McCourt’s Bhoys too hot for Derry
Derry City 0 Celtic 1
Paddy McCourt received a rapturous welcome back to the Brandywell as he led out a Celtic side for the first time last night.
The former Derry winger might not have given a vintage performance — and certainly a trademark run or two would not have gone amiss — but the young Bhoys were easily worth their victory.
It may not have been the strongest Celtic squad, but Derry manager Stephen Kenny put out an entirely different starting side from the one which had easily triumphed against Linfield the previous evening.
Once the visitors had got into their stride, Derry found it tougher and tougher to retain any sort of possession.
And despite the encouragement of the crowd skipper McCourt played a team game in favour of keeping possession.
Striker Ben Hutchinson could be well worth keeping an eye on for the future. He got the game’s only goal with a cracking free kick from 25 yards in the 36th minute which he directed powerfully over the Derry wall and in at the far post.
Sean Hargan should really have managed a Derry equaliser in the 28th minute when from Higgins’ corner, he stabbed the ball over the bar from just a couple of yards in front of goal.
Ryan Conroy had a long range free kick deflected wide for a corner in the 60th minute but both sides were surprisingly shot-shy after the break.
Northern Ireland under-19 international Danny Lafferty was given a a short run-out when he came on as a second half substitute for Conroy.
DERRY CITY: Quigley, McCallion, Hargan, Higgins, Martyn, McHugh, Callaghan, McClean (McAuley 75), Stewart, Harkin (Nash 71), Sharkey (Devlin 82).
CELTIC: Brown, Caddis, Conroy (Lafferty 71), Donati, Looveens, O’Dea (Ferry 65), Mizuno (Marr 82), Crosas (Millar 56), Hutchinson, McGowan, McCourt (Cawley 75).
Referee: Thomas Connolly (Dublin).