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2000-05-21: Celtic 2-0 Dundee Utd, Premier League
|Match Pictures | Matches: 1999 - 2000 | 1999-2000 Pictures|
- There was still no news on the Head Coach. People by now were assuming that Hiddink had been lost.
- Morten Wieghorst ruled himself out of the Danish national side for Euro 2000. Suffering from a knee injury he felt that there was no way that he could recover and be fit enough to play in the championship.
ReviewComeback for the King. Final game of the season saw Henrik return from his broken leg sustained against Lyon in October, a remarkable recovery. The curtain came down on what had been a pretty miserable season. But before it did, Kenny Dalglish gave run outs to many of the young Bhoys who were on the fringe of the first team. The game saw debuts for Brian McColligan, Jim Goodwin, Liam Miller, John Convery and Ryan McCann.
It would also mark Kenny Dalglish’s last game as interim manager and would be one of his last acts at Celtic Park.
Gould, Goodwin (Convery 76), Mjallby, Kennedy, Lambert, McColligan, Fotheringham, McCann (Miller 77), Berkovic (Larsson 65), Lynch, Burchill.
Subs Not Used: Kerr, Shields.
Goals: Lynch 52, Burchill 65.
Combe, McQuillan, De Vos, Malpas, Smith, Davidson (Easton 77), Telesnikov, Hannah, Hamilton (Thompson 62), Mathie, McConalogue (S. McCulloch 62).
Subs Not Used: Gallacher, Ferraz.
Booked: Combe (Dundee Utd)
Referee: Kenny Clark (Scotland).
- Match Report (see below)
Larsson's 25 minutes saves a seasonThe Scotsman 22/05/2000
Alan Pattullo at Celtic Park
Dundee United 0
THIS, then, was the closing of a miserable chapter and the rebirth of a folk hero. Never has the applause of supporters at the end of a game been shot through with such relief, but such weariness too. Yet, such has been Celtic's season, you felt it proper that a redemption of sorts could be sourced in the re-appearance of Henrik Larsson, back after a seven month lay-off to recover from a broken leg.
Such was the scale of his welcome when he left the dug-out - and this was simply to go for a warm-up jog - that it seemed patently obvious that almostevery fan had been roused toattend this meaningless game simply by the fact the Swede was rumoured to be on the substitutes' bench.
Surely not even Kenny Dalglish, on his last game in temporary charge of the team, would be perverse enough to leave him on the sidelines throughout. He wasn't, and Larsson saved Celtic's season, with 25 minutes of it left.
"I was pleased to get as many minutes as I did," said the striker afterwards. "It is nice to come back the same season after breaking a leg. I felt strong, though it was only 20 odd minutes. I felt good when I had the ball, but it was very emotional."
He now has until Friday to convince Sweden he has sufficiently recovered to take his place in their Euro 2000 squad. Two places have still to be filled, and Larsson flies out to Gothenburg today. Even before the striker had skipped on to the park, the shock of dreadlocks spied through the clear perspex of the dug-out was perhaps the sweetest sight of a torturous season for the Celtic fans.
Yet this was not all about Larsson, and optimism was also wrenched from the fact that this was surely one of the most youthful first teams ever to grace Parkhead. There were three debutants in the Celtic line-up - James Goodwin, Brian McColligan, and Ryan McCann - and three - John Kennedy, Mark Fotheringham and Simon Lynch, son of Parkhead 70s star Andy - making their first starts. Only the spine of the team contained regulars of the calibre of Paul Lambert and Johan Mjallby. "Baby-sitters", Dalglish later called them. Jonathan Gould also returned in goal, his first game since April.
Mark Burchill looked the most lively of the Celtic strikers early on, but his energetic promptings so often spill over into rashness when presented with a view of goal. On 15 minutes he skipped past Maurice Malpas - surely feeling even more venerable than usual in such youth - on the right flank, but his subsequent shot made only the side-net bulge. Indeed, Malpas later indicated to Paul Sturrock that he wished to retire from first team action. "The last of the true Scottish defenders has died," said the manager dramatically later.
