RESERVES | Celtic 3-2 Saints

Saints Reserves fell to a 3-2 defeat to Celtic Reserves at Lennoxtown in what was an entertaining final match of the 2018/19 SPFL Reserve League.

Alan Maybury fielded a number of first-team players for the match against a young Celtic side which included the likes of Mikey Johnston and Karamoko Dembele.

David Wotherspoon, Danny Swanson, Brian Easton, Aaron Comrie and Niall Keown featured for Saints.

It was an entertaining game of football at Lennoxtown as Saints Reserves fell to a late defeat against a young Celtic Reserves side.

Celtic had aspirations of clinching the SPFL Reserve League title but ultimately fell short on goal difference despite the victory.

Saints started well and created the first chance after eight minutes.

Danny Swanson found David Wotherspooon out on the left hand side and the midfielder curled in a great looking ball for Jamie McKenzie but the youngster headed just wide of the target.

It was Saints looking the most likely in the early stages and five minutes later they launched a quick counter attack which was started and finished by Danny Swanson but he saw his effort on goal creep just past the post.

Brian Easton and Aaron Comrie were bombing forward at every opportunity with the former flying down the left before putting in a tasty delivery for Euan O'Reilly but the Saints right winger couldn't get on the end of it.

Mikey Johnston looked the main threat for Celtic and he found space in the Saints box but flashed his shot over the bar after 23 minutes.

On the half hour mark Shaun Struthers managed to get a shot off after some good play by Comrie but it was blocked behind for a corner which eventually came to nothing.

Less than ten minutes later though and Saints would have a deserved lead.

David Wotherspoon played a great ball out to Danny Swanson who tried to cross before it was turned behind for a corner kick.

From the corner, Wotherspoon went short before receiving the ball back and driving into the box where he fired one low into Mullen's bottom corner to give Alan Maybury's side the lead.

Celtic almost levelled before the break when Karamoko Dembele slipped through Mikey Johnston in the box but he fired wide of Ross Sinclair's goal.

The second half started in a similar fashion with Saints on the front foot from the off.

Euan O'Reilly went on a great run down the right flank before crossing into the box. It was cleared but only as far as Danny Swanson at the edge of the area but he fired just wide from 20-yards-out.

Aaron Comrie bombed forward once again down the right side before releasing Shaun Struthers in the 18-yard-box but the striker's effort skimmed the crossbar as it went just over the crossbar.

Just before the hour mark Saints allowed the hosts back into the match as Mikey Johnston found a leveller.

Johnston was fouled by Cammy Ballantyne at the edge of the box and the Saints youngster was booked for the challenge. From the resulting free-kick, Johnston curled one over the wall and into the corner of the net to make it 1-1.

And four minutes later the game was turned right on it's head as Celtic took the lead.

Euan Henderson was the scorer after his initial effort was well saved by Ross Sinclair but the Celtic man nodded home the rebound to make it 2-1.

The home side weren't ahead for long though as Saints levelled with 20 minutes to go.

Jamie McKenzie made a great run from the halfway line before being slipped through one-on-one with the 'keeper and showing his composure to slot home past Mullen.

In the end there was heartache for Alan Maybury and his players as with just five minutes remaining the hosts regained the lead.

Substitute Grant Savoury found the back of the net off the post to make it 3-2 at the death.

Saints couldn't find an equaliser late on and the match finished 3-2. However, Celtic finished the season in second place behind Rangers Reserves on goal difference.

SAINTS TEAM: Ross Sinclair, Aaron Comrie, Brian Easton, Ben Quigley, Niall Keown, Euan O'Reilly (Olly Hamilton 62), Danny Swanson, David Wotherspoon, Cammy Ballantyne, Jamie McKenzie (Ciaran Brian 83), Shaun Struthers (Marky Munro 73)

UNUSED SUBS: Jack Wilson, Jordan Bow, Kyle Green