(Napier 19, own goal 22, Ross 35, Ewens 43)
Stirling University 1
A strong first-half performance by Celtic gave them a very comfortable 4-0 half-time lead. Stirling University came back strongly in the second half but the Hoops finished clear 4-1 winners, with goals from Jamie-Lee Napier, Natalie Ross and Sarah Ewens augmented by a University own-goal.
It was all-out attack from Celtic in the opening exchanges, with Napier and Ewens lively on the flanks and the industrious Kirsty Howat causing the Stirling defence many anxious moments.
There was an inevitability about the first goal which came after 19 minutes, with Napier on hand to score from point-blank range after good work by Ewens on the left.
Although the University was on the back foot most of the time, Celtic keeper Megan Cunningham had to look lively on two occasions as she dashed from her goal-line and bravely smothered the ball at attackers’ feet.
Celtic kept the pressure on and three minutes after the opener a swinging Ewens cross was sliced into her own net by a harassed University defender to put the Hoops in a commanding position. Celtic suffered a blow when striker Howat was forced off through injury, and she was replaced by Maddie Futon.
After 35 minutes Celtic doubled their lead. Another Heather Richards corner was again met by Ross, and this time she headed home. Just before half time Ewens made it 4-0 from close in and the lead for the Hoops reflected their control of the match.
At the interval Celtic replaced centre-back Courtney Whyte with Alex Middleton. The changes to the personnel appeared to make no difference to Celtic’s command of the game in the second period.
Gradually, however, Stirling began to find their feet and were giving as good as they got, with their energetic pressing knocking Celtic out of their stride. Chances began to be created by the visitors and it was no shock when they scored in 70 minutes when Fullar burst through on her own and scored with confidence.
Celtic will be more than satisfied with the win, however, which consolidated their position in third place in the league, now four points ahead of Stirling.
CELTIC: Cunningham, Rafferty, Whyte (Middleton), McCulloch (Fitzsimmons), Connor (Knox), Clark, Ross, Richards, Ewens, Howat (Fulton), Napier.
Sub not used Gibson.
Report & Picture: Celtic FC