AN early red card proved costly as 10-man Cowdenbeath lost their Lowland League opener to Celtic B.

It wasn't the start Maurice Ross and his young side would have been looking for as they fell to defeat at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium, writes Andy Mullen.

The Blue Brazil put in a gallant display, despite playing for over 70 minutes a man down following the dismissal of Jack Garrad.

He was adjudged to have denied a goal-scoring opportunity, while the injury woes mounted after Cammy Graham hobbled out of the Excelsior on crutches after picking up an injury just before the break.

Cowden opened brightly and in the first minute Sam Newman whisked the ball across the face of the Celtic goal but there was no one to direct the ball home.

Then with nine minutes gone they should have taken the lead when Ewan Otto lost possession to Lucas Berry who raced towards goal, cutting the ball back to Aiden Gilmartin and his shot brought out a wonder save from keeper ‘Tobi Oluwayemi.

The rebound then fell back into the path of Gilmartin, whose follow-up lacked power and defender Dylan Corr was able to scramble the ball off the line.

The turning point of the afternoon came in 19 minutes, when Ben Summers raced towards the Cowden box and was stopped in his tracks at the edge of the eighteen yard line by Garrad’s challenge, and the midfielder was sent off.

The resultant free kick by Summers was blocked by the defensive wall as was a similar effort two minutes later.

As the first-half edged to a close Rocco Vata took over the free-kick duties for the Celts and drew a fine save from Mason McCready eight minutes from the break with a 25-yard effort. Then three minutes from the interval Graham hobbled off after a clash with Summers at the halfway line.

After being content with holding the possession in the first-half, the young hoops were more direct in the second half with Bruno Davidson having a shot well saved by McCready, before they eventually opened the scoring.

It came on 59 minutes when Matthew ANDERSON played a clever one-two with Tsoanelo Letsosa, with the Celtic captain firing a shot high into the net.

Minutes later Ewan Thomson was denied by Oluwayemi, before the home side went further ahead in 64 minutes, when ANDERSON got his second of the afternoon after linking up with Letsosa once more, before unleashing a 25-yard-shot into the top corner of the net.

On 70 minutes the hosts went further ahead when Bruno DAVIDSON sent a curling shot into the bottom corner of the net.

But Cowden kept battling and with six minutes remaining Chris AIKAMHENZE pulled a goal back with a curing volley, the Blues first counting strike in 720 minutes of competitive football this season.

They now play Open Goal Broomhill at Central Park this evening (Tuesday) at 7.45pm.

CELTIC B: Oluwayemi (7); Dede (6), Anderson (8), Otoo (7), Corr (6), Murphy (7) (Kelly 72 (3)), Vata (7) (Quinn 71 (3)), Summers (6), Letsosa (7), Carse (7), Davidson (6). Subs not used - Luyeye, Morrison and Agbaire.

COWDENBEATH: Mason McCready (7); Alfie Robinson (7), Sam Newman (7), MacKenzie Lemon (7), Jordan Armstrong (7), Jack Garrad (4), Ewan Thomson (6), David Struthers (7), Aiden Gilmartin (6), (Jonny Jarron 72 (3)), Lucas Berry (6) (Mark Donaldson 60 (3)), Cammy Graham (Chris Aikamhenze 42 (6)). Subs not used - Ben Weekes, Trialist and Daniel Farrell (gk).

REFEREE: Alastair Grieve (6)