An Observer Posted October 8, 2005 Share Posted October 8, 2005 They mention him as being a Canadian...so lets cross our fingers that he and DeGuzman choose us. O'Brien stars for slick U19s Stephen Sullivan Scottish Premierleague Under-19s, Saturday October 1, 2005, Fauldhouse Juniors LIVINGSTON… 0 CELTIC… 4 O’Brien 28, 50, 84, Millar 29 Jim O’Brien’s hot streak in front of goal continued on Saturday as the under-19s signed off for a three-week international break with, arguably, their best performance of the season. There were certainly no shortage of parallels with the senior side’s own demolition of Livingston later the same afternoon and, like their first team counterparts, the quality of football produced by Willie McStay’s Bhoys steadily improved as the match wore on. Indeed, while O’Brien once again provided the cutting edge with a hat-trick that took to five his goal tally for the past three games, the youths’ in-form winger-turned-striker was anything but the only outstanding performer on a crisp Autumn morning in Fauldhouse. Among the others to excel was Darren O’Dea, who, with the ink still wet on his new three-year contract, gave a powerful and commanding performance at the heart of an impressive Hoops back four. The big Irishman even came close to celebrating his newly-signed deal with a rare goal after just minutes and, but for an excellent one-handed save from Thomas McGuigan in the Livingston goal, there was little doubt that O’Dea’s firmly struck 25 yard free-kick would have sneaked in at the far post. Nevertheless, there were few indications at this early stage that McStay’s side would win by such an emphatic margin, and Livvy – flying high in the league prior to this match – could, in fact, have snatched the opener three minutes later when Murray Davidson’s powerful volley was only just clawed away by the alert Scott Fox. Celtic remained the better team, but only just and, though McGuigan was again called upon soon after, this time to deny Paul McGowan after a neat display of ball juggling from the Hoops striker, there was little to suggest that, within the space of two minutes, the home side would be on the canvas. That it proved to be the case was due entirely to the pace and precision with which Celtic broke on two occasions. On the first, huge credit must go to O’Dea, who muscled his way into possession on the edge of his own box before launching an attack with a long ball over the top for O’Brien to chase. Livvy cried half-heartedly for off-side, but Celtic’s young striker had timed his run to perfection and, with pursuers trailing in his wake, he bore down on goal and, with the keeper advancing, fired the ball low and across McGuigan’s body into the bottom left-hand corner. If the Hoops’ first goal was a prime example of route one football at its best, their second was an absolute gem, intricately worked down the left flank in a series of slick and sharp first time passes. O’Brien, Jacob Lensky and Dean Richardson were all heavily involved, with Lensky breaking beyond the Livvy defence and firing over an inviting low cross that, though missed by McGowan in the centre, was gobbled up at the back post by Marc Millar, who drilled the ball through the legs of the shell-shocked keeper. A two-goal lead might have flattered Celtic at this stage, but they set about earning it after the break with some superb incisive attacking football that might have yielded a third goal just after the re-start had Millar squared the ball instead of firing into the side-netting from the angle of the box. Yet, within seconds, the points had been wrapped up by another excellent strike, carved out by some brilliant interplay between Richardson and Lensky on the left and finished by O’Brien, who cushioned the latter’s cross on his chest before smashing a volley high into the roof of the net. It was Lensky’s second assist of the afternoon, and the Canadian very nearly added a goal of his own on 70 minutes when he embarked on a mazy run that saw him weave through the Livvy defence and only just miss out on a memorable solo strike when his right-foot shot sneaked past the left-hand post. In the end, it was left to O’Brien to complete his finishing masterclass with a clinically taken third goal, lobbed over the advancing keeper with 10 minutes remaining after a defence-splitting Paul Caddis pass had left him with a clear sight of the target. The Bhoys will now head off for the next few weeks with their respective national teams, and they leave having ensured that Celtic’s defence of the under-19 league title remains firmly on course. LIVINGSTON (4-4-2): McGuigan; Mitchell, Adamson, Davidson (Kerr 46), Andrew Geggan; Monteith (Thomas Martin 63), McLaren (Jacobs 77), Torrance, Miller; Weir, Hamilton Subs: Monteith, Droudge, CELTIC (4-4-2): Fox; Caddis, McCafferty, O’Dea, Richardson; Millar, Grant, Walsh, Lensky (Graham 89); O’Brien (McGeogh 87), McGowan Subs: Jones, Traub, Christie Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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