Celtic 5 Dunfermline 0Saturday, 9th Feb 2002
Larsson (13, 32, 43), Hartson (37), Agathe (73)
Celtic rebounded back from Tuesday night`s defeat from Rangers by hitting five past Dunfermline. When keeperScott Thomson saved a 5th minute penalty from Henrik Larsson there was a glimmer of hope that this might just be Dunfermline`s day but a first half hat trick from Larsson soon squashed the optimism back to Fife.
Gary Mason and Jason Dair came into the side that drew with Hearts, Chris McGroarty and Ian Ferguson dropping out. Scott Y Thomson continued in goals in place of the injured Marco Ruitenbeek as Dunfermline tried to make a dent in Celtic`s 100% home record.
This season Juventus, Rosenburg and Porto have all entered the fray from the visitors` dressing room at Celtic Park and every time the hoops have won. Dunfermline were not about to upset the form book.
Gerry and the Pacemakers most famous hit was cut short as John Rowbotham got the match under way. Celtic kicked off playing west to east and the crowd finished off "You`ll Never Walk Alone" as Dunfermline unsuspectingly entered the storm.
The opening play was all Dunfermline and Rab Douglas was put under enough pressure to kick his clearance straight out to Michael Panopolous but the Pars could not capitalise on the mistake.
Next Seyni N`Diaye caused the SPL Champions a problem as he broke down the left. He was then extremely unlucky when he played the ball off Stevie Crawford and just could not bring down the return that would have given him a scoring chance.
With the pace of a tortoise Celtic were just awakening from some winter hibernation. Thompson made their first real advance down the left wing to shell over a fair average looking cross.
Hartson was waiting on it and as the big boy-o headed wide he was spilled over by Youssef Rossi and the referee pointed at the penalty spot. Three minutes 50 seconds - well the contest had been good while it lasted!
Marco saved a penalty here last season fromLarsson and it was the Swede who stepped up to shot left; Scott Thomson dived in the right direction and pulled off a great save that should have been inspirational for the Fifers.
The ball was seen out for a corner on the left and there was one great stramash when the ball came over from Thompson`s boot. Larsson eventually blasted the ball towards the keeper and Thommo reacted well to clear.
Chris Sutton, whose role for the day was to debutise for the injured Belgian Joos Valgaeren in the centre of the back three, then made a move forward to set up another cross from Thompson which fell behind the Pars crossbar.
Guilty of giving the ball away cheaply, Celtic looked vulnerable to some punishment with N`Diaye silencing the home supporters with two or three exchanges that might have brought about an opener.
Seyni set up Jason Dair but he failed to meet the ball right and the effort was wayward. Next the Senegali and Stevie Crawford almost broke through the Parkhead defence and following that Gary Mason got a pop at goal only to be blocked out.
Through Fife eyes the first ten minutes had been very entertaining but the second of two quick Celtic corners then provided the sting that changed the course of the game. Jason Dair`s headed clearance from the first fell to Agathe and Larsson was stopped by conceding
From just in front of the small party of travelling supporters, Alan Thompson swung the ball over to Agathe on the far side of the penalty box and his header was turned in by Henrik LARSSON.
Didier Agathe then had a twenty minute spell where he tortured Rossi and Dair down is right wing. Two good chances came from his efforts. On 20 minutes a cross that found Larrson on the edge of the six yard box really should have produced goal number two but the Celtic top
goalscorer headed wide to the right of goal.
Five minutes later Jason was forced to foul the West Indian and there was then an immediate danger from the free kick 30 yards out in the centre of the park. Alan Thompson could only fire into the Dunfermline wall.
Paul Lambert was the next to waltz around the Dunfermline penalty area eventually beating the advancing keeper but thankfully there are two Scott Thomsons so Nipper cleared from inside the six yard box. The Thomson double act followed that with another performance denying John
Panopolous replied with a long range attempt that went safely to Douglas. On the half hour Rossi forced his way forward and combined with N`Diaye to win our first corner. Made in Africa it may have been but it was Scottish internationalist Crawford who got a shot in from
the D. Douglas dived left to collect without much trouble.
