McGeouch (35) Fraser (43)
- Match reports
- 07 November 2011 21:58
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Celtic's young high flyers proved just too strong for City at Celtic Park as the Blues' bid to kick-start their NextGen Series campaign was caught cold on a chilly Glasgow night.
In-form Dylan McGeouch and Marcus Fraser, who starred in the seniors' Europa League tie against Rennes, both celebrated their elevation with crucial first-half strikes for Celtic.
And even though Albert Rusnak cracked in a 25-yarder past Robbie Thomson to raise City hopes of salvaging their first point, Celtic held on to complete a double over the Blues.
McGeouch had been outstanding in the Scots' 4-2 win at Hyde last month, when City's second home game of the tournament revealed Celtic to be formidable opponents in their first "Battle of Britain".
This result left Andy Welsh's below-strength team to mull over a fifth succesive defeat in the competition, with just the visit of Marseille on 24 November to gain some face-saving group points.
The City defence, breached four times by leaders Barcelona last time out, was short of regular trio Karim Rekik, Freddie Veseli and goalkeeper Eirik Johansen, all called up for international duty.
He needed to marshall City's rearguard with Celtic anxious to repeat that Ewen Field victory, and although Jordy Hiwula had one good chance it was the Scots who hit the post early on.
McGeouch, clearly in form and buoyed by his recent promotion, was a thorn in their side as the eager Celtic side, urged on by a decent crowd, pinned the Blues in their own half.
He fired one effort over the bar and then saw defender Ellis Plummer deflect his next attempt.
But it was the Celtic midfielder who made the breakthrough after 35 minutes, and Marcus Fraser doubled their advantage two minutes before the interval with a neat far-post finish.
The 66th-minute retaliation by Rusnak (pictured below) hauled City back into the game to spark a renewed effort from the young Blues and Adam Drury went close to an equaliser, but their NextGen Series duck remains to be broken.