Dunfermline Athletic

2013: Celtic 3 Dunfermline 1

Memorable Match #43
SFA Youth Cup Final
Hampden Park
Wednesday 1st May 2013

Dunfermline U20s took on Celtic in the final of the 2012-2013 season`s SFA Youth Cup and this happened against the turmoiled backdrop of the club going into administration and having to field a number of their Under 20s side in their First Division games.

The young Fifers had seen off Ross County, Montrose andInverness Caley Thistle to reach the semi final where they saw off St Mirren to earn their trip to the National Stadium. Celtic had disposed of Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock en route to this final.

John Potter`s Pars had nine players who had all played for the first team in the last month and the starting eleven was very typical of that deployed throughout the Youth Cup run. There can be very few occasions in their Youth Cup campaigns that a Celtic youth team would have faced opponents with such first team experience.

Nevertheless Celtic were the holders for the last three seasons and would be formidable opponents. Although cool, it was a nice bright spring night in south Glasgow for what was a big event in the career of all the players who would grace the Hampden pitch.

A green flare was set off by the Celtic fans as the teams entered the arena and even when the smoke screen revealed all their fans, it seemed that just as many had travelled through from Fife. The Pars kicked off through Blair Henderson and Allan Smith and the early play was all Dunfermline`s.

The Celtic defence looked very shaky when Henderson put them under immediate pressure. Next Smith had the opposition concerned A Grant Munro cross in nine minutes set up Scott Mercer, eight yards out for the first real effort on goal but a defender cleared at the left post.

There was a Celtic chance three minutes later when left winger Paul George got in a cross that Ryan Goodfellow could only parry. Lewis Martin`s sliding tackle was needed to thwart a surging run.

Alex Whittle required treatment on 19 minutes before Ross Millen pumped a ball into the Celtic six yard box that keeper Leonardo Fasan held. At the other end a well worked corner ended up with Australian Jackson Irvine testing Goodfellow but he made a fantastic job of touching that over his crossbar.

When Whittle was forced to hobble off in 25 minutes another player with first team experience, Ross Drummond replaced him. Aged 19, `Drum` had a claim to now being the longest serving player at East End Park because he joined at U10 level. Chris Kane picked up his obligatory yellow card in 34th minute in a needless challenge just inside the Celtic half.

As the interval approached both sides were making careless passes and the play was less fluid than both coaches would have liked. Darnell Fisher crossed towards John Herron in the centre of the Pars box but Martin got just enough on it to prevent Celtic getting a good opportunity to break the deadlock.

When Mercer was squeezed out by Miller and Lindsay, Millen sent over the free kick for the big man at the back post but the offside flag was raised. Celtic threatened from a corner on the right but it had been a good showing from John Potter`s boys in the first 45.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Celtic 0

Celtic survived a Millen free kick and then a loose ball that Henderson could not capitalise on. Fisher was yellow carded in 49 minutes but when Millen sent over from the setpiece down beside the left corner flag, there was too much on the ball.

The Pars had a chance when Mercer`s cross was laid off by Henderson to Smith but his effort went over the bar. Then Celtic took the lead after Herron`s header came back off the left goalpost and Jamie LINDSAY drove home from 10 yards out. 0-1

Dunfermline reacted with Smith causing problems for the still brittle Celtic defence. Goodfellow held a Herron strike before from a Millen corner, Kane headed narrowly outside the right post.

A great move in 66 saw Munro feed Drummond on the counterattack and his pass to the right teed up Mercer but Fasan made a good job of parrying behind. That was Mercer`s last involvement as Potter withdrew him to bring on the fresh legs of Declan O`Kane. A 77 minute free kick earned by Smith, Millen`s delivery was good but was matched by the defence. The Pars pushed up and Celtic retreated but their defence was resilient.

Then eleven minutes from time a simple cross was met by Swedish striker ATAJIC and his header put the Hoops were two up. But the advantage was with them for just two minutes! Byrne fed SMITH and he beat two men as he made ground in the box to drill the ball past Fasan. 1-2.

Celtic introduced Denny JOHNSTONE in 83 minutes and within a minute he rose above Munro to head back across Goodfellow to find the inside of the sidenetting.

It had been a real contest and a very creditable performance from the Fifers who now need to recover to face Airdrie United on Saturday in possibly an even more important `cup final`. Congratulations to Celtic`s U20s who lift a league and cup double.

The Pars players went over to the west end of the National Stadium to acknowledge their fans before a sturdy Potter debrief. The losing team went up to receive their very well deserved medals.

They had more than matched the triple Youth Cup holders but there was a more important game for the club in the grander scheme of things on Saturday against Airdrie United. Potts said:-

“It is a major game, they have to dust themselves down and be ready to go again. The thing about sport is that you always get another chance and that comes on Saturday."

CELTIC: Leonardo Fasan; Darnell Fisher, Michael Miller, Jackson Irvine, Eoghan O`Connell, Stuart Findlay, John Herron (c)(Patrik Twardzik 75), Callum McGregor, Bahrudin Atajic (Paul McMullan 93), Jamie Lindsay, Paul George (Denny Johnstone 83).
SUBS NOT USED: Patrick McNulty, Jordan Hart (GK),
SCORERS: Lindsay (53) , Atajic (79), Johnstone (84).
YELLOW CARD: Fisher (49), Herron (63), McGregor (82)

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Goodfellow; Ross Millen, Kerr Young, Lewis Martin, Grant Munro; Scott Mercer (Declan O`Kane 68), Chris Kane (Scott Gray 86), Shaun Byrne, Alex Whittle (Ross Drummond 25); Blair Henderson, Allan Smith.
SUBS NOT USED: Andy Ritchie, Sean Robertson (GK)
SCORERS: Smith (81).
YELLOW CARD: Kane (34), Young (69), Drummond (86), Millen (87).

REFEREE: Scott Lambie

NEXT MATCH: (away) SPL U20 League v St Johnstone
Tuesday 7tth May 2013

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