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2000-05-13: St Johnstone 0-0 Celtic, Premier League
|Match Pictures | Matches: 1999 - 2000 | 1999-2000 Pictures|
- Everybody was now assuming that Hiddink’s arrival was a mere formality. He had met and discussed his contract with Sir Patrick Sheehy, Dermot Desmond and Frank O'Callaghan. He had agreed a compensation package with Real Betis (which stopped him starting with Celtic before 1st July). The club were said to be ready to part with Kenny Dalglish and hand control to Hiddink who would bring his own team.
- The relationship between Dalglish, MacDonald and the Board was said to be under extreme strain. Tommy Burns, however, was said to have a future at the club. The board were known not to be happy with the barring of Keevins from the last press conference at the CSA premises on London Rd. and said they would ensure that all reporters had access to the Press Conferences.
- Meanwhile Dalglish said that the club would decide if he left, not any newspaper and not any radio programme. Whilst this was all mildly amusing for the fans it made for extremely bad publicity for the club and it’s sponsors and partners such as ntl and Umbro and this had to be factored into the club response to the rapidly declining relationship with the media. Clearly it could not continue.
- The announcement on Hiddink’s arrival was expected on the Friday 12/5/00. When no announcement was forthcoming it was assumed in the true spirit of Celtic Football Club that there was a problem with the signing of Hiddink. MacDonald admitted that there was indeed a problem and that they had not as yet been able to sign a contract and conclude the deal. With Hiddink a free agent the sticking point to concluding the deal could only be money, or the freeing of resources by the Board to assure Hiddink that these were available and that the Board would back him with the resources.
- A further clash lurked and that was between Allan MacDonald and the rest of the Board. MacDonald was said to be dismayed at the slowness of action to get Hiddink in place. MacDonald also wanted to see a hefty budget made available for Hiddink.
- Alan Stubbs gave an interview to the Scotsman in which he stated he believed that he was about to be sold.
- On the 11/5/00 Allan MacDonald issued a letter to all season book holders saying that this season’s performance and activities was not good enough and that everyone expected a lift in performance. This went along with the news that the season book price was frozen as had previously been reported.
- In an about face, Allan MacDonald appeared with Kenny Dalglish at the pre-match Press Conference, which was held at Celtic Park. Also thirteen members of the C.S.A were invited to the press conference which led to further gripings from the members of the fourth estate.
- The team played in the new yellow away change strip.
- When Mark Fotheringham came on as a sub he became the youngest ever Celt at 16 years and 204 days, succeeding John Kennedy who had made his debut against Motherwell at 16 years and 204 days.
ReviewMoravcik red-carded at half time for a fall-out with St Johnstone supporters. Johnson sent off after a second yellow. Healey stretchered off and a feast for the young ones coming through the club. But a dull game apart from the red card action.
Robertson, Weir, O'Neil, Kane, Bollan, O'Halloran, McBride (McAnespie 76), Millar, Dods, Parker, Jones (Connolly 63).
Subs Not Used: Gow, Crosier, Frail.
Kerr, Healy (Kennedy 84), Mjallby, Mahe, Crainey (Fotheringham 57), Berkovic, Burchill, Johnson, Lambert, Stubbs, Moravcik.
Subs Not Used: Gould, Shields, Smith.
Booked: Jones (St Johnstone) Johnson, Stubbs (Celtic)
Sent Off: Moravcik (45), Johnson (52) (Celtic)
Referee: Willie Young (Scotland).
- Match Report (see below)
|Shots on Target||5||6|
Moravcik's tunnel bust-up is Celtic's starter for nineScotland on Sunday 14/05/2000
Paul Forsyth AT McDIARMID PARK
St Johnstone 0 Celtic 0
THE people responsible for adding petrol green to Celtic's new away strip could not have anticipated that its first appearance would be in such an explosive match. The scoreline's lack of goals does scant justice to the drama of an encounter in which St Johnstone twice were denied by the woodwork and Celtic played most of the second half with only nine men.
