Celtic sweep young Hibs aside in Youth Cup semi-final

Hibs development coach Joe McBride
Hibs development coach Joe McBride
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Hibernian’s Development Squad crashed out of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup as Celtic coasted to a 6-0 victory in their semi-final in Greenock.

Celtic scored four goals in 13 first-half minutes as Luke Donnelly started and ended the mortally wounding spree with Fiacre Kelleher and Rory Currie scoring between his strikes.

Donnelly added a further two after the break as Celtic deservedly ran out as hugely comfortable winners and go on to face Rangers in the final.

The hosts began strongly, but Hibs had the first effort as Ben Stirling’s low drive forced Jordan Hart into a save with Lewis Allan’s follow-up header landing on the roof of the net.

This only prompted Celtic to tighten their grip on the game and from the 19th to the 32nd minute they choked the life out of Joe McBride’s team.

Donnelly’s first came as Sam Wardrop picked him out in the box, he shimmied and left himself the easy task of rolling past a wrong-footed Kleton Perntreou.

On 21 minutes Kelleher headed over Perntreou and into the net from Calum Waters’ free-kick, before Currie found the back of the net in the 24th minute from Wardrop’s cross.

The first-half scoring was complete as Kieran Tierney saw his shot parried out to Donnelly, the forward thumped an effort in off the underside of the bar as Hibs crumbled.

It never got better for the visitors in the second half as Celtic controlled the game from start to finish and they got a fifth on the hour mark as Donnelly secured his hat-trick by tapping into an empty net from Wardrop’s saved effort.

Fifteen minutes later Waters’ free-kick hit the bar and Donnelly was there to tap in his fourth, and Celtic’s sixth, to complete the scoring.

McBride, U20 Development Coach at Hibs, expressed his dissatisfaction following the mauling in Greenock, giving credit to Celtic’s dominant performance in the process.

He said: “It was very disappointing. We said to them before the game that Celtic will be a good side and if they do go one up it was important that we stay in the game, which we unfortunately didn’t manage to do.

“We went one down, within two minutes it was two and shortly after three, then four – you can’t do that against anybody. Celtic were terrific tonight, absolutely terrific, and we were poor, I’m disappointed we didn’t really give them a game.”

His side overcame SPFL Development League champions Aberdeen at Pittodrie, as well as Kilmarnock and Queen’s Park at Easter Road to reach this stage.

McBride was, however, adamant that his players had not wasted their efforts in the cup at the semi-final stage with a lacklustre performance, which improved slightly in the second half, but again he credited that too Celtic taking it easy.

He said: “The game was done at half-time – 4-0 down to Celtic at the break – you’re not coming back from that. From there on out it was about damage limitation, they’ve come off the gas a bit because they are four up, the second half was better, but the damage was done in the first half.

“The effort from the boys has not gone to waste, we reached the semi-final which is ultimately one short of where we want to be. The run was a difficult one as we played away to Aberdeen and at home to Kilmarnock but obviously this one was just a step too far for us.”

Hibernian: Perntreou, Dunsmore, Waugh, Martyniuk, McGregor, Stirling, Sinclair, Martin (Breen, 87), Allan, Hendry, Duthie (Watson, 45). Unused substitutes: Brennan, Smith, Shaw.