Belfast Telegraph

Hoops back with a bang as minnows hit for five

Celtic 5 Brechin City 0

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic are refreshed and raring to go again, claimed James Forrest, after the Hoops returned from a three-week winter break to dismiss Brechin City in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

The cup holders had enjoyed some warm weather training in Dubai but Parkhead was freezing on Saturday when the Scotland winger opened the scoring with a guided shot from a Scott Sinclair cut-back after two minutes, with the visitors still to touch the ball.

Sinclair added a second ­before the interval and second-half goals from midfielder Olivier ­Ntcham, defender Dedryck Boyata and striker Odsonne Edouard ensured a comfortable 5-0 fourth-round win against the Ladbrokes Championship's bottom side.

Looking ahead to the Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Partick Thistle in Maryhill tomorrow, when Brendan Rodgers' league-leaders will look to go 11 points clear of Aberdeen, Forrest - whose side were handed a home tie with the same opponents in yesterday's fifth round draw - stressed the importance of the break both mentally and physically.

He said: "It was a great start for us coming back, scoring five goals, getting a clean sheet and most important thing going into the next round."

"Personally, it was good to score so early. We kept the ball from kick-off and I scored with one of my first touches.

"It was ideal for the team to get going that early in the game.

"The break was good after a lot of games.

"It was really beneficial and being mentally refreshed is a big part of it.

"Every three days we'd have a big game and that's hard.

"We've had a break then had some hard training in the last couple of weeks so we were raring to go and it was a good game to come back to.

"We're back and ready for the remainder of the season.

"The league starts again on Tuesday and we want to start positively."

Brechin City boss Darren Dods hopes his side can take some positives into their league campaign where they are yet to register a win.

He said: "We didn't crumble, we kept going and had a few corners and a few shots at goal.

"A few players can take good credit and a few have set their standards high and if we can keep that going for the last 16 or 17 games, that's what we need to do."

SCOTTISH CUP FIFTH ROUND DRAW: Formartine United/Cove Rangers v Livingston/Falkirk; Greenock Morton v Peterhead/Dumbarton; Hearts v Albion Rovers/St Johnstone; Kilmarnock v Brora Rangers; Ayr United v Fraserburgh/Rangers; Aberdeen v Dundee United; Dundee/Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Motherwell; Celtic v Partick Thistle

Ties will be played on February 10/11

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