CELTIC triumphed 3-2 over Whalsay in the Manson Cup Final on Saturday in an entertaining game before a rowdy crowd at the Gilbertson Park.
With both sides showing several changes from the Madrid Cup Final in early June this promised to be a much closer game.
Whalsay were without regular keeper Grant Thomson and long-term casualties Colin Anderson and Robert Geddes while Celtic welcomed back Joe Leask, Jordan Hunter and Brett Haining.
The deadlock was broken when Ross Moncrieff played a clever pass inside the Whalsay right back and Ryan Grant ran on to score low in the corner.
And with half time approaching Celtic produced the move of the match. Jordan Webb found Ryan Grant wide on the left and his early cross was smacked home by Leask from the edge of the penalty area.
The second half did not start well for the isles side as they lost Connor Muchmore to an ankle injury after a late tackle from Moncrieff which went unpunished; he was replaced by Anthony Shearer.
Allister Johnson shot just wide from a Ross Irvine flick and then from a corner Whalsay pulled a goal back. Colin Leask picked up a loose clearance and his mishit shot was well controlled by Laurence Pearson as he turned neatly and placed the ball into the corner.
Celtic’s response came when Moncrieff’s driving run and inviting cross was cleared for a corner and the same player was on hand to score with a brave diving header in the middle of the six yard box when the ball came across. The Whalsay defence were guilty of leaving it to each other.
The game then became a bit feisty with both Gary Jamieson and Jordan Hunter being booked for late tackles. Whalsay increased the pressure and Paul Grant did well with a double save, although it turned out that Irvine was offside for the second.
Minutes later the same player latched onto a Johnson chip and calmly placed the ball home form the edge of the area.
With 10 minutes to go Whalsay almost took the game to extra time when a vicious left foot drive from Irvine took a slight deflection on to the post. A minute later and Celtic could have sown it up as Moncrieff bulleted another header from a corner against the post and the ball was scrambled clear.
It was Celtic’s first trophy since 2001 and the first time they have won the Manson Cup since 1996.
Overall, Celtic just deserved their win on the basis of their first half performance and the fact that they had the outstanding player on the park in Ross Moncrieff, who must have impressed county manager John Johnson in his midfield role. Whalsay must be credited for their fightback in the second half and will consider themselves unfortunate not to have taken the game into extra time.