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Celtic 3 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Celtic 2 - 1 Aberdeen

SPL Youth 18
Celtic scorers: Dobbie 44 (pen), Thomson 45, Deane 60
Aberdeen scorers: Wilson 3.

29/03/2022 | KO: 19:00

U18s field one of their youngest ever XIs

A quick fire double from Dobbie and Thomson followed by a Deane strike on the hour cancelled out an early Wilson goal for Aberdeen as Celtic ran out 3-1 winners at wet and blustery Lennoxtown.

The young Dons returned to League action for the first time in almost five weeks when they travelled south to face Celtic. With a win and a draw against the Hoops youngsters already this season, Barry Robson and his squad were in confident mood, particularly after a fine showing at the recent Algarve tournament where they locked horns with such European luminaries as Benfica, Porto and Club Brugge.

Both sides were missing key players who were on Scotland Under 17 duty against Georgia so a number of 14 and 15 year old players featured in the squads selected.

Possibly the youngest starting eleven at this age group for Aberdeen made a dream start to the game, opening the scoring in only the third minute. Good work from 15 year old Fraser Mackie, making his debut at this level, created the opening for Cammy Wilson and he cracked the ball home confidently from around ten yards.

Celtic, whose average age was around a year older than their counterparts, enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening period without creating anything to endanger the Dons goal, although Frame came close with a twenty yard effort.

The home side continued to dominate the play, although two dangerous crosses from Donovan which bypassed everyone in a hooped shirt were their best moments in the match before they hit the Dons with the classic one-two just before the interval.

A dangerous run from Hatton saw him go down in the box after a challenge from Milosz Ochmanski prompting the referee to point to the spot. Lewis Dobbie did an expert job from twelve yards to draw the sides level.

A minute later and some slack defending allowed Corey Thomson the time and space to curl a fine shot wide of Blessing Oluyemi to give Celtic a scarcely deserved interval lead.

Half time - Celtic 2 Aberdeen 1

Mackie came very close with a header after a good Dons break down the left, the ball sliding agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Hatton's powerful run down the inside right channel for Celtic ended in the winger firing narrowly wide as they chased a decisive third goal.

That however was only delayed as some neat passing between Deane and substitute Quinn ended in the former slamming the ball past Oluyemi, the best goal of the game.

Both sides made use of their benches, Aberdeen giving four more newcomers their first taste of action at this level.

Neither team was able to fashion much in front of goal as the game drifted to its conclusion but for 15 year olds Fraser Mackie, Matty McFarlane, keeper Rodrigo Vitols, Jamie MacLennan and Lewis Pirie it was a night they will remember as they sampled what it takes to face a Celtic team at this level. Even more so for 14 year old Victor Enem who must be on of the youngest players to have featured for the Dons at this level.

The Under 18s next game is on Friday when they welcome Rangers to Cormack Park, the game kicking off at 6pm.

Full time - Celtic 3 Aberdeen 1

Reaction

Barry Robson: "I thought considering everything the team did well tonight.

"We have three players out on loan, we had four away with Scotland, we had a player suspended and another missing after going down with COVID.

"To be fair Celtic were quite young as well.

"We have a good number of 2007's on the pitch tonight, so it was good experience for them. It is a big jump up but I like it when the young ones come up, it gives me the chance to have a look at them.

"In the first fifteen to twenty minutes, you see how the team is trying to play and sometimes it can become harder after that once other teams work out how you are going to press, what pattern of play you are going to do, so players need to work things out for themselves on the pitch.

"We started well tonight but it was the same problem we have had all season, we lose a goal from a sucker punch and it affects the players.

"We then lose one a short time afterwards. That is a mentality thing. They need to realise if you lose a goal, it is not the end of the world. You need to refocus and regroup and concentrate.

"We have 13 games left to play this season so we will use these younger players. I am a big believer in that. We have Evan Towler and Ryan Duncan out on loan, both doing really well. The job is about moving players up. Hopefully it will have a knock on effect with these younger players further down the line and we can move them up as well. And moved them up quicker. That is what we are looking to do.

"We had nine players missing today, we could have cancelled the fixture but instead I got the opportunity to learn more about some young players that I had not seen much of before which was pleasing and they got exposure playing against Celtic at U18 level which can only be a good thing."

Celtic Teamsheet
McLean, Goldie, Frame, Davidson, Robertson (C) (Easton 77), Deane, Hatton, Donovan (Kelly 60), Dobbie, Ure (Haddow 77), Thomson (Quinn 60) Unused substitutes: Rice, Walker

Bookings:  Quinn 76
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Oluyemi (Vitols 77), Fatona, Ochmanski (Enem 60), Murray, McKenzie, Watson, Wilson, Stewart, Mackie (MacLennan 79), McFarlane (Pirie 52), Mason.

Bookings:  Stewart (85).
Venue: Celtic FC Training Centre - Lennoxtown, Glasgow
Referee: Scott Grier
Next Match
Dumbarton
H
27 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen