22 January 2022
1 - 2Full Time
Alloa and Celtic played in a rare meeting of the sides at a capacity Indodrill Stadium.
Alloa selected a pretty much unchanged side to the one who drew to Queen’s Park but for the forced change of Sammon for Euan Henderson, whose loan agreement expired on Sunday, while Celtic made 5 changes to the side that comfortably saw off Hibs on Monday. It remained a strong side with Liam Scales, Stephen Welsh, Tony Ralston, Yosuke Ideguchi and Giorgos Giakoumakis coming in.
It was almost Alloa who instantly put their stamp on the game though with Conor Sammon attempting an audacious lob from the half-way line after some typically vigorous closing down by Mouhamed ‘Sena’ Niang robbed Ideguchi.
But Celtic would only be contained so long as Liam Scales whipped in a magnificent cross and Giakoumakis’ clever front-post run and deft touch sent it into the roof of the net.
Celtic almost instantly found a second as Andy Graham glanced a header into the path of Giakoumakis. Durnan lost his footing and the Greek was bearing down on the Alloa goal. Hutton to his credit was a daunting figure off his line but the cheeky dink brushed past the post.
Hutton was equal to Liel Abada’s effort another minute later with a sharp dive to the bottom left corner. Rogic and Maeda would also be denied by the Alloa goallie as Celtic patiently looked to extend their lead.
But, Celtic’s captain of all people put his side into all kinds of trouble as he played in Conor Sammon who 8 yards out smashed a powerful effort on target. It smacked Joe Hart’s thigh but it showed the vulnerabilities of this Celtic team.
McGregor was soon off the park as he went face first in an aerial battle with Adam King and collided with the Alloa midfielder’s shoulder. The Celtic captain was notably dazed and soon departed for James McCarthy.
While Alloa had looked to have silenced the Hoops until the break. Liel Abada drifted in off the wing and the top corner with a superb curling effort.
Abada almost found the spectacular, but not on purpose as Hutton had to be alert to tip a cross away from his front post and again on the 57th minute the veteran stopper denied the Japanese international Daizen Maeda as he produced a fingertip save to deny a diving header from finding the bottom corner.
Perhaps the most talked about incident of the game was ‘Sena’s’ follow through on Ideguchi. The Senegalese midfielder was combative and aggressive and a thorn in the side of Celtic’s playmakers and showcased another full-blooded challenge on ‘Guchi. However with his momentum he took another step onto the Japanese’ ankle and it was a strong impact. The Celtic man, who sheepishly went into the challenge could no longer continue and Niang received a yellow.
Celtic after this did look notably shaken and Alloa were sometimes guilty of committing 7 men to an attacking line. Although the visitors missed some gilt edged chances in this period it was Alloa who clawed themselves back into contention.
Barry Ferguson completed the final of his 3 substitutions with the introduction of Scougall and Trouten for the final 15 minutes and the changes instantly contributed. A fine passing move found an unmarked and unchallenged Jon Robertson and he dinked the most inviting ball into the Celtic box. Conor Sammon rose well and directed the ball into the bottom corner and Alloa dreamed of writing another reverse like the Petrofac Cup against Rangers in 2014.
Andy Graham saved a certain goal up the other end, as Maeda inexplicably squared when he should have tried a solo effort but in truth the momentum was towards the Celtic goal.
Alloa just couldn’t carve the clear chance for the equaliser as they were let down by the technique of tiring legs. First, Niang threatened to embed himself in Celtic nightmares as he blazed a shot high over the bar and late into the game Alan Trouten failed to set himself and again sent an effort flying over the bar.
The perfect smash and grab wasn’t to be and Alloa exit the cup at the Fourth Round to the hands of Celtic with their heads held high and certainly a glimmer of hope that they can recreate some of the discipline and hard work to begin climbing the League 1 table.