Celtic 2, Dunfermline Athletic 1.

IT WAS cup heart break for Dunfermline after a brave performance at the hands of treble winners Celtic.

The game wasn’t good for high blood pressure sufferers with sometimes desperate defending keeping Athletic in the game.

Despite constant pressure from the home side, Dunfermline stuck in and took the game to extra time thanks to an equalising goal which followed amazing work from super sub Andy Ryan.

However it was not to be with a jaded Pars eventually being defeated by another sub, this time James Forrest, who netted to secure their place in the next round of the Bet Fred Cup.

Stevie Crawford made two changes from the team which started last weekend at Queen of the South. Stuart Morrison and Josh Edwards came in to replace the injured Euan Murray while Andy Ryan started on the bench.

Cup holders Celtic made five changes after their Tuesday night European defeat, most notably captain Scott Brown was left out while James Forrest had to make do with a place on the bench.

The game started out as could have been expected with Celtic very much in control and enjoying much of the possession.

Within the second minute, Celtic had won a corner which was cleared by skipper Paton and minutes later Griffiths could have grabbed a goal but couldn’t get his foot on the ball.

The Pars nearly got a dream start with less than ten minutes gone when Nisbet got hold of a loose ball and found himself one on one with Craig Gordon. Despite a heavy touch, he managed to get a shot in which trickled wide of the far post when he should really have done better.

However Athletic soaked the pressure up and made it difficult for Neil Lennon’s men to make any progress.

On the 24th minute, Scully was called into action and tipped over an effort while the Pars keeper proved his worth again five minutes later when he produced a good save from a Johnston effort.

McGregor was next to try and beat the Dunfermline keeper but Scully got down to thwart him too. Bitton was also stopped when his thunderbolt from outside the box which was parried out to safety.

Celtic came close again just before half time when a chip reached Edouard but his header went over.

Stevie Crawford will have been pleased to get his team in for half time without conceding a goal.

Celtic came out looking like they wanted to make immediate amends and a crunching tackle on Edouard by Paton gave them a free kick on the edge of their box but Griffith’s tame effort didn’t cause any problems.

The home side eventually got their lead on 54 minutes when Mikey Johnston picked up the ball on the edge of the box and curled an effort in which sailed past Scully and into the net.

It did look like this would open the floodgates but Dunfermline held on despite efforts of Celtic however chances were few and far between with Nesbit very much the lone man up front.

Andy Ryan came on with just over 15 minutes to go and his impact could not have been more immediate.

An amazing run climaxed with a pull back to Tom Beadling who shot low past Craig Gordon.

Constant pressure from Celtic followed but desperate defending from Dunfermline continued to do the job.

The woodwork saved the Pars again in the closing minutes while Christie also hit over from long range.

Extra time brought with it ongoing pressure. Another super save from Scully came 10 minutes in when he went down low to palm an Ntcham effort round for a corner.

Celtic got the winner in the 114th minute after Forrest made his way through an exhausted Pars defence to hit past Scully.

A bad tempered end to the game saw yellow cards for Ashcroft and Andy Ryan.

Celtic: Gordon, Jullien, Bitton, Griffiths (Forrest 55), Christie, Johnston (Morgan 115), Edouard Bolingoli (Hayes 90), Elhamed, Ajer (Ntcham 75 McGregor.

Subs: Hazard, Bay, Shved.

Goals: Johnston (54), Forrest (114)

Bookings: Bitton

Dunfermline Athletic: Scully, Comrie, Martin, Ashcroft, Beadling, Dow (Todd 110), Turner (Coley 64), Nisbet (McGill 83), Morrison, Paton, Edwards (Ryan 74).

Subs: Gill, Devine, McCann.

Goals: Beadling (75)

Bookings: Ashcroft, Beadling, Ryan, McGill

Referee: John Beaton