpatrick and that seemed to work as the midfield duo of Lavery and O’Hara dominated their opponents.
The turning point of the game came when goalkeeper Fox, who is having a fine season to date, produced an excellent save and shortly after that a breaking ball fell to Niall Lavery on the edge of the box and he sent a delightful controlled left foot volley to the top corner to break the deadlock.
After this despite the home sides physical approach The Hoop’s knew it was only a matter of time before they scored on the counter attack and it was left to the best player on the pitch Daniel Ryan to break from the halfway line and beat numerous defenders and slide the ball home to double his sides advantage and ensure all three points.
In what could have been a tricky fixture Celtic showed their class on a day when they didnt play to their potential but a tactical switch coupled with the attacking class of the away side resulted in Celtic moving to third in the table.