Whitehill Welfare 0 Celtic 3
Two late goals added gloss to a workmanlike performance by Celtic, which was enough to see them progress to a meeting with Raith Rovers in the fourth round of the Tennent's Scottish Cup.
Yet if the win was convincing enough in the end, Celtic failed to match Rangers' 10-goal feat of Saturday and were given a thoroughly uncomfortable afternoon by the team which has dominated non-League football in the east of Scotland for a number of years.
Celtic had controlled most of the game yet found more difficulty in breaking down the Whitehill defence than they have against many Premier Division opponents. Scott Cantley, an amateur goalkeeper playing for the semi-professional side, had an inspired afternoon surrounded by a phalanx of defenders as the home side repelled Celtic's first-half attacks.
He made tremendous saves throughout the 90 minutes, none better than in the 13th minute when he palmed away a header from John Hughes at a corner. He also twice denied Pierre van Hooijdonk on two occasions.
However, despite their domination, Celtic did not ever reach the high standards they have set this season and, if cup ties are all about winning, Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager, must hope his players can raise their game for the title run-in.
Van Hooijdonk relieved Celtic's frustration six minutes from the interval by scoring with a precise shot struck with the outside of the foot from a low Andy Walker cross. The goal, arriving when it did, gave Celtic some heart going into the break.
Whitehill came close through Ross Middlemist, who almost made Gordon Marshall pay heavily for a poor clearance, but the striker's shot was deflected for a corner.
In the final 20 minutes Celtic camped around their opponents' penalty area, Simon Donnelly struck the post with a curling shot and Hughes later hit the bar with a header from a corner.
In between Morten Weighorst headed across goal for Donnelly to tap in Celtic's second in the 75th minute and, five minutes later, Weighorst again rose above the Whitehill defence to give Van Hooijdonk his second and Celtic's third goal.
For Celtic there was the added bonus of a return to action for Brian O'Neil for the first time this season. He came on as a substitute for the final 10 minutes, having recovered from a knee ligament injury.
The Whitehill Welfare team enjoyed the standing ovation afforded to them by their supporters on the final whistle, throwing their shirts into the crowd. In such circumstances, the moral victory is one to be celebrated.
Goals: Van Hooijdonk (39) 0-1; Donnelly (75) 0-2; Van Hooijdonk (80) 0-3.
Whitehill Welfare (4-4-2): Cantley; Purves, Steel, Brown, Gowrie (Cameron, 80); Sneddon, Bennett, Millar, Bird, Middlemist (R Smith, 62), Tulloch (O'Rourke, 82).
Celtic (4-4-2): Marshall; McNamara, Boyd (O'Neil, 82), Hughes, McKinlay; Weighorst, McStay, Grant, Collins (McLaughlin, 82); Van Hooijdonk, Walker (Donnelly, 57).
Referee: L Thow (Prestwick).
Man of the match: Cantley.
Attendance: 13,100.Reuse content