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1997-08-23: St Johnstone 0-2 Celtic, Premier Division
|Match Pictures | Matches: 1997 - 1998 | 1997-1998 Pictures|
- Andreas Thom was being linked with a return to Germany to join Werder Bremen
- A Dutch agent claimed in the Dutch press that Jansen was the fourth choice after he had been approached by Celtic to offer the Head Coach position to Guus Hiddinck, Louis Van Gaal and Dick Advocaat. Brown said the guy was talking rubbish.
- Celtic were said to be in talks with Jim Magilton, a holding midfielder then with Southampton. Meanwhile at Nottingham Forest, Pierre van Hooijdonk was talking about a move back to Celtic (allegedly) – this would seem to be extremely unlikely other than in the mind of PVH.
- On the day of the game a story broke that Celtic were trying to bring Brazilian striker Bebeto to the club.
- Peter Grant joined Norwich City on 22/8/97 for £225,000 and a three year contract. This left Gordon Marshall and Brian McLaughlin as the senior players and neither looked to be in Wim Jansen’s plans for the future. It also looked like there might be a deal to sell Jorge Cadete to Real Sociedad in the offing as he definetly was not coming back to Glasgow.
- The Daily Record ran a series of articles by Tommy Burns, who chose to go and speak to them. These discussed team matters and his relationship with Fergus McCann.
- For St Johnstone O’Neil was banned following his red for violent conduct in the League Cup game but Grant, who was also sent off at the death played as the red was a result of two yellows. The only real change in the Celtic side from the side that played against St Johnstone in the League Cup was that Thom was dropped to the bench, Blinker was over his ‘flu and McNamara made it back to the bench.
ReviewBack to Perth for the second time in a week. A brilliant Larsson goal (and a classic Larsson photograph). A far better second half performance saw Jackson add a second goal. A better performance all way round from the Bhoys.
Main, McQuillan, Davidson, Sekerlioglu (O'Halloran ,68 ), Weir, McCluskey (Griffin ,80 ), Scott, Kane, Grant, O'Boyle, Preston (McAnespie ,80)
Bookings: Scott, Sekerlioglu (St Johnstone)
Gould; Boyd, Mahe, Hannah, MacKay, Wieghorst, Larsson, Burley, Donnelly, Jackson, Blinker (O'Donnell ,80)
Subs not used: Thom, McNamara
Scorers: Larsson (44), Jackson (64)
Bookings: Blinker, Larsson (Celtic)
Referee: A Freeland (Aberdeen)
- Match Report (see below)
|Shots on Target||8||10|
Larsson attack fires up CelticScotland on Sunday 24/08/1997
St Johnstone 0 Celtic 2
THIRD time lucky. Celtic finally achieved their first league points of the season by denying St Johnstone for the second time in four days. This time, however, unlike that Coca-Cola Cup affair in midweek, there was little element of fortune in the victory which restores the equilibrium of Wim Jansen's side just in time for a vital week ahead.
Sublime goals from Henrik Larsson and Darren Jackson dampened the fire of the Saints, who were clearly pumped up in the first half by a burning sense of injustice after the manner of Celtic's Cup success on this very pitch last Tuesday. Who needs Bebeto?
Celtic general manager Jock Brown poured cold water on reports that the Brazilian World Cup star is about to move to Parkhead in a 4m transfer, by saying after the game that the contact had been from the player's agent rather than instigated by the club, indicating a nice piece of self-promotion from the Bebeto camp. "No Celtic official has seen Bebeto play for a long while."
With Jorge Cadete's sale to Spanish club Real Sociedad still in the middle of negotiations, Jansen had admitted that he badly needs a striker. Ironic that, from a club which had them falling out of every cupboard at Parkhead last season. Now though, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Paolo di Canio, Cadete and even Chris Hay who was a useful and underrated back-up forward, have all gone.
However, two moments of magic, in the 44th and 64th minute by Larsson and Jackson, indicate that at least two of the current line-up are trying to convince Jansen that the answer is under his nose.
Both showed the kind of leadership in attack that Celtic's Dutch coach requires and both proved they can combine it with a cutting edge. Now, they just need to do it prolifically, like Van Hooijdonk and Cadete and maybe Celtic will then stop being such a soft touch.
Certainly, Larsson, who was given his chance on the big stage by Jansen, taking the-then unknown Swede from Helsingborgs to Feyenoord before buying him again last month for just £650,000, believes the spineless shows of the opening two league weekends are now history.
"I don't think there has been a lack of leadership," said Larsson. "Players have to take their own responsibility and always have to fight for the team, even if they're playing badly. I think we did that. There is still more to come and we will get better but we have got rid of the hesitancy we had. We have to take responsibility."
Certainly, in the first half Celtic seemed to be continuing the master class of self-doubt they have been labouring at for most of this short season. St Johnstone could have gone on to emulate Hibs and Dunfermline on the strength of their first-half display, leaving Jansen and his players to contemplate a UEFA Cup tie with FC Tirol Innsbruck on Tuesday and then Rangers, in the first Old Firm league match of the season, a week tomorrow.
Celtic could have been one down after just 11 minutes when George O'Boyle dived to head home after Callum Davidson's fierce shot was parried by goalkeeper Jonathan Gould but the effort was ruled off for offside.
Having taken some relief from that, Larsson came close in the 24th minute with a powerful 30-yard shot which Saints' keeper Alan Main superbly turned round the post.
Seven minutes later Celtic struck both posts within seconds as, first, Malky Mackay struck the woodwork with a header and then watched as Craig Burley did the same with the rebound.
Just minutes later, Celtic were indebted to Gould for keeping them level. Again Celtic were ripped apart down the left, where David Hannah's deficiencies at right-back are obvious and again Davidson delivered a cross which O'Boyle met with ferocity but Gould produced a superb reaction to keep out the striker's shot.
Celtic cashed in on that save a minute before the interval when Larsson put them ahead. The Swede was involved at both the outset and the finish of the move, taking a pass from Craig Burley in the centre circle before switching play out wide to Simon Donnelly. Larsson then ran 40 yards to get on the end of Donnelly's cross and bulleted a header past Main.
Indeed, Celtic could have been further ahead in the first-half seconds that remained when Regi Blinker struck the bar after Jackson had danced past a string of Saints defenders.
Celtic though in the second half were a different animal. There was more conviction and more craft. Morten Wieghorst was particularly impressive, linking well with Jackson and Larsson as Celtic stopped playing the game on the back foot.
In the 64th minute, Jackson killed the contest with a typical piece of energetic foraging which yielded a goal, the striker drifting across the face of the box before curling a crisp shot high past Main.
- Manager Interview
“Jonathon’s save in the first half was the best save I have seen in a long time and it kept us in it.
“We scored two beautiful goals after that and you could see the confidence that these gave the players.
“The second half was the best we have played since I came here and that was very pleasing.”
“It was vitally important that we got a result and I think the players showed by their hungry approach how much they recognised that fact. In the second half we played as a team and that is important.”
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