The teams met a few weeks ago on the opening day of the season, resulting in a 2-2 draw. Westerlands were undefeated so far this season, whilst Celtic Academy has been growing in confidence each week.
Celtic started at a high tempo and from the opening minutes had the greater possession, forcing Westerlands to sit-in and try to frustrate them. Celtic played a lot of the opening period in the Westerlands half with full-backs McGonigle and Bonner pushing on in support of the Hoops when attacking.
Nice play in the midfield area provided some opportunities for Callaghan and Cairney in Westerlands’ penalty area but their goalkeeper dealt comfortably with both. Celtic continued to press and push Westerlands back and a long-range shot from Molloy from the midfield went narrowly wide, whilst a Cairney volley from just outside the 6-yard box following a corner found the side netting.
Westerlands began to recover and Celtic struggled with the away team’s build-up play. Westerlands were able to play out from the back into midfield but Molloy and Fulton continued to break up the attacks and start counterattacks.
The best chances fell to each team in the final few minutes of the first half. Westerlands had a shot from just outside the area deflected marginally wide. Then, from the resulting corner, Bonner intercepted a short pass at the edge of the penalty area and set Cairney on her way with a driven pass in behind the Westerlands defence. Cairney played a well-weighted pass into the path of Molley who struck a clean shot, although a defender made a last-ditch tackle to cut it out.
There was no score at half-time, with Celtic having had more of the possession and the better of the opportunities.
Celtic continued in the second half with more of the possession but Westerlands also played some nice football but never got the better of Nagle or Boyce in the Hoops back line.
A goal looked to be coming with Connor, Cairney and Molley continuing to cause Westerlands problems with their pace. The opening goal came after some nice passing sequences from right to left. Full-back Bonner gained possession and played a lofted, diagonal ball into the penalty area. The delivery caught out the goalkeeper and nestled in the top of the net.
Following the goal, Westerlands started to open up and began to create some chances of their own but goalkeeper Baillie dealt comfortably with shots from distance. Celtic always looked dangerous on the counterattack as Westerlands sought the equaliser.
A long ball from Celtic over the top allowed substitute Frew to chase but the recovering defender clipped her heels resulting in a Celtic penalty. Stewart stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
With literally the last kick of the ball, Westerlands scored a well-worked goal, but the final whistle sounded straight after and Celtic progressed to the next round of the League Cup.
The semifinal draw will be made later this week with Cumbernauld Colts, Renfrew and Hibernian also in the hat.
Coach Edward Gallagher: “The team was excellent and really put on a performance at Lennoxtown. We had drawn with Westerlands at the start of the season and the difference in the team from then to now is a real credit to the work they’ve put in at training and their desire to improve.
“Every player held her own against the experienced Westerlands players and some of the football played was a joy to watch.
“We look forward to the next round of the League Cup, but now get back to training and start to plan for FC Kilmarnock in the league this weekend.”
Celtic Academy: Baillie, McGonigle (Watson), Nagle, Boyce, Bonner, Molloy (Stewart), Fulton, Molley (Frew), Callaghan, Connor (Boyes), Cairney (Millar)
Reported by Celtic FC
Picture: Celtic FC