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Nesbitt the hat-trick hero as emphatic Celtic claim the Little Big Shot Youth Cup

Celtic FC 5

Wardrop 20' Nesbitt 26' 71' 73' (pen), Donnelly 32'

Rangers FC 2

Waters (OG) 21' Dykes 89'
  • Thursday, 21 May 2015
  • Hampden Park
  • Under 20´s
  • Little Big Shot Youth Cup

Alasdair Hooper | YFS Dundee Senior Reporter
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Celtic are the 2015 Little Big Shot Youth Cup champions after an emphatic 5-2 victory against rivals Rangers. Sam Wardrop opened the scoring before an unfortunate own goal from Calum Waters leveled the scores. Further goals from Aidan Nesbitt and Luke Donnelly saw Celtic go in at half time 3-1 up. In the second half Nesbitt added two more goals, one from the penalty spot, to complete his hat-trick and see Celtic reach a dominant 5-1 score line. Dylan Dykes pulled a goal back for Rangers one minute before the final whistle but it was too little too late.
Celtic began the half stronger, dominating possession of the ball. In the third minute they generated their first chance of the game when the ball fell to the feet of Connor McManus. The Celtic captain’s shot, however, was blocked by Rangers’ centre half Luka Garsparotto.
In the seventh minute Rangers had their first opportunity at goal. Darren Ramsay picked up possession of the ball 25 yards out and bulleted an effort at the target. The ball flew just over the bar, much to the relief of Celtic ‘keeper Jordan Hart.
Rangers started to turn the tables, in terms of control of the game, as they began to create more chances for themselves. In the 12th minute of the match a Ramsay corner landed onto the head of Garsparotto. The Rangers number five managed to get his header on target but it was blocked by the Celtic bodies that had rushed to meet him. 
Shortly after Celtic’s Hart had a heart stopping moment (no pun intended) as he was nearly dispossessed by Ramsay. With the number ten bearing down on him he managed to get the ball away from any imminent danger.
As the game neared the quarter of an hour mark Garsparotto came close again via a Ramsay corner kick. This time the kick was delivered to the head of Craig Halkett before finding its way to Garsparotto. The centre back’s effort, however, was well blocked by Connor McManus.
With 17 minutes on the clock Rangers came agonizingly close to opening the scoring. Once again it was a Ramsay corner that proved to be the catalyst as the ball landed on the head of Kevin Mbabu. The midfielder’s header flew inches over the crossbar, a chance that Rangers would come to regret not taking.
Just three minutes later Celtic went 1-0 up. Kieran Tierney delivered a corner into the Rangers penalty area and, following a bit of pinball, the ball was prodded home on the goal line by Sam Wardrop.  
Within a minute Rangers were back on level terms following a bizarre own goal. Calum Waters looked to head the ball back to his goalkeeper to calm the impending Rangers pressure. However, the Celtic left back misjudged the position of Hart and the header bounced past the goalkeeper and into the net.
Following this set back Celtic reassumed control of the game and regained the lead on the 26th minute. What a goal it was too. Aidan Nesbitt picked up the ball out on the right flank and expertly evaded three Rangers challenges as he drove towards goal. As he got closer to the target he unleashed a fierce strike straight into the bottom left hand corner past Liam Kelly. A fantastic way to go 2-1 up.
In the 31st minute Rangers came close to securing an equaliser. Ryan Sinnamon delivered a super cross from the right wing, which found Jamie Mills inside the Celtic penalty area. The Rangers number three attempted to volley at goal but his effort went wide of the post.
A minute later Celtic were enjoying a two goal advantage. Nesbitt turned from goal scorer to provider as he fired in a great cross, from the right, directed towards Luke Donnelly in the Rangers box. The Celtic number 9 took one touch to control and then another to take the ball away from the rangers defence in an excellent show of skill. He then rounded that all off in the perfect manner, by slotting the ball into the back of the net through the keeper’s legs.
Four minutes prior to half time a Celtic mistake very nearly led to a goal for Rangers. Eoghan O’Connell misplaced a pass and it was intercepted by Ramsay about 25 yards from goal. He opted to shoot straight away but it was comfortably claimed by Hart. Soon afterwards the half time whistle went and Rangers were left having to come up with a way to get back into this cup final. 
  • Half Time:
  • Celtic FC
  • 3-1
  • Rangers FC
Despite Rangers making two half time substitutions Celtic continued their first half momentum into the second. As the game entered its 52nd minute Luke Donnelly successfully played in Paul McMullan. The Celtic number seven’s effort on goal was expertly blocked by Garsparotto, who had rushed out to meet the strike. This left Liam Kelly able to pick up the pieces in claiming the loose ball.
Just moments later Celtic came incredibly close to adding a fourth goal. Donnelly was the provider, once again, as he put in an excellent low delivery right across the face of goal. Sliding in at the far post was Jamie Lindsay who was just inches away from making contact with the ball. Unfortunately for him he couldn’t connect and the ball went out for a goal kick.
In the 58th minute McMullen came close again after linking up well with Donnelly once more. The tall front man teed up McMullen beautifully and, following a neat first touch, he swiveled and got a powerful shot away. His aim was slightly off, however, and the ball flew just wide of the post.
As Celtic continued to dominate the match Rangers attempted to pull a goal back through a speculative effort. Fraser Aird picked up the ball and took a shot from an improbable range. The connection was not as sweet as he would have wished it and the ball ended up sailing high and wide of the mark.
66 minutes in Celtic were awarded a free kick on the right flank after Dylan Dykes brought down McMullen. Kieran Tierney was the man who stepped up to take it and he curled his delivery towards the far post. Fearing it would creep into the top corner Kelly was called upon to parry the ball out of play for a corner.
Five minutes later Celtic appeared to have one hand on the trophy as they scored goal number four for themselves. Waters played the ball into Donnelly, via an excellent dummy from McMullen. Donnelly turned and spotted the run of Nesbitt out on the right and he executed a pinpoint accurate through ball for him. With just the ‘keeper to beat Nesbitt opted for power and blasted the ball past Kelly and into the right of the goal. It was a fantastic piece of build up play from the Celtic youngsters. 
Just two minutes later and the game looked all but done as the referee awarded Celtic a penalty after a challenge from Halkett. Nesbitt stepped up to take the spot kick and coolly converted into the bottom right hand corner of the net to seal his hat-trick. 
Despite their unassailable lead Celtic, much to their credit, continued to attack. With 80 minutes now showing on the clock McMullen was played through on goal once again. In an attempt to claim what would have been a very well deserved goal for himself he opted to try and chip the ball over Kelly. The Rangers ‘keeper was alert to it, however, and managed to claw the ball away and out for a corner. Nesbitt took the resulting kick and McMullen met it at the near post. His attempted flick on went just wide of the post.
With five minutes remaining of the game Rangers came close to scoring a conciliation goal after Ryan Hardie latched onto a long ball, played over the top of the Celtic back line. Hardie managed to get a firm low strike away but Hart had come racing out to meet the Rangers’ number nine and successfully made the save.
In the 89th minute Rangers did get a conciliation goal, but it was too little too late from their point of view. Hardie managed to drive into the 18-yard box, from the left, and was able to cut the ball back to Dykes, who was lurking on the penalty spot. His initial shot was blocked by Stuart Findlay but he successfully managed to dispatch the rebound to make the score 5-2.
There was still time for one more effort as Donnelly came close to notching a second for himself in added time. He managed to pick up the ball within the Rangers box swiveled and took his shot. Halkett was on hand, however, to block the strike and the ball bounced away from danger.
Shortly afterwards the referee concluded the game and Celtic were confirmed Little Big Shot Youth Cup winners. Both sides did exceptionally well to reach this stage but, on the day, Celtic ran out deserved winners. Their play, and their passing, was just that bit more fluid and crisp. Scoring five goals in a cup final is no mean feat and this side should be lauded for being able to do just that. No doubt the young hoops will be celebrating long into the night, and in the coming days, as they reflect on one very successful cup campaign.   
  • Full Time:
  • Celtic FC
  • 5-2
  • Rangers FC


