Celtic verdict: Buckie far from disgrace themselves in part-timers v big-timers clash as substitute is big talking point

Vata scores after expectation of imminent departure as Highland League side have day in the limelight

From selfies to realities. All the phones-in-the-air capturing of the lifetime-memory afforded by facing up to Celtic in their citadel by Buckie Thistle’s players in the build-up gave way to this merry band soaking up the appreciation of their 2,500-strong Highland travellers at full-time.

It is always the inbetween on such Scottish Cup occasions that can dilute the delights of the ultimate part-timers jousting with the ultimate big-timers, as the luck of the draw dissolves five tiers between them. Buckie far from disgraced themselves, even as they were beaten 5-0 in the fourth round tie. Heck, Premiership Aberdeen were on the receiving end of a 6-0 in this arena not so long ago.

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But even if it took 25 minutes for Celtic to break the deadlock, it would be patronising not to acknowledge the utter mismatch of a contest where Brendan Rodgers’ men had 85 per cent possession. And, as well as the five legitimate counters, the ball in the net a further four times only for the flag to be raised and VAR to confirm the assistants’ alertness – at the only cup encounter where the system was in operation over the weekend.

Luis Palma, Odin Thiago Holm and Luis Palma were among the goalscorers as Celtic took down Buckie Thistle 5-0.Luis Palma, Odin Thiago Holm and Luis Palma were among the goalscorers as Celtic took down Buckie Thistle 5-0.
Luis Palma, Odin Thiago Holm and Luis Palma were among the goalscorers as Celtic took down Buckie Thistle 5-0.

At least Graeme Stewart’s men were disciplined in playing their last line, as Celtic – at full strength except for captain Callum McGregor being rested – sought to pick up their rhythm on their return post-winter break by turboing down the flanks. Oddly, it was Celtic’s fifth and final goal, netted in the 75th minute, that was most intriguing. A consequence of the identity of the scorer being Rocco Vata, who many had assumed was in the club’s departure lounge. The attacker had never featured under Rodgers but given the final half hour, he made the most of his outing by turning in from point-blank range a low driven cross by Miky Johnston before squandering an opportunity to double his tally when he attempted to round the keeper. Beyond his contribution and midfielder Daniel Kelly being handed his senior debut late on, it was largely about his tried and trusted personnel tuning up for the tougher assignments to come.

Liel Abada will have been supplied with a reminder of the need to look along the line when running in behind, an offside flag denying him a penalty after he was taken out in the box in the early minutes before he seemed involved in practically all the other offside ghost goals. He played his part in the first one to count, in playing through Paolo Bernardo to see the midfielder continue his scoring streak with a third striker in four games delivered courtesy of the daintest chip over keeper Stuart Knight.

Odin Thiago Holm then pounced at the edge of the area to carve out another goal on the half-hour mark. Before Joe Hart proved villainous to Josh Peters – cousin of Celtic’s Stephen Welsh – and Buckie’s hopes of a special moment in denying the forward with his outstretched leg after he found himself clean through. Shortly after the restart Luis Palma let fly in cutting in off the right to beat the Buckie keeper with a flashing drive, before Kyogo Furuhashi swept in from an Abada low diagonal that eluded Knight. None of which could spoil the day of the keeper or his team-mates.