On the half-hour hour mark it finally happened as Larsson, with great dexterity, leapt from the dug out, and commenced his warm- up routine amid wild cheers and hollering. You felt for poor old Stewart Kerr, warming up beside him, unnoticed. Larsson did a few sprints, a couple of star-jumps, and even touched his toes.
Then you remembered there was a game going on, although Eyal Berkovic will surely have wished the attention was still trained on Larsson three minutes before half time, when he missed from the penalty spot. Burchill was sent tumbling by Alan Combe, having been put straight through by a marvellous ball from Fotheringham. The listless way in which Berkovic struck the award said everything about the state of mind of most Parkhead players at this juncture of the season. Combe, though, was competent enough to save and then smother the ball.
United had hardly shown at all as an attacking force, but yet had contained Celtic. This, though, was nothing to scream from the Gallowgate rooftops, considering it was to all intents and purposes a Celtic "C" team they were facing.
In the second half United, who have not won at Parkhead for over eight years, finally succumbed. A fine move involving Berkovic and Mjallby was expertly finished off by Lynch, who curled a shot into the corner of the net. Thirteen minutes later it was 2-0, with Burchill tapping in from a yard after McCann had seen his angled shot parried by Combe. Even before the celebrations in praise of this strike, the home fans had been roused by the sight of Larsson peeling off his tracksuit and he bounded on to the pitch, to replace, tellingly, Berkovic. The Israeli dallied a bit before departing the scene, applauding all sides of the ground, and you could sense the Celtic fans muttering, "yeah, yeah, now clear off, and make way for Henrik". He soon did, and the stadium nearly collapsed amid the excitement.
Within a minute Larsson had fired a 20-yard shot inches wide - clearly still a bit rusty - before he threaded a superb ball through for Burchill, who bashed a shot against a post. His final major involvement so nearly ended with the goal most in the stadium had been willing. A volley from the edge of the box - with Combe stranded - was not hit truly, and Tony Smith headed off the line.
It mattered little. The score came over from Fir Park - Motherwell 2 Rangers 0 - and Parkhead could hardly contain itself. Few can begrudge the faithful such sweet, sweet relief, even though so late.
PA Sport Match Report
- Manager Interview
"I want to give credit to Dundee United's defence for behaving responsibly with Henrik. They didn't step away from him, but they played him fairly and sensibly."
"The six kids who started the game will have a lot of happy memories, as will the two other youngsters who came on.
"Simon Lynch showed a good touch and it was a good strike for his goal. He played particularly well but everyone did us proud and the older players, Jonathan Gould, Johan Mjallby, Paul Lambert and Eyal Berkovic, did a responsible babysitting job."
"I have said it before but I will say it again, the supporters have been great and the way they got behind the kids today as well as Henrik showed that whoever comes in here as manager will have a lot of good things going for him. However, he'll need a great deal of support from everyone at the club."
On Larsson - "He looked strong and quite sharp. He had wanted to play, but we had to be responsible about the decision we took."
“That was another big step for me today.
“The surgeon told me during the week that there was no reason I could not take part in the Finals and it is very encouraging to play in a game like that without any reaction.
“I feel good but whether I take part will depend on the national coaches.
“The Swedish squad has been picked but there are still two places open and I would hope to be in contention for one of those.''
Celtic 2 Dundee United 0 By Ian Rodgers, PA SportHenrik Larsson returned to the Celtic fold as Kenny Dalglish offered a bright insight into the club's future against Dundee United.
The Swedish international had begged his boss to give him a run-out in the final game of the season to prove his fitness to his international bosses ahead of Euro 2000.
Larsson played just 25 minutes but showed no visible signs of after-effects following his recovery from a broken leg. He shared centre stage with six young players in the 2-0 win.
