Mariners beat Celtic 1-0

Celtic have made a losing start to their tour of Australia, falling 1-0 to Central Coast Mariners in a friendly on Saturday night.

Celtic have made a losing start to their tour of Australia, falling 1-0 to Central Coast Mariners in a friendly on Saturday night.

A late goal from Troy Hearfield gave the Mariners victory at ANZ Stadium in a pre-season clash featuring few chances between two understandably rusty sides in front of 19,482 fans.

The hosts made the brighter start with Josh Rose causing trouble down the left hand side.

It had been six weeks to the day since Celtic hammered Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final and they took at least a quarter of an hour to work into the contest.

Israeli Beram Kayal combined well with talented winger James Forrest, who whipped in a cross from the left that Daryl Murphy headed wide.

Mariners midfielder Rostyn Griffiths had the first shot on target of the contest when his cross-cum-shot was safely held by Celtic shot-stopper Lukasz Zaluska.

Forrest was causing problems on the right with his pace but it was the hosts who applied all the pressure to finish the first half.

They won several corners and Adriano Pellegrino, who worked into the contest playing at the top of the midfield diamond, had a shot blocked to finish the half.

The former Perth Glory man had a glorious chance to break the deadlock just after the hour mark, only to send his free header wide when he should have at least hit the target.

Celtic were stronger in the second half, winning several corners before only a sliding challenge from Central Coast substitute Trent Sainsbury denied them the lead.

Despite their superiority, it was the Mariners who went ahead after 87 minutes thanks to a cracking strike from Hearfield - who hammered home from the edge of the area.

The visitors went close again late in the encounter when they had a chance cleared off the line.

Celtic will continue their tour with a friendly against Perth on Saturday.