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Teenager O'Connell shines in Celtic senior debut

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Neil Lennon. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Neil Lennon. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Neil Lennon. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

TEENAGE defender Eoghan O'Connell put in a flawless performance last night as Celtic drew 0-0 with Galatasaray before losing out on penalties in the final of the Antalya Cup.

The 18-year-old from Cork was given his first senior start as Neil Lennon fielded a very youthful side after giving the bulk of his first team regulars a short break following the 3-1 win over Trabzonspor on Thursday night.

O'Connell formed a watertight central defensive partnership alongside Marcus Fraser with Darnell Fisher the only member of the back four to have started in this season's Scottish Premiership.

Lennon had to call in four players from his U17 squad who were also in Turkey to fill his bench while Roberto Mancini was able to completely change his team at the interval with Wesley Sneidjer among the replacements.

Celtic did have the ball in the net in the fifth minute but Teemu Pukki's effort was cancelled out because of an offside flag against Amido Balde.

 

PROBLEMS

After that Galatasaray forced a few saves out of Lucasz Zaluska but it was Celtic that finished the half looking the most likely to score with the pace of James Forrest and Derk Boerrigter causing problems.

With Sneijder pulling the strings Galatasaray pushed for the breakthrough but the inexperienced Celtic defence gave little away.

Balde almost won the match for Celtic but his blistering shot in the 79th minute was tipped over the bar.

James Forrest missed Celtic's second penalty and with all of the other takers converting, it was Galatasaray that celebrated.


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