Jim Goodwin, Brian McColligan and Ryan McCann made their debuts while John Kennedy, Mark Fotheringham and Simon Lynch got their first starts.
Lynch celebrated with a 52nd-minute goal before Mark Burchill added a second in the 65th, with Eyal Berkovic missing a first-half penalty.
The Celtic youngsters opened with some neat controlled play with Fotheringham and Goodwin the pick of the bunch and displaying a good understanding down the right.
But it was the more experienced campaigners who almost opened up United early on. Berkovic combined with Fotheringham before laying the ball into the path of Paul Lambert but his drive was blocked by Jason de Vos.
Berkovic created another opportunity when he flashed a corner to Johan Mjallby but the defender's header was just wide of Alan Combe's goal.
Mark Burchill escaped the attentions of John McQuillan after 17 minutes but the ball caught under his feet on the way to goal and his eventual shot found only the side netting.
Lynch was starting to find his feet alongside Burchill and shaved the bar from the edge of the area.
Another opportunist ball from Berkovic almost allowed Burchill time to strike but the forward misjudged the pace of the pass.
Fotheringham was the architect of Burchill's next effort moments later when he glided a ball to the left. Burchill struck well but Combe was down well to save at his near post.
After half an hour, Larsson emerged from the dug-out to warm up to a tumultuous reception.
And John Kennedy ensured himself as a fans' favourite of the future when he blasted a clearance into referee Kenny Clark's midriff.
With two minutes left in the half, Burchill raced clear of veteran Maurice Malpas before Combe pulled down the young striker. Berkovic strode up to the spot but his shot was weak and Combe easily saved to his right.
The home support were forced to wait a little longer for Larsson as Kenny Dalglish kept faith with his starting XI for the second period.
But it was United who went closest after the break when Stephen McConalogue crossed for Jim Hamilton but his header landed on the roof of Jonathan Gould's net.
However seven minutes into the half, Celtic's stars of the future were rewarded for their excellent work.
A Berkovic free-kick was cleverly backheeled by Mjallby into the path of Lynch. The 18-year-old controlled brilliantly before stroking the ball past Combe's dive to the left.
But the goal appeared to have a negative effect on the home side and the cries for Larsson began in earnest.
United noticed the fans' anxiety and McConalogue went close when he connected with Alex Mathie's near-post cross.
However the home supporters did not have to wait long for a second goal - just as they began to cheer Larsson removing his tracksuit top.
Berkovic fed McCann from the left and the debutant's shot appeared to be coasting just wide of Combe's post before Burchill bundled the ball at the far post.
With a sense of timing, Larsson entered the fray just seconds after the goal to the unbridled joy of the Celtic fans.
Within seconds, Larsson had reminded the home support just what they had missed in seven months when he stroked the ball narrowly wide of Combe's goal.
The Swedish international again proved his worth to the home side with just four minutes remaining. Larsson picked Gould's long throw on the halfway line and moved forward before picking out Burchill's run.
Combe was swiftly off his line to deny the striker but the ball arrived at the feet of Larsson on the edge of the area. The Swede could only swing at the ball but still forced Tony Smith to head off his own line.
To further prove his fitness ahead of Euro 2000, Larsson demonstrated more ball skills when he dodged McQuillan before forcing Combe into a fine save from 20 yards.
Celtic were offered a standing ovation at the final whistle but the loudest cheers were for Larsson.
Celtic: Gould, Goodwin (Convery 76), Mjallby, Kennedy, Lambert, McCorrigan, Fotheringham, McCann (Miller 77), Berkovic (Larsson 65), Lynch, Burchill.
Subs Not Used: Kerr, Shields.
Goals: Lynch 52, Burchill 65.
Dundee Utd: Combe, McQuillan, De Vos, Malpas, Smith, Davidson (Easton 77), Telesnikov, Hannah, Hamilton (Thompson 62), Mathie, McConalogue (S. McCulloch 62).
Subs Not Used: Gallacher, Ferraz.
Ref: Kenny Clark (Scotland).
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