Belfast Telegraph

Paul McVeigh magic puts smiles back on Hoops faces

By Alex McGreevy

Stand-in manager Sean Hawkins guided Donegal Celtic to their first win of the season, just 24 hours after Stephen Small resigned from his post.

Ironically, as Small departed after a run of nine league games without a win, this Co Antrim Shield quarter-final victory heaped more pressure on the shoulders of Lisburn Distillery boss Tim McCann.

Only the Whites lie beneath Celtic in the Danske Bank Premiership and as the vultures fly over Ballyskeagh, managerial names were being listed as possible successors Small last night.

Pat McGibbon, Pat McAllister, Dixie Robinson and Marty Quinn were just some of those mentioned in sideline conversations at Celtic Park.

A second-half double by the Hoops, from Peter McCann and Paul McVeigh, cancelled out Jordan Forsythe’s first-half opener.

It came in the 24th minute when former Celtic defender Johnny Harkness saw his free-kick brush the goalscorer en-route to the Celtic net.

Beforehand, Mark Miskimmin, came close to scoring for the wee hoops in the eighth minute, but drove his shot just inches over the crossbar.

Conor Downey had Whites goalkeeper Lee Windrum on his toes again in the 26th minute, but the ball whistled over his crossbar.

The visitors started the second half as strongly as they finished the first, but it was their former player, Peter McCann, who restored parity in the 60th minute with an exquisite chip over the advancing Windrum.

McCann’s goal, in his first start for Celtic, should have been added to on 68th minutes, but they were denied a second when a linesman cited McVeigh for a foul on Windrum. It was a bizarre decision — McVeigh making no contact with the Whites goalkeeper, who dropped the ball over the line.

McVeigh’s frustration was replaced by joy three minutes from time when he powered a close-range header past Windrum from Miskimmin’s free-kick to give Celtic their first win of the season.

Donegal Celtic: Connolly, Keegan, McShane, Burns, Hughes, Deans, L Bradley (Gargan 42), Miskimmin, McVeigh, Downey, McCann (Dolan 73).

Lisburn Distillery: Windrum, Smyth, Harkness, Hunter (McVeigh 81), Ferguson, Davidson, McCann (McCullough), Hughes, Forsythe, Halliday (Liggett 72), Beggs.

  • Ballymena United have released striker Jordan Baker after he made just two substitute appearances this season.

The 23-year-old has fallen out of favour with manager Glenn Ferguson and he is expected to join Amateur League side Derriaghy CC on a short-term contract.

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