CELTIC 5 BUCKIE THISTLE 0
RELENTLESS Celtic got the job done in a ferocious 17-minute spell when they fired three goals into the Buckie Thistle net to make certain they avoided a Scottish Cup banana skin in monsoon conditions at Parkhead.
Amazingly, the holders didn’t have a solitary shot on target to worry keeper Stuart Knight in the first 20 minutes before the floodgates opened as they left their gallant Highland League opponents in their slipstream.
As well as strikes from Paulo Bernardo, Odin Holm and Kyogo Furuhashi before the interval, the hosts also had two efforts ruled out for offside by VAR.
REIGNING IN THE RAIN…Brendan Rodgers watches Celtic win his 13th successive Scottish Cup-tie.
Greg Taylor squeezed one into the net off the keeper in the 22nd minute and it looked a tight decision to rule it out. VAR images weren’t too convincing to add to the confusion.
Kyogo also tucked away one in just after the half-hour mark, but the Japanese striker was clearly off on that occasion.
It was left to Bernardo, who struck the recent openers against Dundee and the Ibrox club, to claim another breakthrough strike.
In the 25th minute, Maik Nawrocki slid a pass in front of Matt O’Riley who split the visitors rearguard with a laserbeam pass and the on-loan Portuguese playmaker took a couple ot touches as he raced clear into the box before nonchalantly lifting the ball over the advancing Knight.
Eight minutes later, the Celtic fans were singing in the rain for a second time when Holm, playing in the midfield berth vacated by the rested Callum McGregor, played a one-two with O’Riley before drilling a drive into the net via the inside of the right-hand post.
It was the Norwegian’s first goal for the champions and he looked as relieved as delighted as he was congratulated by his team-mates.
HAPPY DAZE…Luis Palma acknowledges the Celtic fans after scoring the fourth goal.
In the 41st minute, Joe Hart, captain for the day, denied Josh Peters with a fine save to his left and, just 30 seconds later, Kyogo was touching a Liel Abada right-wing cross into the net from close range to make it 3-0 to make certain the holders’ name was in tonight’s fifth round draw.
Five minutes into the second-half and it was Palma’s turn to get on the scoresheet as he cut in from the right, teased away from one challenge and then fired an unstoppable low 20-yarder past the helpless Knight at his left.
Sixty seconds later, Abada missed from close ranger after being set up by Palma and he was even more unlucky five minutes after that when it looked as though he had netted s fine goal from a Holm pass, but VAR again ruled out the effort.
Once again, the lines provided in their image lacked positive clarification.
THAT’S MY BHOY…Mikey Johnston hugs Rocco Vata after the youngster’s first goal for Celtic.
Kyogo and Abada made way in the 64th minute with Rocco Vata and Mikey Johnston taking their place and eight minutes later Anthony Ralston and teenager Daniel Kelly, making his debut, came on for Alistair Johnston and Holm.
Fifteen minutes from time, Vata claimed his first Hoops strike after some dazzling touchline tricky from Johnston as he worked his way in from the right before delivering a killer low pass into the centre of the goal.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international was perfectly placed to first-time his drive into the net.
Stephen Welsh joined proceedings in the 79th minute as he replaced Nawrocki as the Hoops coasted to the final whistle.
It was a good night’s work, five goals scored, two players getting their first strikes for the team and another teen ace making his first appearance.
TEAM: Hart; A Johnston (sub: Ralston 72), Nawrocki (sub: Welsh 79), Scales, Taylor; Holm (sub: Kelly 72), O’Riley, Bernardo; Abada (sub: M Johnston 64), Kyogo (sub: Vata 64) and Palma.