nib Stadium was transformed into a sea of purple and green as a bumper crowd of over 15,000 turned out to watch Glory’s pre-season showdown with Scottish giants Celtic.
Perth Glory 0-2 Celtic (Half-time 0-1 )
Saturday 9th July 2011
Referee: Peter Green
nib Stadium was transformed into a sea of purple and green on Saturday as a bumper crowd of over 15,000 turned out to watch Glory-s pre-season showdown with Scottish giants Celtic.
Goals from Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew ultimately steered the visitors to a 2-0 victory, but the hosts more than played their part in a keenly-fought contest.
A stirring rendition of Celtic-s anthem “You-ll Never Walk Alone” saw both sets of supporters in full voice moments before the teams took to the field accompanied by a Scottish pipe band and the familiar sounds clearly helped the visitors feel at home.
Starting strongly they penned Glory inside their own half for much of the opening quarter, with Kris Commons making plenty of early inroads down the left flank.
Anthony Stokes twice threatened in the first ten minutes before Danny Vukovic was called into action, producing a stunning save to deny Mark Wilson-s powerful header from a quickly-taken Commons corner.
The green and white tide continued to flow forward, however and on 16 minutes they made the breakthrough. Glen Loovens- long punt from the back caught the Glory back four a touch flat-footed and Gary Hooper showed the kind of accomplished finishing that earned him 22 goals in all competitions last season by calmly side-footing past the helpless Vukovic.
Rather than open the floodgates, however, the opening goal seemed to jar the hosts into life and with Liam Miller starting to impose himself against his former club, they began to ask questions of the Bhoys- defence.
On 25 minutes Miller created what proved to be Glory-s best chance of the half, cleverly chipping a 25 metre free-kick over the wall and into the path of Shane Smeltz, but after successfully eluding his marker, the Kiwi striker miscued and the opportunity went begging.
Then shortly before the interval Miller again showed his class to bamboozle several Celtic defenders and get a shot away from just outside the box that looped narrowly over the crossbar and into the ranks of green and white-clad fans behind the goal.
Perth Glory 0-1 Celtic
Ian Ferguson opted against making a raft of changes at the break, only introducing Steven McGarry and Adam Taggart for Liam Miller and Shane Smeltz respectively and he saw his side carve out the first opportunity of the second period.
There seemed little danger when Adam Hughes picked up the ball some 30 metres out from goal, but the combative midfielder unleashed a thumping drive that had Celtic ‘keeper Lukasz Zaluska scrambling to his right to palm over the bar.
Celtic-s response to that early scare, however, was swift and clinical. Substitute Ki Sung Yung whipped in a pinpoint free-kick from wide out left and Charlie Mulgrew climbed highest to glance an unstoppable header past Vukovic and into the top corner of the net.
Frustrated by Celtic-s high defensive line, the home sides struggled to force their way back into the contest, although Taggart and fellow substitute Alex Caniglia worked tirelessly to keep their vastly more experienced opponents on their toes.
Taggart twice got the better of Kelvin Wilson in dangerous areas and got a shot away, but neither effort troubled Zaluska.
Caniglia then went close to bagging a dream goal on two occasions as Glory finished on the front foot. On 87 minutes, the youngster flashed a low drive narrowly wide after the Bhoys had failed to clear their lines and on the stroke of full-time he shrugged off the attentions of Loovens, but just failed to get a meaningful headed connection on an inch-perfect corner delivered from the right by Todd Howarth.
Taggart also went close to claiming a consolation goal deep into stoppage time, narrowly failing to convert a through ball from McGarry before referee Peter Green brought the curtain down on a clash from which Glory will have taken plenty of positives both on and off the field.
Perth Glory: 1. Danny VUKOVIC, 2. Josh MITCHELL, 3. Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 7. Jacob BURNS (25. Blamo QUAQUA 85-), 8. Adam HUGHES, 9. Shane SMELTZ (22. Adam TAGGART 46-), 10. Liam MILLER (14. Steven MCGARRY 46-), 12. Scott NEVILLE, 13. Travis DODD (15. Tommy AMPHLETT 83-), 17. Todd HOWARTH, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (26. Alex CANIGLIA 53-).
Celtic: 24. Lukasz ZALUSKA, 12. Mark WILSON (11. Cha DU-RI 46-), 17. Kelvin WILSON, 22.Glen LOOVENS, 21.Charlie MULGREW, 8.Scott BROWN (2. Adam MATTHEWS 83-), 33.Bayram KAYAL (13. Shaun MALONEY 33-), 16. Joe LEDLEY, 15. Kris COMMONS (18. Ki SUNG YUNG 46-), 10. Anthony STOKES (27. Daryl MURPHY 72-), 88. Gary HOOPER (20. Paddy MCCOURT 64-).
Scorers: Hooper 16-, Mulgrew 51-