Lincoln City 1 - 4 Celtic XI: Celtic pass this test in fine style

IN WHAT manager Neil Lennon called "a really pleasing performance," a Celtic XI passed its way to an ultimately comfortable victory over the League Two side managed by former Parkhead hero Chris Sutton.

It took just 38 minutes for Daryl Murphy to show that he could well be one of the best signings to have arrived at Parkhead over the summer. That's how long it took him to score his first goal for the club, and the Republic of Ireland international also led the line in promising fashion for more than an hour.

Murphy has a touch of the Suttons about him. Big and strong, with deceptively skilful feet, the ex-Sunderland striker impressed the Lincoln manager: "He's not a striker that will run away from you, he's clever with his movement and his hold up play is decent, so it will be interesting to see how he is used."

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Also pleasing for Lennon were the performances of several players coming back into contention. Czech defender Milan Misun, returning after a season-long absence through injury, was the most impressive of the back four, while loan returnee Cillian Sheridan showed he could be a useful utility player functioning adequately in several positions.

On this form, Swindown Town target Simon Ferry might also be worth keeping at Parkhead, while Ben Hutchinson, Dominic Cervi and Ryan Conroy also shone.

"There were a lot of really good performances out there," said Lennon. "A lot of young lads came up against good players and did well."

Sadly, there were utterly disgraceful scenes before the kick-off, when clearly drunken so-called fans in Celtic strips - mindless hoopigans, you might say - fought among themselves after one idiot let off a flare and others sang republican songs.

The police soon intervened, but the moronic actions of a few had spoiled the fun of the 3,780 crowd on Lincoln City's family day out.

Celtic did all the pretty passing in the early stages, trying to retain possession as their manager demands, but it was Lincoln who looked dangerous on the break.

Albert Jarrett, playing a roving role behind his strikers, netted after 16 minutes.

Under pressure, Celtic failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Jarrett who buried a low left-foot behind Cervi.

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Both Celtic's first-half goals nevertheless owed something to good fortune. Sheridan's clever knock-down in Murphy's direction was guddled by Josh O'Keefe and the big Irishman stepped in to hammer a low right-foot snapshot from 20 yards.

Four minutes later, Ben Hutchinson broke into the City box and completely mishit his first attempt, the ball somehow bobbling up so he could smack home his second effort.

After 64 minutes, Hutchinson showed his predatory touch for his second and Celtic's third when Paul McGowan's fierce shot was parried away by Joe Anyon. Two minutes later, Ferry scored Celtic's fourth with a sublime 30 yard shot.