Celtic FC
Rangers FC
1. Jordan Hart
2. Sam Wardrop
3. Calum Waters
4. Stuart Findlay
5. Eoghan O’Connell
6. Connor McManus
7. Paul McMullan
8. Jamie Lindsay
9. Luke Donnelly
10. Aidan Nesbitt
11. Kieran Tierney
12. Jamie McCart
13. Colin McCabe
14. Fiacre Kelleher
15. Calvin Miller
16. Mark Hill
1. Liam Kelly
2. Ryan Sinnamon
3. Jamie Mills
4. Craig Halkett
5. Luka Garsparotto
6. Kevin Mbabu
7. Fraser Aird
8. Tom Walsh
9. Ryan Hardie
10. Darren Ramsay
11. Ross McCrorie
12. Dylan Dykes
14. Scott Roberts
15. Jamie Burrows
16. Daniel Stoney
21. Robby McCrorie
Star Player
Celtic FC
Rangers FC
Aidan Nesbitt – A hat-trick in a cup final really can’t be ignored, especially when you consider the quality of his first two goals. Was excellent throughout and looks like a real talent. I presume this is pretty much how he dreamt the final would go the night before.
Ryan Hardie – Worked his socks off until the very end and had one superb assist for Dykes’ goal. Came close to scoring a couple of times himself.
Magic Moment
Celtic FC
Rangers FC
Nesbitt’s first goal – Toss up between his first and his second goal for this award. The second was a great team effort but the first wins it for his excellent solo effort. Quite a few can’t beat one defender and score, let alone three.
Dykes’ goal – Granted the goal didn’t mean too much but there was some lovely build up play to it. Ryan Hardie’s cross from the left was spot on.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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