Celtic B suffered an unlucky first home defeat of the campaign tonight, narrowly losing out 2-1 to an experienced East Kilbride outfit in the Scottish Lowland League.
The Bhoys set the tone early on, with Ben Summers firing a left-foot strike over the bar from outside of the area. Soon after, East Kilbride were close to taking the lead, as Bosun Lawal reacted brilliantly to clear a headed effort from the visitors off the line from a corner kick.
Owen Moffat and Ben Summers were looking particularly lively for Celtic in the early stages, with the latter seeing a 20-yard strike comfortably dealt with by opposition goalkeeper Curtis Lyle.
The young Celts moved the ball around with precision in the first period of proceedings, however, were unable to make their territory count in the final third of the pitch against a robust East Kilbride rearguard.
In the following moments, the away side broke the deadlock. Portuguese winger Joao Vitoria cut inside from the left-hand side, curling a shot from narrowly wide of the far post.
Celtic went close to taking the lead minutes later, as a Ben Summers through ball ricocheted to striker Johnny Kenny, who then forced a brilliant stop from Curtis Lyle at close range on the half-volley.
Unfortunately, East Kilbride opened the scoring in controversial circumstances on the 29th minute. Bosun Lawal and Joao Vitoria collided in the build-up in an incident that saw the Irish defender writhe around in agony for several minutes in the aftermath.
Immediately after this happened, East Kilbride striker Cami Elliott was played through, where he then calmly slotted the ball past Tobi Oluwayemi much to the delight of his sides’ travelling support.
Tsaonelo Letsosa nearly evened the scoring for the hosts after latching on to a Bosun Lawal through ball, though could only fire straight at Curtis Lyle one-on-one.
Just before half-time, East Kilbride forward Cami Elliott was played through by Neil McLaughlin, showing composure to finish past Tobi Oluwayemi to make the score 2-0 before the interval.
In the second 45, the Celts nearly found themselves three goals down after Tobi Oluwayemi was adjudged to illegally handle a backpass inside his own area.
From the resulting indirect free-kick, the Englishman redeemed himself with a smart stop before the rebound sailed just inches over the bar.
Celtic continued to stick to their guns in search of a route back into the game, with headers from Dylan Corr and Johnny Kenny coming close. Rocco Vata was a threat throughout, seeing his powerful 25-yard strike beaten away by the visiting goalkeeper before East Kilbride ushered the ball to safety.
As the game seemed to be slipping away for the Bhoys, they were gifted a lifeline from the penalty spot. Following a short corner, captain Matthew Anderson progressed with the ball into the area where he was fouled, forcing the referee to take action and signal for a penalty.
Johnny Kenny sent Curtis Lyle the wrong way with a cool spot-kick, setting up a nervy end to an entertaining game. Nevertheless, Celtic couldn’t find an equaliser and East Kilbride ran out with the three points.
Next up for Celtic B is a trip to Albion Rovers in the SPFL Trust Trophy first-round on Tuesday night.
Man of the match: Ben Summers
Ben Summers was a constant outlet for Celtic throughout the contest, moving into intelligent areas of the field and looking to progress the ball at every opportunity. Undoubtedly, his positive display will encourage the Celtic coaching staff.