Two minutes later Celtic scored their second. Moravcik on the right wing swiftly threaded the ball through to Hartson whose cross although possibly already net bound, was tapped in at the far post by LARSSON. Captain Scott Thomson had shadowed Hartson and Rossi took
exception to the captain`s roasting in the post mortem into the goal.
Cross words almost became crossed swords and John Rowbotham stepped between the two Pars defenders to cool the situation. But there was more anguish only five minutes later when Barry Nicholson conceded another free kick to Celtic in a similar position to that from which Thompson earlier had hit into the wall.
This time Barry Nicholson charged down the kick but the ball broke into the right of the penalty box and John HARTSON found himself with plenty of time to slot the ball under Scott Thomson. Thirty seven minutes gone and we were on schedule for a substantial doing. 3-0
Just a minute later, Rossi and Hartson clashed on the right and the Moroccan refused to shake hands and make up. Whatever language Youssef came out with was easily recognised by the Kirkcaldy whistler as something meriting a card and so a yellow was duly brandished.
Rossi was in the Celtic half when he lost possession allowing Hartson to advance down the Celtic right and send LARSSON through to complete his hat trick two minutes from the interval. The sun kissed the top tier of the packed North Stand and the Pars had to wonder at half time why it never shines on them at Celtic Park.
Half time: Celtic 4 Dunfermline 0
Lee Bullen was introduced at half time in place of the luckless Rossi. Jason Dair went to left back and Lee was involved right away when Panopolous sent a useful ball out to the right. The big
man`s cross flew across the six yard box but the Greek internationalist could not make contact on the return.
Scott Thomson fired a 54th minute free kick into the Celtic wall before Colin Nish was brought on in place of N`Diaye. The youngster was not required in the squad for his under 21 qualifications since Harrower and McGroarty satisfied that, so it was going to be interesting
to see if Nish could justify his inclusion.
Crawford made headway to the left corner and crossed for Bullen but Douglas arrived to pick the ball off Bully`s head. Nish did manage to hold on to possession to staved off Sutton and then set up Crawford through the middle but the striker`s shot went straight to Douglas.
Lubo Moravcik turned on some magic to bemuse Gary Mason and conjure up a fine ball from the deep on the right that surprised everyone as it travelled across the six yard box and behind on the left. Then Agathe made a characteristic run down the right to send one over for sub Jamie
Smith on the far post but Thomson produced another good save.
Pressure mounted again on the Pars and Celtic might have increased their advantage when Larsson shielded the ball to let Hartson have a shot at goal which shot wide of the left goalpost. But the fifth was only minutes away. A burst through the middle found Thompson on the right side of the box. The Englishman back heeled it for Didier AGATHE to hammer home. 5-0
As the stadium announcer informed us of NTL man of the match, the recipient failed to extend his match tally from three as Scott Thomson heroically held the Swede`s chip.
With the result in no doubt the final score did not seem to matter so by the end of the match most of the crowd had left seeking the only other contest of the day that mattered - to see who was to win Pop Idol.
Pars idols were few but both Scott Thomson`s played well. Gary Mason did a power of work and Andrius Skerla had a good game despite being part of a defence that leaked five goals.
Points, indeed goals, against the Old Firm appear to be bonuses. None from Celtic Park since August 1997 but it is more important to take points from the next two matches; at Dens and at Easter Road.
SUBS NOT USED: Stiliyan Petrov, Jonathan Gould (GK)
SCORERS: Larsson (13, 32, 43), Hartson (37), Agathe (73
DUNFERMLINE: Scott Y Thomson: Andrius Skerla, Scott M Thomson, Youssef Rossi (Lee Bullen HT); Gus MacPherson (McGroarty 78), Barry Nicholson, Gary Mason, Michael Panopolous, Jason Dair; Stevie Crawford, Seyni N`Diaye (Colin Nish 61).
SUBS NOT USED: Davie Nicholls, Ross Harrower (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Rossi (38)
REFEREE: John Rowbotham
WEATHER: Dry 7C
NEXT MATCH: SPL (away) v Dundee, Wednesday 12th
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