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1996-08-03: Celtic 2-2 Sporting Lisbon, Pre-Season Friendly
|Match Pictures | Matches: 1996 - 1997 | 1996-1997 Pictures|
- This was the second home pre-season Friendly and was thought to be part of the deal which landed Jorge Cadete.
- The team were about to leave to play Slovakians FC Kosice in the UEFA Cup qualifier.
- Stewart Kerr started the game in goal . He would go on to be Tommy Burns first choice goalkeeper this season.
- Alan Stubbs and Paolo di Canio were the new signings of the season and both were absent, Stubbs having strained a thigh muscle in the previous Friendly against Arsenal whilst di Canio was also injured with a twisted ankle. Neither would make the Kosice game.
- Celtic had just been fined £40,000 by FIFA and Alan Stubbs £28,000 for using an unlicensed agent during his transfer from Bolton Wanderers. McCann demanded that Neil Rioch – the agent in question – pay the fine.
- Sporting were minus ten players released to compete for Portugal and Nigeria at the Olympic Games.
Review40,000 people were there to open the new East Stand (the honours done by an as ever over-acting Billy Connolly). The game was somewhat marred by a red card for the Portugese defender Cruz after just 20 minutes. Despite scoring two good goals Celtic showed there defensive frailties and looked far from comfortable.
Kerr; McNamara, O'Neil, Boyd, McKinlay; Donnelly, McStay, Wieghorst, O'Donnell (Grant 45min); Thom (McLaughlin 45), Cadete (Hughes 63).
Subs not used: Marshall, Mackay.
Scorers: Celtic: Cadete (42), Donnelly (60);
De Wilde; Martins, Yordanov, Cruz, Aurelio, Balajic, Quattara, Pedrosa (Torrao 45), Misse Misse (Jorge 66), Hadji, Miguel (Filipe 45).
Subs not used: Taigo, Tony.
Scorers: Sporting Lisbon: Filipe (80), J Hughes o.g. (82),
Referee: K W Clark (Paisley).
- Match Report(see below)
Celtic flair and then burn outScotland on Sunday 04/08/1996
Celtic 2 Sporting Lisbon 2
SO Celtic's summer of love is over, cooled by two late spider stings from the indifferent Portuguese, but not before enjoying a lingering kiss from their own Latin hero.
The fans' ardent optimism about the coming campaign, inspired by a grand old close season, was manifest in another rowdy gate of more than 40,000 but they were left waiting for consummation by the end.
Jorge Cadete's dashing header - his 11th goal in seven friendlies - and cute set-up for Simon Donnelly besotted the stands and gave Celtic a two-goal lead. It never quite hid the deficiencies, however, and the easy plunder Sporting enjoyed in the game's last quarter will give Tommy Burns a couple of clammy nights before travelling to Slovakia for Tuesday's UEFA Cup-tie.
He will have to correct a degree of disjointedness and a slack defence before his side's match against Kosice. Brian O'Neil and Tom Boyd were far from understanding each other at the back and Alan Stubbs' first competitive match could be a fraught one.
These are good days for the old club, though, with triumphal theatre almost as much an expected part of the fare as the football. Yesterday, at the official opening of the East Stand, we had the manager and chairman joining in, Fergus McCann stoking the decibels with outstretched hands.
There was magic in the air all right, with Billy Connolly dressed in green velvet gown and winkle pickers looking every inch the demented wizard. Connolly joined the players in their pre-match huddle before reminding us that even dignitaries like he are simply acolytes of Celtic's current grandeur. Cutting the ribbons to the new stand he said: "I told the players in the huddle I can die a happy man now."
As doesn't often happen on such occasions every one of the celebratory balloons ascended and cleared the roof. Soon it was Celtic's turn to raise it. Cadete was the man after just a minute, initiating play with a back heel and spurting forward on to Donnelly's centre. Donnelly had been found in turn by Paul McStay. Cadete, all big hair and theatre, tumbled like a stage diver at an Oasis concert.
The next time he went flying an opponent - the Euro 96 star Oceano Cruz - was banished from paradise. Tosh McKinlay curved one 60 yards over the top from defence and Cadete, showing the pace which will be a precious dimension for Celtic in this campaign, broke clear only to be hauled down spectacularly.
We hadn't quite known what to expect from Sporting Lisbon given the eccentricity of their team sheet. Artur Jorge the new Portugal manager appeared to have been listed among the substitutes (though it turned out to be a youthful namesake) along with a chap simply known as Tony. Up front the goal threat was carried by a striker named Misse Misse.
Celtic, after a ragged opening half, took the first initiative, Cadete scoring in 42 minutes. It proved this team have lost none of their ability to in turn infuriate and astonish you. Just as broken moves and missed passes were turning thoughts to holidays past and pies to come they produced a move of sudden and deadly elegance. Andreas Thom played in McKinlay sweetly and the full-back bent in a bulls-eye cross from the byline. Cadete rose and thumped his header home.
Finally Misse Misse justified his moniker, rounding Stewart Kerr after half-time and rolling the ball slowly enough for O'Neil to dash back and clear. The defender's athleticism did not obscure, however, the gaps which appeared once more for the striker to exploit.
To script, Celtic awoke and added a second, another fine collective effort involving a Cadete flick and a confident Donnelly finish.
The game petered out as did the home side's concentration and within minutes they'd thrown it. Again defenders wandered and this time Filipe, the substitute, ran in beating goalkeeper Kerr from 12 yards. Balajic then free-wheeled down the left and crossed to let John Hughes bag his first own goal of the season.
Celtic finished a little drunk, though McStay did manage to spear in a 20-yarder, but the brilliant patches of earlier in the afternoon had by then faded into the memory.
So another season is about to begin and Celtic are as flawed and thrilling as ever. You might experience the odd Big Yin if you go down to Parkhead this year but never, I suspect, a big yawn.
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