AFTER crashing 8-0 at Knockbreda last Saturday the question for Lurgan Celtic this week is how much psychological damage has been done to the players after this shattering defeat?
The Hoops were left to reflect on one of their heaviest ever defeats and they will need to recover right away if they are to remain in the hunt for promotion.
The home side did what they have done in two previous games against the Hoops this season and took an early lead when McMenemin scored from a corner after only two minutes but after this early setback the Hoops began to settle and on 12 minutes Michael Toland forced Cairnduff into a good save to keep his side in front.
Play went from end to end with Celtic holding their own but on 28 minutes Knockbreda extended the lead after the Hoops conceded a free kick and Miguel Chines blasted an unstoppable shot into the top of the net with Ciaran Fox rooted to the spot. The game was more or less over soon after when the same player ran made it 3-0.
Just prior to the break Young stretched the lead to 4-0 when he lobbed Fox leaving the Hoops down and out of the game.
Celtic started the second period on a more determined mood despite having to replace Niall Lavery who prior to the game wasn’t feeling 100% and Ryan was unlucky to hit the post with a shot after two minutes while he shot narrowly over five minutes later. The comeback fizzled out when man of the match Chines took control of a pass with the Hoops defence missing and rounded the isolated Fox to seal his hat-trick and put the home side 5-0 up. Further goals from Young, Finlay and Wright on the final whistle completed a black day for the Hoops against a side they have played three times this season conceding 14 goals and failing to register a single score.
On the pragmatic side of things this was a tie that Celtic wouldn’t have banked on getting points from when looking at the schedule of games to play and compiling a list of who they should be capable of
gaining points from.
There is a chance for a quick response and win tonic when the Hoops go to Cookstown to play Killymoon Rangers on Saturday at the Mid-Ulster Arena.
With 11 games left, 7 at home, all the other top contenders have to come to Knockrammer Park so the Hoops still in fourth place have the situation in their own hands, but this weeks game is a must win match against a team although struggling in the lower regions have held Celtic to draws in the previous two seasons at this venue.
Lets hope the players can put this bad experience behind them and go into the weekend game in a positive mental state as after this match they have Ballyclare Comrades coming to Knockrammer on Easter Saturday who themselves have won 10 on the trot making them the form team of the league at the moment. The support have an important role to play in getting behind the lads and giving them plenty of encouragement in their quest in the battle for promotion.