Celtic and Ness faced each other for the second time in a week on Friday night with the town side looking to avenge the 3-2 County Shield defeat just days previous while Ness were looking to keep their slim title hopes alive.
And it only took around 15 seconds for the deadlock to be broken by the away side. Celtic’s centre was played back however a defensive mistake allowed Harry Thomson to steal in and his rebounded shot was eventually tapped in by Nethan Watson.
Just five minutes later, Ness’ lead was doubled when another error of judgement allowed Thomson to again steal in at the back post and slotted home to make it 2-0 to give Ness the perfect start.
Shell-shocked, Celtic did finally play themselves back into the game but struggled to keep possession on the tight Clickimin 1 pitch and Ness looked sharper all over the park and looked to build on their lead.
Midway through the half, a lapse at the back for Ness allowed Robert Smith to close in one-on-one with Kern Duncan but the away goalkeeper saved well with his legs.
And Smith was at the heart of the action again minutes later, flicking on a Jordan Simpson freekick to the back post where Joel Bradley nodded home but the defender was adjudged to have been offside.
Neither side created much the remainder of the half and Celtic rung the changes at the break with Saul Sim and Shay Regan coming on to freshen the home side’s attack.
The substitutions and change of shape from the home side certainly improved things in the second half as they dominated possession for large spells of the half. However Liam Flaws and Tomas Smith at the heart of the Ness defence stood firm and chances were at a premium.
Celtic nearly found a route back into the game when Regan was played in down the right but the winger’s strike rattled the inside of the near post and flew to safety. Aitken also had a shot from the edge that was easily dealt with by Duncan in the Ness goal.
With the clock ticking towards full time, Ness settled the game through full back Aaron Smith. A long diagonal found the dependable full back who strode into the box and scored at the near post to seal the three points for the away side.
Celtic now have a gap in their fixtures before facing Scalloway and Delting in the league to finish the 2019 season.
CELTIC TEAM: T Lynch, J Bradley, D Clubb (J Simpson), J Clubb, R Smith, E Smith (S Sim), M Murray (S Regan), L Spence, J Aitken, B Johnson (A Graham), K Moar