Wallace puts Falkirk to sword

Celtic 8 - Falkirk 1
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Ross Wallace stepped out of the shadows at Parkhead last night to propel Celtic into the fourth round of the CIS Insurance Cup with a hat-trick in the rout of Falkirk.

Ross Wallace stepped out of the shadows at Parkhead last night to propel Celtic into the fourth round of the CIS Insurance Cup with a hat-trick in the rout of Falkirk.

The young winger is usually given only a supporting role, creating chances for others, but he tormented the First Division side and sealed his display with a fine third goal in the 84th minute when he ran on to Juninho's pass and stabbed a shot past the Falkirk goalkeeper, Darren Hill. Poor Hill's misery was not over. Another Celtic teenager, Aiden McGeady, netted Celtic's eighth goal in the final minute as he lobbed the stranded keeper.

The occasion could not have contrasted more vividly with Parkhead a week earlier. Then, every seat was filled as Barcelona gave Celtic a lesson in the Champions' League. Here, the ground was less than half full, but the one-sided element remained. Celtic, despite making nine changes from their first-choice line-up, tore their opponents apart in the first half. Indeed, Falkirk were not even given the time to soak up the big stage as they went two down in the opening five minutes.

Momo Sylla started the rout with barely two minutes on the clock, releasing Juninho on the half-way line and then supporting the Brazilian to sweep the return pass past Hill. The Celtic pair quickly combined again, with Juninho finding Sylla on the left and the forward's low cross was driven in by Wallace at the back post. Celtic took their foot off the pedal and Falkirk enjoyed some good possession, but the closest they came was when Robert Douglas kept out David Nicholls' fierce shot.

However, Celtic inflicted another double before the interval. Bobo Balde met McGeady's corner to head in the third on 38 minutes and then Paul Lambert raced 50 yards to finish off Sylla's low pass into the box on the stroke of half-time.

Celtic's appetite was far from sated. They went further ahead in the 48th minute when Stephen McManus thumped in a header from Wallace's corner for the young defender's first goal for the club. Wallace then inflicted a sixth goal just before the hour, summoning up a sublime free-kick from 25 yards that was bent around the wall past Hill.

However, Falkirk refused to throw in the towel. They finally found the net in the 66th minute, as Andy Thomson steered a right-foot shot past Douglas from Darryl Duffy's set-up.

Celtic (4-4-2): Douglas; Valgaeren, McManus (Thompson, 80), Balde, Laursen; Lambert, Juninho, Pearson, Wallace; Sylla, McGeady. Substitutes not used: Hedman (gk), Lennon, Petrov, Varga.

Falkirk (4-4-2): Hill; Lawrie, Campbell (Hughes, 70), James, McPherson; O'Neil, McKenzie, Nicholls (McAnespie, 71), Latapy (Moutinho, 73); Thomson, Duffy. Substitutes not used: Ferguson (gk), Scally.

Referee: W Young.

Comments