Spurs claim Manson Cup after hotly-contested match

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The victorious Spurs team with the Manson Cup. Photo: Kevin Jones

The victorious Spurs team with the Manson Cup. Photo: Kevin Jones

Spurs bagged their second piece of silverware of the senior football season, defeating Celtic 2-1 in the Manson Cup final at Gilbertson Park yesterday.

Once again Paul Molloy was the standout for the Lerwick side, scoring both goals. The bustling striker had grabbed a hat trick at the end of May when Spurs beat Scalloway 3-0 in the Madrid Cup final.

The game's two outstanding players, Celtic's Joel Bradley and Spurs striker Paul Molloy, challenge for the ball. Photo: Kevin Jones

The game’s two outstanding players, Celtic’s Joel Bradley and Spurs striker Paul Molloy, challenge for the ball. Photo: Kevin Jones

Celtic will be mightily aggrieved at events in the last 10 minutes of the match, however, as they had two fairly convincing penalty claims turned down before Spurs broke away for Molloy’s clincher.

It was Celtic who took the lead midway through the first half when two returning students combined from a free kick. James Aitken played the ball through and centre back Robert Smith directed a well-placed header past Spurs keeper Grant Wood.

Although enjoying a lot of possession Spurs huffed and puffed for large parts of the game, playing the long-ball tactics which were dealt with well by a Celtic defence in which Joel Bradley was outstanding.

Gradually after half-time the league champions worked their way back into the game, and when the equaliser finally arrived in the 62nd minute it was probably deserved.

A good move down the Spurs right ended with Sam Ward slipping the ball to Molloy and he rifled his angled shot into the roof of the net.

After that it was all Celtic, piling on the pressure and coming close on several occasions. With 12 minutes or so remaining they had three successive penalty claims, two for handball and one for a blatant tug on a striker.

The game's big moment of controversy. Celtic players argue with referee Michael Grant about disputed penalty claims while their Spurs in the background celebrate Paul Molloy's winner. Photo: Kevin Jones

The game’s big moment of controversy. Celtic players argue with referee Michael Grant about disputed penalty claims while their Spurs in the background celebrate Paul Molloy’s winner. Photo: Kevin Jones

Referee Michael Grant was having none of it, however, and there was no flag either from near-side linesman Robbie Goudie. With the Celtic contingent still arguing Spurs broke upfield and Molloy went straight through the middle to bury the ball into the net past Celtic keeper Paul Grant.

Celtic had one or two more chances, Smith heading just over and also having a long-range well held by Wood, but Spurs held out for the narrowest of victories.

It was a highly combative and at times bruising match, if lacking somewhat in the skill factor, with Celtic left thinking what might have been. Bradley was their best performer while Molloy once again did the business for Spurs.

• See full report and more photos in Friday’s Shetland Times.

About Jim Tait

Jim Tait is news editor at The Shetland Times.

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