What looked set to be another predictably run-of-the-mill exchange, with a modest crowd and nothing at stake, ignited during the half-time interval when Lubo Moravcik was red-carded in the tunnel after an altercation with supporters. Tommy Johnson, who already had been booked, was then sent packing by referee Willie Young in the 53rd minute for a reckless challenge on Keith O'Halloran.
That Celtic survived the onslaught which followed, albeit a blunt one from St Johnstone's point of view, offered the Glasgow club a hint of encouragement at the end of another traumatic week. Almost forgotten amid the controversy was the fact that Rangers' lead over Celtic had been extended to 24 points. Not that anybody wanted to talk about that afterwards.
Celtic's interim head coach, Kenny Dalglish, revealed that referee Young, conscious of the legal action which followed a spat between Alex Totten and Walter Smith at McDiarmid Park some years ago, declined a policeman's offer of assistance at half-time and decided instead to deal with Moravcik himself. "Someone from the crowd used foul and abusive language," said Dalglish. "Lubo replied in the same language. I don't remember anyone being sent off for swearing at the crowd before. I asked the policeman what he would have done. He said he would have given him a warning."
At least the drama represented a distraction from the club's ongoing political saga. The few who bothered to journey through from the west started the match chanting "we want a gaffer" and ended it chuntering on about Young's perceived allegiances. They would have been even more angry if St Johnstone captain Jim Weir had headed a Kieran McAnespie corner under the bar, rather than against it, in the last minute.
St Johnstone appear to be almost as anxious as Celtic to have this season over and done with. It would have been unthinkable when this stadium was built over a decade ago to see some of its 10,000 seats unoccupied for an Old Firm visit. Yet neither club's supporters can be proud of their contribution to a crowd of only 6,729 which clicked through the turnstiles on what was a glorious afternoon.
The pace of 17-year-old Keigan Parker, which troubled Stephane Mahe in particular, was one of the few encouraging aspects of a disappointing first half in which St Johnstone's best opportunities seemed to stem from Stewart Kerr's inability to kick the ball. Three times in the opening half hour, the Celtic goalkeeper fluffed clearances under pressure from Parker and the rather less lightweight Graeme Jones.
Celtic deployed a midfield diamond from which Moravcik and Eyal Berkovic, regarded by many as incompatible in the same team, created the visiting side's best attempts in that opening period. Never mind that the offside flag all too often rendered their efforts worthless. Moravcik's pulled shot, after he had turned O'Halloran, would have stood had it not skipped past the post.
But the molehill that Celtic had failed to scale in the first half turned into a mountain within eight minutes of the restart. The home fans, who had reserved their biggest cheer for the half-time presentation of a £51,000 cheque to Roddy Grant in his testimonial year, improved on that after Moravcik's fate was announced over the public address system. By the time Johnson was coming to terms with his punishment, the match had been transformed into a bizarre spectacle enjoyed with voyeuristic zeal by supporters of both sides. Suddenly, St Johnstone were swarming all over their opponents. They came close against 10 men when Parker's angled shot was parried by Kerr, and Jones twice failed to convert the rebound. Then, within minutes of Celtic losing another body, Gary Bollan rattled a long-range effort against the post before seeing his free-kick narrowly miss the same upright soon after. They had more possession than chances, however.
The temperatures rose, in accordance with the afternoon heat, to the extent that the withdrawal of Jones was an attempt by St Johnstone manager Sandy Clark to prevent him being sent off. Alan Stubbs, who already had been booked for dissent, doubtless banked on the referee being reluctant to brandish yet another red card when he all but dissected O'Neil down by the corner flag. Colin Healy was then stretchered off with knee ligament damage after Bollan's ruthless, but fair, challenge.
The 20-year-old Healy had been joined in Celtic's hour of need by fellow youngsters Steven Crainey, Mark Fotheringham and John Kennedy who were congratulated by Dalglish on ignoring their numerical disadvantage and restricting the home side to only a handful of scoring opportunities.
