Football: Coyne boosts Celtic

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(First Edition)

Airdrie. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Celtic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

WITH incessant rain turning the Broomfield pitch into a swamp, it seemed extraordinary that the referee had not called this match off. Nevertheless the players did their best to make a game of it.

Frank McAvennie knows the Airdrie pitch. He made his League debut here, wearing the stripes of St Mirren on that day in 1981, but yesterday he wore the green-and-black of Celtic's away strip. It was not long before he was in the thick of the action as Celtic put their goal-scoring troubles behind them in the fifth minute.

John Collins sent in a cross which McAvennie headed firmly goalwards. John Martin, diving in the already marshy goalmouth, could only parry the ball, allowing Tommy Coyne to run in and slip it past him into the net.

Although the conditions might have been expected to be a levelling factor, Airdrie created previous few chances, and they fortunate not to be further handicapped after 32 minutes when Martin was lucky to remain on the pitch.

Coyne sped clear on the left wing and rounded him, and the Airdrie 'keeper brought him down. The referee gave him the benefit of the doubt with a yellow card. Whether this generosity was because of the conditions or because the player was so wide, the card should have been red for the sake of consistency and the letter of the law.

Airdrie haven't scored a League victory at home to Celtic since 1975, and thet statistic rarely looked under threat yesterday.

Airdrieonians: J Martin; J Boyle, A Stewart, J Sandison, G Caesar, P Jack, W Reid, D Kirkwood, J Watson, O Coyle, A Lawrence (A Smith, 65 min). Sub not used: S Conn. Manager: A MacDonald.

Celtic: P Bonner; M McNally, T Boyd, R Vata, G Gillespie, M Galloway, S Slater, P McStay, F McAvennie, T Coyne (G Creaney, 52 min), J Collins. Sub not used: P Grant. Manager: L Brady.

Referee: W Innes (Stepps).

Goal: T Coyne (5 min) 0-1.