TOMMY McINTYRE applauded his players following an excellent 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in their opening match of the Premier League International Cup in the Midlands last night.
Luke Donnelly netted twice and Jack Aitchison hit the other goal as Celtic deservedly earned their reward at Villa Park to give them a great start in the group.

Goalkeeper Logan Bailly also made a vital contribution, saving a penalty from former England striker Gabby Agbonlahor with the score at 2-0 to keep the Hoops heading in the right direction.

The Belgian shotstopper was included from the start alongside fellow senior players Dedryck Boyata and Gary Mackay-Steven as they got some much-needed game-time.

Loan Bhoys Donnelly, Jamie Lindsay and Joe Thomson also featured, with the remainder of the team comprising of the Development Squad.

A delighted Hoops coach McIntyre said: “It was a really impressive performance. It was a really good team performance. We had a good blend of experience and youth players.gabby-misses-pen

“We played some lovely football and at a good tempo. We knocked the ball about and controlled the game and created a lot of chances, which was pleasing.

“There was also a terrific save from Logan from the penalty at 2-0 at a key moment. We got the third goal after that and that effectively killed the game. It was really pleasing, as was the way we managed the game between then and the end.

“All credit to the first team lads who came in – Logan, Dedryck and Gary – as their attitude was first class and we had also had one or two players who had been out on loan and you could see the wee difference they made.”

Having overcome the Midlands club, Celtic will now travel to Norwich next week for their second group game.
McIntyre added: “They will be a top team and they are top of their league at Under-23 level. Aston Villa had a four first-team players and I am sure Norwich will be the same.
“That’s the good thing about it. It’s a mix between first team and youth and there is no better way for our players to learn from our senior pros.”
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