"That has been our problem all season," said Clark.
PA Sport Match Report
- Manager Interview
“Even with nine men we showed that we never thought of losing and full credit must go to the players who worked really hard and also for a change got a bit of luck.”
"At the end of the game it looked like it was the youth team who were playing because there were so many kids on the pitch."
On Moravcik's dismissal - "I spoke to the policeman, and he said he would have let him [Moravcik] off with a warning, so I suppose he was unlucky,"
St Johnstone 0 Celtic 0 Lubomir Moravcik and Tommy Johnson added further woe to Celtic's dismal season when they were dismissed during today's goalless draw at St Johnstone.PA Sport
Midfielder Moravcik did not return for the second half having been sent off by referee Willie Young after an altercation in the tunnel - believed to be with a fan - leaving Celtic down to 10 men at the start of the period.
And just seven minutes after the interval striker Johnson also received his marching orders for a late challenge on Keith O'Halloran, his second bookable offence.
But the nine remaining Celtic players were relieved to be up against an impotent Saints side who could not break through to secure their first win of the season over the Parkhead side.
Saints were almost handed an opening goal after just 18 seconds when a straightforward Alan Stubbs backpass was miskicked completely by goalkeeper Stewart Kerr.
Striker Keigan Parker raced onto the chance but Johan Mjallby was more alert than his keeper and cleared to the audible relief of the travelling fans.
It was a particularly nervy opening for a side who were clearly suffering from the insecurity which accompanies a managerless team.
But interim boss Kenny Dalglish will have been pleased that his team finally found their feet and Johnson forced a save from Stephen Robertson after nine minutes when he turned swiftly on Eyal Berkovic's through ball.
Moravcik tried his own luck from the edge of the area later and Robertson could not hold, although Berkovic was adjudged offside when he collected the ball.
The Israeli international should have scored when he flashed Colin Healy's ball across the goal.
Saints youngster Parker was guilty of squandering a great opportunity when he collected Paul Kane's long ball.
Parker opted to try and find fellow striker Graeme Jones instead of hitting the ball first time, allowing Mjallby to clear.
After 33 minutes Stubbs, in possibly his last game for Celtic, attempted to break the deadlock with a drive from the edge of the box but Robertson pushed the ball away.
The first plaintive cries of "we want a gaffer" were heard immediately afterwards as the Celtic support voiced their understandable concerns about the lack of team leadership.
But their frustration was cemented after the break when a tannoy announcement informed them that Moravcik had been dismissed for an altercation with a fan as the teams left the field.
Celtic's problems were compounded just seven minutes into the second half when Johnson, who had already been cautioned, was dismissed for a foul on O'Halloran.
Nine-man Celtic were now in danger of being pulled apart by the home side and Gary Bollan was unlucky to see his shot rebound off Kerr's post.
But a lack of potency up front for Saints was threatening to annul their two-man advantage and Saints struggled to make any significant breakthrough.
The Bhoys could, though, be grateful to Healy for throwing himself in front of substitute Paddy Connolly's strike after 71 minutes.
The misery continued for Celtic and Dalglish when Healy was carried from the field after a challenge with Bollan six minutes from time.
Connolly then snatched at a chance to hand Saints their first win over the Hoops in the dying moments of the game.
And defender Jim Weir struck the crossbar with a late header to frighten the visitors.
St Johnstone: Robertson, Weir, O'Neil, Kane, Bollan, O'Halloran, McBride (McAnespie 76), Millar, Dods, Parker, Jones (Connolly 63).
Subs Not Used: Gow, Crosier, Frail.
Celtic: Kerr, Healy (Kennedy 84), Mjallby, Mahe, Crainey (Fotheringham 57), Berkovic, Burchill, Johnson, Lambert, Stubbs, Moravcik.
Subs Not Used: Gould, Shields, Smith.
Sent Off: Moravcik (45), Johnson (52).
Ref: Willie Young (Scotland).
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