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Hoops edge past Ayr to seal League Cup glory

Ayr United 1

Nisbet 80

Celtic FC 2

Lafferty 64, Donnelly 92
  • Final Result: Ayr United 1-2 Celtic FC (AET)
  • Sunday, 18 May 2014
  • Somerset Park
  • Under 19´s
  • SPFL League Cup - Final

Alisdair Morrison | YFS West Region Journalist

Celtic sealed victory in the SPFL U19 League Cup Final over Ayr United thanks to a Luke Donnelly goal early in extra-time at Somerset Park on Sunday. It is the young Hoop’s third trophy of the season, having also won the U19 League title and Glasgow Cup.
 
Despite Ayr having the home advantage, it was Celtic who started the brighter team and almost took an early lead after only a few minutes. 
 
Innes Murray got down the wing to send in a tempting cross which was almost turned into the goal by Ayr’s Jackson Longridge. Keeper Shaun Newman managed to react well to tip the ball onto the post and Ayr survived the early scare.
 
Celtic kept their bright start up, with Mark Hill having an effort from just outside the box after a poor clearance from the Ayr defence. Ryan Caird was next to try his luck, but could only find the wrong side of the post after a nice pass from Regan Hendry.
 
After a sluggish start, Ayr grew into the match and found themselves with the better chances late in the first half.
 
Michael Wardrop had an effort on goal blocked by Celtic goalkeeper Connor McCabe. Then it was the turn of Ayr forward Ryan Nisbet to test the keeper, but McCabe was proving a stubborn figure between the sticks.
 
Nisbet had another opportunity to get a shot on target, but Celtic defender Jamie McCart did ever so well to get in front of the striker’s powerful dig.
 
The first half was proving to be a war of attrition, with a stalemate inevitable at the break.
 
Both sides had another chance to go ahead before the interval though as Murray saw an ambitious effort soar over the bar before Ayr’s James Finlay prodded the ball just wide of the post at the other end.
  • Half Time:
  • Ayr United
  • 0-0
  • Celtic FC
Ayr came flying out the blocks after the break, as Jai Holland managed to take the ball round McCabe before striking the post with an effort from a difficult angle.
 
And Ayr had another chance not long after as Nisbet fired a very decent effort from just outside the box, though McCabe did well to get behind the ball.
 
After seemingly leaving their wits in the changing room with the half-time oranges, Celtic got a foothold on the game again and having a flurry of efforts. Substitute Connor McLaren couldn’t find the target though after some poor defensive clearing from United.
 
The deadlock was finally broken in the 64th minute, and it was Celtic who took the lead through Ciaran Lafferty.
 
Some great work from McLaren down the right produced a fizzing cross into the area which was headed past Newman by the expectant Lafferty.
 
Ayr came straight back at them though, and star performer Nisbet saw a cracking effort from the edge of the box tipped onto the bar by McCabe.
 
With around ten minutes remaining in the match, it was Nisbet who notched the leveller for United. The striker managed to dodge his way past the Celtic defence before firing into the back of the net.
 
Both teams were clearly not intent on playing an extra half hour and pressed on to grab the winner.
 
Celtic had the best chance to win the match in normal time as Lafferty passed up a gilt-edged chance to secure the victory. The striker was sent through on goal by Donnelly, but couldn’t manage to push the ball past Newman.
  • Full Time:
  • Ayr United
  • 1-1
  • Celtic FC

Extra-time was required to separate these two lively teams, and it was in the first minute that Celtic found the winner they craved as Donnelly calmly slotted past Newman after picking up possession in the box.

United came back at Celtic yet again, but couldn’t manage to push the game onto penalties as Holland spurned a golden opportunity to equalise from just a few yards out, firing straight into the hands of McCabe.

The home side had another few shots blocked comfortably by McCabe and was called into vital action from a free-kick towards the end of extra-time.

Ayr couldn’t find that crucial leveller though, and it was party time for the young Hoops as captain Jamie McCart hoisted the trophy into the air to spark celebrations.

Final Result: Final Result: Ayr United 1-2 Celtic FC (AET)

Lineups

Ayr United
Celtic FC

1. Shaun Newman
2. Andy Muir
3. Jackson Longridge
4. Josh McArthur
5. Craig McCracken
6. Michael Wardrop
7. James Finlay 
8. Stevie McCreadie
9. Jai Holland
 11. Peter McGill
12. Ryan Nisbet
14. David Richardson
15. Ross Regan
16. Craig McGuffie
 21. Calum McMaster

1. Connor McCabe
2. Aaron Comrie
3. Kieran Tierney
4. Jamie McCart
5. Josh Kerr
6. Mark Hill
7. Ryan Caird
8. Innes Murray
9. Ciaran Lafferty
10. Mark Donnelly
11. Regan Hendry
12. Connor McLaren
14. Sean McIntosh
15. Theo Archibald
16. Ross Doohan 
17. Daniel Higgins

Star Player
Ayr United
Celtic FC
Jamie Nisbet without doubt was the star of the show, and could have had a hat-trick on another day.
The Celtic team played very well as a whole, but keeper Connor McCabe kept was a rock at the back that allowed the rest of the teamn to flourish.
Magic Moment
Ayr United
Celtic FC
Nisbet's rasping effort that was tipped onto the bar would have been a goal fit for any cup final.
Connor McCabe's immaculate save from Nisbet's drive to push the ball onto the bar came at a crucial time in the match.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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