Cluj two good for Celtic

PSV Eindhoven are monitoring Karim Rekik’s situation at

Manchester City as they open their doors to a possible loan

deal.

The 18-year-old defender moved to the Etihad Stadium from

Feyenoord in the summer of 2011 and has spent the past couple of

seasons continuing his development.

He has had loan stints with Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers over

the past couple of seasons, but is now keen to play more regularly

at a high level.

PSV appear ready to take Rekik back to his Holland homeland, but

Manchester City must first decide whether he figures in their

first-team plans or is likely to get more opportunities

elsewhere.

PSV technical director Marcel Brands told Eindhovens Dagblad:

“He has to start with Manchester City on Monday and during the

pre-season it will become clear whether or not he can be loaned

out.”

In their first pre-season friendly, a double by Ryan Christie

and goals by Gary Warren and Graeme Shinnie gave Caley a

comfortable half-time lead.

McKay netted three times in 10 minutes after the break, with

Nick Ross adding an eighth before Shinnie scored a ninth after his

penalty had been saved.

Florin Costea opened the scoring for the Romanian side in the

ninth minute with substitute Patelis Kapetanos doubling that lead

in the 65th minute.

Hoops substitute Georgios Samaras pulled a goal back in the 82nd

minute but it was not enough to prevent the Scottish champions

losing their second challenge match this week, following the 1-0

loss to Ukrainian side Sevastopol.

However, Celtic manager Neil Lennon should not be unduly

worried. Their opponents are further ahead in their pre-season

preparations and at times it showed.

Celtic eyes are all on the Champions League qualifying ties

against Northern Irish side Cliftonville later this month and to

that end, the former Celtic skipper is assessing his squad.

A far from full-strength Parkhead side, captained by defender

Mikael Lustig and with Calum Waters making his first start for the

senior side, found themselves a goal behind during a shaky start

when Costea’s well-taken shot from inside the box curled high past

keeper Fraser Forster and in off the post.

The goal shook Celtic out of their slumber and moments later

striker Gary Hooper drove wide of the target from 20 yards to end a

swift counter.

The Romanians, who had former St Johnstone striker Gregory Tade

in their attack, reasserted themselves and Forster had to make a

great save from Ciprian Deac’s whipped-in free-kick before Costea

sent a header from a corner high over the bar.

The Celtic keeper made two further saves before the break as the

Parkhead side were kept at arm’s length.

James Forrest, Darnell Fisher and Charlie Mulgrew replaced Dylan

McGeouch, Lustig and Liam Henderson respectively for the start of

the second-half with Beram Kayal taking the armband and soon

Samaras replaced Amido Balde as the substitutions on both sides

continued.

Celtic began to look more purposeful but just after the hour

mark, after giving the ball away, Kayal had to make a last-gasp

tackle at the expense of a corner to prevent Paul Batin getting a

shot away inside the box.

The corner came to nothing but Batin was less hesitant minutes

later when he evaded Parkhead defender Kelvin Wilson to set up

Kapetanos to steer the ball past the helpless Forster from 12

yards.

Cluj looked in control and more likely to add to their lead but

in the 73rd minute Celtic defender Virgil Van Dijk missed a good

chance by heading a Mulgrew corner over the bar from 10 yards.

The Parkhead men reduced the lead with eight minutes to go when

Forrest’s cross from the right came off the knee of Samaras with

Mulgrew moving quickly out of the way to allow the ball to cross

the line.