Ben Whiteman’s second goal of the week sealed a 1-0 victory for Preston North End against Celtic.
The midfielder, who scored a brilliant goal on Tuesday night against St Johnstone, slotted home from the penalty spot in the second half after Sean Maguire was fouled.
Whiteman was involved in the starting XI, alongside Scott Sinclair on his return to Celtic Park, a venue he has very good memories of from his three and a half years with the Bhoys.
The game got off to a very fast start, with plenty of opportunities arising within the opening ten minutes.
It was PNE who had the first chance four minutes in, and they would have taken the lead were it not for goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas, who did superbly well to keep Brad Potts out from 12 yards.
Albian Ajeti then came close for Celtic at the other end, hitting an effort just wide, before North End had a great shout for a penalty. Sinclair charged in on goal and received a definite trip from a defender, but he stayed on his feet and saw his effort saved, as well as seeing the referee wave away his appeals.
North End’s next couple of efforts were sent over the crossbar, with Ben Whiteman’s left-footed volley coming close, but Ched Evans had an even better chance soon after, with Ledson’s beautifully curled outside-of-the-foot cross finding the forward six yards out, but Evans couldn’t direct his header on target.
It was the same result for the striker just before the half hour mark, too, as he couldn’t quite keep his header down on the end of captain Greg Cunningham’s ball from the left.
Declan Rudd was first called into action 32 minutes in, and he did brilliantly well to keep out David Turnbull’s 20-yard effort after initially looking like he’d been wrong-footed.
Jordan Storey came very close to breaking the deadlock just before half-time, winning a header which was deflected over the crossbar, and Anthony Ralston had a big chance for the hosts in the closing stages, but blazed his effort over the crossbar.
The Lilywhites had a couple of chances within the first 15 minutes of the second half, firstly through Liam Lindsay, who headed wide, and then Evans who hit his effort into the ground and saw it bounce up onto the roof of the net.
Shortly after coming on as part of seven changes made by Frankie McAvoy, Maguire won a penalty for his side after being brought down inside the area, and Whiteman stepped up to calmly slot home to his left.
Izzy Brown, who came on for his first appearance in a white shirt, almost claimed an assist within ten minutes, but substitute goalkeeper Scott Bain kept out Patrick Bauer’s header.
North End had a scare 71 minutes in as Ewan Henderson fizzed a cross into the area, which somehow avoided everybody inside a busy 18-yard box.
Celtic had a better opportunity on 75 minutes, as a trialist tested Rudd in the away goal, but he was up to the task to keep his clean sheet, and it was then Sepp van den Berg required to clear the danger ten minutes later as he turned a dangerous Lee O’Connor cross behind for a corner.
Rudd was called into action again before the game was up, doing brilliantly well to claw away an effort from Celtic’s Henderson which was heading right into the top corner.
Starting XI: Rudd, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes, Barkhuizen, Ledson, Whiteman, Potts, Cunningham, Sinclair, Evans.
Full-Time XI: Rudd, Earl, Bauer, van den Berg, Seary, Baylisss, Harrop, Brown, Rafferty, Maguire, Riis.
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