A Kabelo Mahlasela goal on 67 minutes was enough for the Free State club to claim all three points for the second consecutive league game after they beat champions Bidvest Wits in their previous outing.
Home coach Benni McCarthy named a much-changed side to the one which lost on penalties to SuperSport United in the MTN8 final in Durban on the weekend, with eight new faces in the starting XI.
But for the most part, the Cape team failed to find much purpose to their play in what was not one of their better performances, coming just three nights after the marathon cup final in Durban had ended in defeat.
Following a slow start to the match in an icy Cape Town, Celtic had the first real sniff on goal when Ndumiso Mabena drew a smart save out of City goalie Sage Stephens on 15 minutes.
The Cape side had an opportunity around the half-hour mark when Ayanda Patosi fired a shot, but he couldn’t beat Patrick Tigneymb in goal for the visitors.
There was more work for Stephens at the opposite end of the pitch, the home keeper doing very well to keep out Mabena’s effort three minutes later, before also saving a Deon Hotto free kick.
But apart from those few incidents, the contest lacked in quality as both sides struggled to offer much of an attacking threat.
The game needed a moment of individual brilliance and that’s what it got when Kabelo Mahlasela jinked his way into the City box before firing past Stephens to put the visitors ahead midway through the second half.
The Citizens did try and inject some energy into their play in search of an equaliser, but their attacks lacked penetration against a well-oiled Phunya Sele Sele defence, who held on without much issue to move to within three points of the top of the table.
Would you like to place a soccer bet? Click here to get started in 3 easy steps.