Lerwick football rivals Spurs and Celtic, most people’s tip for honours this season, will meet in the final of the Madrid Cup, having disposed of Thistle and Whitedale respectively in Friday’s semi-finals.
Whitedale 0, Celtic 2
Celtic set up a cup final against old rivals Spurs with a comfortable semi-final win over Whitedale at Strom.
The Lerwick side started brightest, Finn Watt just failing to meet a Ryan Wood cross before heading a free kick straight to Whitedale goalkeeper Matthew Saunders.
James Aitken drove wide from distance before the home side managed their first real spell of pressure, but failed to create any clear chances.
Shane Jamieson and especially Robert Smith in central defence for Celtic played a large part in this, reading the game brilliantly and frustrating Whitedale’s attackers.
It wasn’t long before Celtic were back on top, Aitken hitting the side netting and Watt hitting a shot on the turn at the goalkeeper.
While Celtic had far more of the game, they were struggling to hit their best form and create good chances.
Jamieson shot harmlessly wide from distance, before Roy Wood put a couple of efforts wide and Watt failed to hit an acrobatic effort cleanly.
With the sun shining and offering hope that the football season might finally get back to a normal routine, Whitedale came into the second half with a greater positivity.
Having seen an early effort go wide before Saunders saved from Wood, a break down the right drew out Celtic keeper Paul Grant. Richard Sinclair put in a cross-shot which forced Jamieson into a sprawling clearance over the bar.
Celtic responded well, Jamieson playing a through ball to Wood on the right, then breaking forward and meeting Wood’s cross on the dive, forcing a good save from Saunders.
From the subsequent corner Neil Fenwick evaded his marker and put a looping header into the net for a deserved Celtic lead.
Whitedale attempted to respond, Ryan Jozwik curling the ball wide, but Celtic’s defence remained stoic and kept them quiet.
At the other end Aitken broke free and had a solo effort saved, then saw his free kick deflected and parried by Saunders. Celtic maintained the pressure in that attack, with Jamieson meeting an eventual cross to plant a diving header into the corner and doubling the advantage.
With Whitedale visibly tiring in the last five minutes, David Wiseman was booked for a late foul on Aitken. Celtic had control, and could have extended their lead, substitute Lowrie Simpson having a number of chances.
The score stayed at 2-0, however, Celtic well deserving of their place in the final.
Spurs 3, Thistle 1
A hat trick by the prolific Paul Molloy was the difference between the sides, with Aaron Leask on target for the Jags.
• For more reports see Friday’s Shetland Times.