AMIDO Balde scored his first goal in a Celtic shirt as the Scottish Premier League champions defeated Brentford 2-1 in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Scorers: Brentford: Forshaw (10); Celtic: Balde (23), McGregor (57)
Balde’s goal cancelled out an early opener from Bees defender Adam Forshaw and it was left to young midfielder Callum McGregor to score the winner on 57 minutes.
Celtic made a number of changes to the side that played on Wednesday night against Cliftonville in the Champions League second qualifying round, with new French defender Steven Mouyokolo partnering Efe Ambrose in the centre of defence.
Brentford opened the scoring on 10 minutes when Celtic were caught napping by a long ball across the six-yard box. Forshaw got to it and headed the ball beyond Lukasz Zaluska, despite Darnell Fisher’s best efforts to turn it back out on the goal-line.
The hosts’ lead was short-lived though as Balde scored on 23 minutes. Collecting a through ball from Tony Watt, Balde burst into the penalty box and, although his shot lacked meaningful power, it managed to squeeze beyond Jack Bonham.
Celtic dominated proceedings afterwards and twice rattled the Brentford crossbar. Balde tried a delicate chip over Bonham which rattled the bar and, on the follow up, Watt also struck the beam.
Celtic, however, weren’t to be denied a second goal and it came through McGregor. Watt was again the architect, supplying the 20-year-old with a pass and, from just outside the box, he curled the ball beyond Bonham and into the net.
Celtic were comfortable from then on in, although Zaluska had to look lively in stoppage time to prevent Forshaw from stealing an equaliser.