Celtic made the trip to Queens in almost perfect conditions and for the first time in over two seasons were involved in a scoreless draw,the first time this season the Hoops haven’t scored or conceded a goal.
John Cochrane back last week from spending the summer in the USA was drafted into the line up in defence with Colin Rooney slotting into midfield and Paddy Rooney back from injury came in at left back.
The Students took the game to Celtic and keeper Michael Goff in the Hoops goal had to be alert to make a save in the first minute.
Chris Lavery found himself double marked every time he looked like gaining possession. After the early pressure from the home side Celtic began to play their way into the game and should have taken the lead when Raymond Fitzpatrick fastened unto a Daniel Ryan cross but scuffed his close range shot and the defenders scrambled the ball away.
Shortly afterwards Niall Lavery was close with a left foot effort but Queens were dangerous on the break and Declan McVeigh on two occasions made timely tackles to thwart any danger.
In the 25th minute Lavery delivered a fine free and Cochrane went narrowly wide with a strong header and when the Students went down to the other end in a break Goff went out to claim the ball only to spill it and a Queens attacker chipped the ball towards the net only for Shane McCabe to head off the line. Celtic then went at the home defence and Ryan went past two defenders out on the right and delivered a cross to Fitzpatrick who out-jumped everyone to send a powerful header across the goal and past the far post when it looked like he would score.
Within minutes of the restart Queens thought they had scored but the goal was ruled out for a foul on McCabe.
During the course of the 2nd half the match developed into a midfield battle in which Lavery started troubling the home defence with strong running but the Queens rearguard held firm although they were nearly caught out when Ryan chased a long ball and keeper Declan Brown rushed out to gather the ball before the Hoops player and saw his momentum carry him outside the penalty box and Celtic were awarded a free kick a yard outside the box. N Lavery stepped up to take the kick and surprised everyone by placing his shot low to the keeper’s left where it struck the inside of the post and was clawed away just before it went over the line.
Despite the best efforts of both teams a goal never looked likely during the latter stages and overall a draw was probably a fair result although Celtic looked the side more likely to break the deadlock.
The McLeans bookmakers Man of the Match was awarded to Declan McVeigh who put in a sterling performance although Chris Lavery and Colin Rooney were also in contention for the award in a game which didn’t yield any goals but there was plenty of good play and action from both sides to keep the crowd interested for the 90minutes.Celtic have no game next Saturday but the following week 4th. October have a derby with newly promoted Dollingstown in a game which should create high interest and bring in a decent sized crowd. The game is at Knockramer and KO is 3.p.m.
The youth team lost for the 1st. time since the opening game of the season when they went down to Killen Rangers at Omagh Rec. They went 2 down early in the contest and Anthony McIlroy reduced the score before half time but try as they did couldn’t salvage the game against a side who are being touted as favourites for the Juvenile League.This week they play Craigavon City youth.