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1997-10-04: Celtic 4-0 Kilmarnock, Premier Division
| Match Pictures | Matches: 1997 - 1998 | 1997-1998 Pictures|
- Celtic had just come out of the UEFA Cup Rd1 defeat on away goals to Liverpool
- ExCelt and ex-Assistant Manager Billy Stark was about to join Morton as manager at Cappielow.
- There was a low lying rumour that Pierre van Hooijdonk may be headed back to the club. He was in dispute and about to go on strike at Nottingham Forest.
- Despite Jock Brown officially denying it, t ransfer talk was of poaching David Zitelli from Strasbourg. He had missed a club curfew and been disciplined by the French club for meeting with his agent to discuss a possible move to Celtic. As it was he came off the bench and clinched a winner for Strasbourg against Rangers in their UEFA Cup 1st Rd tie. Other rumours concerned Paul Lambert switching to Celtic from Borussia Dortmund and Alan Stubbs leaving to join Sheffield Wednesday.
- Henrik Larsson had just won the Bell's Player of the Month Award for September and Wim Jansen made it a double with the Manager of the Month award.
- For Celtic Darren Jackson was out recovering from hydrocephalus, Phil O'Donnell was out wth a calf strain, Regi Blinker was recovering from a dislocated shoulder and Brian McLaughlin had a ankle ligament injury, Tommy Johnson was recovering from a hernia op.
- Of the Kilmarnock side both Martin Baker and Pat Nevin had been long term players through the ranks of Celtic Boys Club but never played for the Bhoys at any level.
- Kilmarnock had just been knock out of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup by Nice
Quick ReviewOver by half time and the team looking sweet.
Gould ,Boyd ,Mahe ,McNamara ,Rieper ,Stubbs (Annoni ,82 ) ,Henrik Larsson ,Burley ,Donnelly ,Thom (McKinlay ,77 ) ,Wieghorst (Hannah ,82)
Scorers: Larsson 17, 37; Donnelly, 32; Wieghorst 34
Lekovic, S Hamilton, Baker, Montgomerie, Whitworth, Reilly, Nevin, Mitchell (Findlay, 45) Wright (Burke, 79), Roberts, Henry
Subs not used: Anderson
Referee: G. Simpson (Westhill)
- Match Report (see below)
|Shots on Target||18||3|
Hurricane Henrik has stormerCeltic 4 Kilmarnock 0
Scotland on Sunday 05/10/1997
IF there is a wind of change blowing through Scottish football, then Parkhead was its epicentre yesterday as Celtic blew Kilmarnock away with a stunning display to re-establish their title credentials.
Down on the pitch, which the three high stands of this ground can now turn an average, blustery day in the east end of Glasgow into a vortex, a whirlpool of crisp packets and litter was testimony to the vicious and capricious conditions. It summed up Kilmarnock's day perfectly.
Bobby Williamson's team were swept aside by a first half tornado of momentous finishing as Celtic underlined that the belief they showed in two matches with Liverpool was not just a passing phase. Forget the fact that Kilmarnock had just 40 hours to rest their weary bones after playing Nice in the Cup Winners Cup, few teams could have stood up to this.
Two clinical goals from Henrik Larsson, plus wonderfully crafted efforts from Simon Donnelly and Morten Wieghorst brushed Kilmarnock aside like tumbleweed.
No matter what happened at Easter Road, and that result failed to materialise as the bulk of the 48,000 crowd had hoped, Celtic fans went home satisfied that Wim Jansen is fashioning a team capable of standing up to Rangers, whose demise, domestically at least, has been greatly exaggerated.
That is now ten games in a row without defeat for the Dutch coach, no small feat given the picture of disorganisation his side looked after opening reverses against Hibs and Dunfermline.
Jansen said: "I was especially pleased with the first half. The goals we scored were very good, as were the combinations of play. I like the fact that we play from one side of the pitch to the other."
Parrying all investigation into the championship picture, he said: "We know we have to go for the title but only the future will tell us if we are ready for it. Now we have to stay on this level."
Initially, the signs did not look encouraging for Celtic as Kilmarnock, orchestrated by Pat Nevin on the ground he once had dreams of starring on himself, took the game to the home side. Neil Whitworth should have done better than head Nevin's corner over the bar and then the little winger himself stung Jonathan Gould's palms with a 25-yard shot.
Then, Kilmarnock goalkeeper Dragoje Lekovic pulled off three exceptional saves in as many minutes and you began to think that this game was following the pattern of recent seasons in which the Yugoslav international single-handedly defied Celtic and ruined their championship hopes in the process.
In the 14th minute, great work by Wieghorst and Andy Thom set up Craig Burley, but Lekovic held the Scottish international's drive superbly. Within 60 seconds, it was the turn of Jackie McNamara but this time Lekovic spooned the full back's shot for a corner. He followed that up with a magnificent one-handed save to deny Donnelly.
However, even Lekovic could not resist the next Celtic attack when Larsson broke the deadlock in the 18th minute. Thom whipped the ball in from the right and Larsson pulled off his marker, Whitworth, to clip a sweet right-foot volley past the goalkeeper.
In the 32nd minute, Donnelly put Celtic further ahead. Again the ability of Celtic's players to read each others' intentions was evident. McNamara and Donnelly, friends off the park, have a telepathic relationship on it which was clear after McNamara took a ball from Larsson and, without looking, slipped a pass to Donnelly who guided a left foot shot past Lekovic.
Two minutes later, Wieghorst underlined the wavelength the Celtic players are operating on when he scored their third. This time Donnelly served in the role of provider, playing a lovely one-two with the Dane who showed great composure to loft the ball over the diving Lekovic.
Kilmarnock were then left totally shell-shocked by Larsson when he added the fourth in the 37th minute, reacting quicker than the sleepy Kilmarnock defence to Thom's free kick. In the second half Celtic may have taken their foot off the pedal but Kilmarnock manager Bobby Williamson admitted: "When you have the type of players Celtic have, you will always score goals, but we were terrible and really the game was well over by half-time."
- Manager Interview
"I was very pleased with the performance especially in the first half when we managed to chances into goals.
"We still had plenty opportunities in the second half. If we couldn't get down one side then we'd switch the play to the other and open the game up.
"It wasn't all about concentrating on one channel and we are now playing better week by week."
Bobby Williamson, Kilmarnock Manager:
"Celtic thoroughly deserved their win - they have good squad players who will always score goals."
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