LIAM SCALES rifled in a memorable first goal in Paradise as he thundered an unstoppable 22-yard left-foot drive high past helpless Raith Rovers keeper Jamie MacDonald.
The exceptional strike gave Celtic a first-half advantage on their way to last night’s 4-0 win over their second-tier opponents to go into tonight’s Scottish Cup quarter-final draw.
Scales, who claimed his first Hoops strike in the 3-0 Premiership win over Dundee United at Tannadice in December, did not get the chance to bask in personal glory at half-time.
Ange Postecoglou, unhappy about what he had witnessed during a fairly insipid opening 45 minutes, ripped into his players following a low-key and uninspiring display.
The Republic of Ireland left-back, bought for £600,000 from Shamrock Rovers in the summer, said: “There were mixed emotions as we didn’t quite get to our levels in the first-half. We were much better in the second-half and it’s good to progress in the competition.
SCALES SHOOTS AND SCORES…Liam Scales (extreme left) watches as his ferocious shot arrows in on its target.
THAT’S OUR BHOY…scorer Liam Scales is congratulated by Reo Hatate and Mikey Johnston.
“But it says the standards are very high here. The scoreline looked good, but the performance wasn’t where it needed to be.
“The manager got that message across it wasn’t good enough and you saw the difference in the second-half.
“I’m not sure why, we just weren’t clicking. It happens in football, but we needed to be quicker and Raith did quite well.
“It’s a reminder the standards are so high. He wants us on top of our game no matter who we are playing against – and rightly so.
“Does he have his moments? I’m not sure if I can say!
“It’s obviously frustrating for him when we are not getting to the levels we know we can.
“He has to get his point across, like every manager does.
“The competition is high here and everyone wants to do well when they get their chance, so it’s disappointing when you don’t hit those levels.”
Scales was brought into the left-hand side of the defence with Greg Taylor spending the evening on the substitutes’ bench, and played well. His blistering strike that thumped into the net behind the gallant Fife keeper obviously took the spotlight and was by far the highlight of the opening period.
THE END GAME…Ange Postecoglou at full-time following the 4-0 win.
Postecoglou could be clearly heard during the live screening of the game by Premier Sports exhorting his troops to higher levels as they struggled to bring their normal high intensity to the proceedings.
Reflecting on his debut goal in the east end of Glasgow, Scales, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “It’s up there with my top two or three, but the fact it’s my first at Celtic Park makes it special.
“The role is different to what most left-backs in what we do. I think it allows you to get in to more advanced positions than usual left or right-backs would.
“It’s something different and I really enjoy it. The manager wants his full-backs to show in pockets on the inside because it gives the opposition something to think about.
“I’ve had to learn it as I’ve never played in that system before here, but we do a lot of work on it.
“You can see as the season has gone on, all the full-backs have taken to it.
“Sometimes you end up in positions attacking midfielders turn up and I got the chance to shoot out there.
“I sometimes do it in training, but not all the time – that was good!”
The 21-year-old defender is now hoping to get the nod from the manager to face the Norwegians of Bodo/Glimt in the first leg of their Europa League Conference tie at Parkhead on Thursday night.
Back on the domestic front, though, Scales and his Hoops team-mates will discover their quarter-final opponents in the Scottish Cup draw tonight immediately following the final last-16 match between Peterhead and Dundee at Balmoor Stadium.