Celtic finish with big victory

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:33

Celtic finish with big victory

Anthony Stokes and Gary Hooper both bagged doubles with Daryl Murphy also on the scoresheet as Celtic raced to victory late on.
Both teams fielded much changed line-ups to those which started on Saturday against Inter Milan and Manchester City respectively, with Airtricity again demonstrating there is plenty of raw talent still to be mined from the League of Ireland.
Airtricity competed well in the opening sparring as the lively Daniel Kearns forced a fine stop from Celtic keeper Dom Cervi at his near post, before Jason Byrne took the ball from the sky exquisitely but could not match his first touch with his second as a half volley was fired over.
As the first half wore on and the impish Paddy McCourt became more influential it was Celtic who always looked the more likely to find a breakthrough.
Stokes thought he had broken the deadlock with a searing volley which looked destined for the top corner before Ger Doherty pulled off a stunning finger-tipped save.
He did not have to wait long for his goal though as with five minutes left of the first half his low drive from Murphy’s pullback took a slight deflection en route to beating Doherty from around 15 yards.
The Airtricity XI rallied after the break as Daniel Lafferty was denied by Cervi after more good work from Kearns.
Celtic doubled their advantage with 20 minutes left as Murphy stroked home from the penalty spot after Danny Ventra was guilty of the clearest handball you will see all season.
With Airtricity somewhat deflated Hooper got in on the act and twice in the final five minutes produced smart finishes to put the gloss on a polished enough Celtic performance.
It was left to Stokes to conclude what he’d started in the capital as he scored the pick of the game’s goals with a neat curling effort that went in via the near post.

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