(Littlejohn 35, Pullar 49 & 71, Richards 89)
St Johnstone 0
Celtic claimed their place in the second round of the League Cup in some style with a 4-0 victory over St Johnstone. A double from Nicole Pullar and a goal each from Ruesha Littlejohn and the in-form Heather Richards sealed the win, and the Hoops also had the luxury of failing to convert two penalties.
New signing, Josephine Giard from Germany was in the starting line-up, joined by centre-back Claire Crosbie, who was also making her first start.
The Hoops were in total control throughout the first half, with the game played almost wholly in the St Johnstone half. With the Saints defending in depth, though, Celtic found it difficult to make the breakthrough in spite of having the lion’s share of the ball.
The St Johnstone goalkeeper was called into serious action for the first time after 12 minutes when she dealt well with a dangerous cross from Richards, parrying the ball for a corner.
Kelly Clark, Richards and Littlejohn were working tirelessly in midfield and full back Keeva Keenan was constantly driving forward as strikers, Pullar and Giard were making good runs but space was tight.
In the 35th minute, Celtic were rewarded for their hard work as Richards sent in a wonderful, swinging cross from the right and Littlejohn timed her run and jump perfectly to head home via the post.The 1-0 lead was maintained until the break although a fine header from Clark struck the crossbar.
What appeared to be the perfect start to the second period came when the Hoops were awarded a penalty within two minutes. However, the opportunity to go further ahead was missed when debutante Giard’s shot struck the post, with no one able to follow up for the rebound.
Fortunately, the second goal came only a few minutes later when Pullar netted from a Colette Cavanagh delivery.
Celtic won a second penalty in the 53rd minute and this time the keeper saved Pullar’s spot kick. Littlejohn pounced on the rebound but the attempt struck the goalkeeper.
Clark and Georgie Rafferty then both hit the woodwork before Pullar made amends for her penalty miss with a cool finish on 71 minutes after good play by Giard.
The game was well won by this now, but there was still time for Richards to be rewarded for her fine afternoon’s play by adding a fourth goal on the stroke of full-time.
Celtic: Gibson, Keenan Middleton), Rafferty, Crosbie, Cavanagh (Connor), Clark, Richards, Adams, Littlejohn, Pullar, Giard (Donaldson). Subs not used Cunningham, McGonigle, Ewens.
Report & Picture: Celtic FC