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Celtic 3-0 Raith Rovers: Jota, Abada and Turnbull strike as Hoops sweep aside Fifers at Parkhead

MacDonald in action against Celtic
MacDonald in action against Celtic

Raith Rovers were treated to the disco lights experience at Celtic Park.

However, there would be no dancing in the streets of Raith this time after the Hoops swept to a 3-0 victory.

The Kirkcaldy club turned in a gutsy showing — particularly frustrating the hosts during the opening 25 minutes — but when Jota broke the deadlock, the writing was on the wall.

It eased the nerves and Celtic started to purr.

Goals from Liel Abada and a stunning strike by David Turnbull added a sheen to the scoreline and assured Ange Postecoglou a maiden visit to Hampden for the Premier Sports Cup semis.

Light show: Celtic Park

While never in danger of replicating Rovers’ Coca-Cola Cup icons of 1994, there was no shame in the result or the display; especially the fortitude shown when Dario Zanatta was dismissed.

Both St Mirren and Dundee have lost 6-0 at Parkhead this term. When Postegolou’s charges get motoring at home, they are a juggernaut.

Solid start

Once the spectacular light show which preceded kick-off came to a halt, it took just three minutes for Jota to whip a dangerous drive inches wide of the post.

That anxious moment aside, the Rovers started well.

Birthday boy Blaise Riley-Snow was breaking up attacks; Aidan Connolly was a brave carrier of the ball; Dylan Tait and Ross Matthews were effective.

Battling: Blaise Riley-Snow

Tait even saw an effort from the edge of the box trundle wide after a neat exchange with Ethon Varian.

What a shame that no visiting fans were permitted into the stadium to sound their appreciation.

Killer pass

However, it was only ever going to take one moment of quality to break the Rovers resistance and it came via James McCarthy; much maligned for an ineffectual showing against Livi at the weekend.

The Ireland international carved open the Raith defence with a sublime pass and Portuguese forward Jota did the rest, firing beyond the on-rushing Jamie MacDonald.

McGlynn’s men didn’t wilt. Connolly stung the palms of Joe Hart from 20 yards following some dallying in defence by the Bhoys.

But they were undone again as half-time approached.

Jota, a constant menace drifting in from the left flank, unleashed a stinging drive that was superbly saved by MacDonald — only for Abada to react swiftest and nod home the rebound.

Rovers endured a nightmare start to the second half when Turnbull surged forward unchecked before curling a sumptuous effort beyond MacDonald’s despairing dive.

It is to their credit that the visitors regained their composure and stemmed the tide.

The task was made tougher when Dario Zanatta was dismissed for a second yellow card.

Ultimately, the Stark’s Park outfit bow out with their pride in tact and can look back on a fine Premier Sports Cup run which saw them claim the scalp of Aberdeen.

But it was always a bonus; an adventure.

Now, it’s back to the bread-and-butter — the visit of Partick Thistle on Sunday as Rovers’ challenge for a Championship playoff place continues.

Raspberries, transistor radios and a great escape: The story of Raith Rovers’ last win at Celtic Park

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