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2000-10-14: Celtic 2-0 St Mirren, Premier League
|Match Pictures | Matches: 2000 - 2001 | 2000-2001 Pictures|
- The gap in fixtures was due to international commitments
- Celtic were linked to Dundee’s Robert Douglas on 3/10/00. O’Neill had been unsuccessfully seeking a goalkeeper since the start of the season. Douglas was also being linked to Southampton. Rangers then entered the market for the keeper, but he chose to head to Celtic Park when the club matched Rangers £1mill offer rather than potentially sit on the bench at Ibrox as backup for Klos. The signing was delayed till after this game with the clubs agreeing terms.
- Derby County contacted the club with a view to a swap deal for Alan Stubbs and Derby’s Norwegian defender Bjorn Otto Bragstad. Stubbs would be out of contract at the end of the season.
- On 5/10/00 Morten Wieghorst was admitted to hospital with what was thought to be initially meningitis. After complaining of flu-like symptoms and a loss of feeling he was kept in the Southern General hospital and eventually diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
- The Press got the wind of the first candidate for the Chief Executive’s job when they splurged with a story about Adam Crozier, then of the English FA, being offered the job for £400k/annum, double MacDonald’s salary.
- Juan de Ramos, manager of Rayo Vallecano then riding high in the Primera, contacted the club and made a bid for Berkovic of around £2.5million. This was well short of Celtic’s valuation.
- Lubo Moravcik stated that he intended that this season would be his last as a professional and he intended to retire at the end of the season.
- McNamara (ankle), Stubbs (knee) and Mahe (calf) were out and Petta was suspended. Agathe made his debut and Riseth, Healy and Smith came into the squad.
- Elsewhere Jim McLean took to fisticuffs when BBC Scotland’s John Barnes questions did not meet with his liking. He resigned the next day.
Jim McLean: " and I'll say it again, there's absolutely no way I'm walking away from this situation."
John Barnes: "How long do you give Alex Smith before he gets it right on the field?";
JM: "You think I'm going to answer a stupid question like that?"
JB: "Well, I'm only asking it.";
JM: "And I told you earlier I wouldn't be f****** answering it and make sure that that's cut ;... I'll tell you something, don't f****** ever offer me that again."
ReviewA tense game where we should have been leaps and bounds ahead but it took till late in the second half before the result was tied up. Didier Agathe had a very decent debut dancing down the right.
Gould, Boyd, Valgaeren, Mjallby, Agathe, Petrov (Healy 86), Lambert, Thompson, Moravcik (Riseth 59), Larsson, Sutton.
Subs Not Used: Kerr, Berkovic, Smith.
Goals: Sutton 33, Larsson 85.
Booked: Thompson (Celtic)
Scrimgour, Nicolson, Turner, B. McLaughlin, Walker, Sharp, Murray, Gillies, Renfrum, Fenton (McGarry 49), Yardley (Paeslack 67).
Subs Not Used: Nellis, McGowan, McKenzie.
Referee: G Clyde (Scotland).
- Match Report (see below)
|Shots on Target||6||2|
Shot-shy Celts still too strong for SaintsSunday Herald 15/10/2000
CELTIC 2 ST MIRREN 0. At Celtic Park. Referee G Clyde. Attendance 60,002:
IT was a frustrating afternoon, when finishing failed the home side. But, no matter, as six minutes from time Henrik Larsson did what he does best - scored. The Swedish striker's free-kick killed off St Mirren, but it will take a lot more to kill off Rangers in this championship race, although Celtic are now six points clear of their Old Firm rivals.
Martin O'Neill contemplated the result from Easter Road - a1-0 win for Hibs over Rangers. "Perhaps," he observed, "a draw might have been a good result, with both sides dropping points." Compliments about Hibs' right to occupy their lofty position aside, the Celtic support know what they prefer. And that is the Edinburgh side keeping pace, and Rangers falling behind.
It was St Mirren who fell behind at Celtic Park yesterday, but were never down and out. It may be a phrase borrowed from another sporting arena, but Tom Hendrie's players found themselves suffering from whatever the footballing equivalent is for punch-drunk. Yet, somehow, from somewhere, they found the strength of purpose to stay on their feet, although staggered by repeated blows. Only Larsson's late, lethal jab put them on the canvas. Given the relentless waves of green and white that swamped them, it is to their credit that their belief survived so long. Indeed, in the second half, when Celtic's inability to turn possession into goals led to anxiety, the Paisley side even managed a spirited resurgence.
Had the home side managed anything like the accuracy that Chris Sutton applied to a corner from Lubomir Moravcik to open the scoring on 33 minutes, St Mirren would have been crushed. His header aside, Celtic's onslaught lacked precision. Even Larsson, shorn of those distinctive locks but an unmistakable talent, found his usual unerring accuracy awry. The Swede could have had a first-half hat-trick, as could Moravcik, so often were the pair played into shooting positions. The Slovak, who has announced he will not be extending his tenure at Celtic beyond this season, gave ample evidence of why his decision to retire is regrettable for all those who adore football in its purist form. Barely five minutes into this clash, he twisted his way into the box, only to curl a delightful shot just over Derek Scrimgour's goal. The 22-year-old goalkeeper was selected in place of injured Frenchman Ludovic Roy, but it was an opportunity fraught with enormous demands.
Opportunities are there to be grasped and out on Celtic's right flank patrolled a man whose hunger to make the most of his was evident. Didier Agathe may have been a bargain buy from Hibs, but he is a squad man determined to prove he is off considerable substance.
Countless times he strode forward at pace, the ball on his toe and the byline in his sights. Frustratingly for him, those of higher profile failed to capitalise. His contribution was highlighted in the 21st minute, when he powered into the box and cut a penetrating ball across the goal-line. No team-mate was on hand to poke the ball home. Instead, Scott Walker, a defender, hooked it clear.
O'Neill reckoned it was one of the best debuts he had seen. "He was fantastic; a brilliant option for us," enthused the manager.
Stilian Petrov, a growing and impressive influence at the heart of Celtic's midfield, was another frustrated that his efforts were not matched by clinical finishing further up field. Such laxness let St Mirren live in hope, as they displayed a resilience borne of their undoubted team spirit. In clinging on, they found greater belief.
Celtic were culpable with their errant finishing, but St Mirren had doughty heroes; Barry McLaughlin proving the point when he contorted his body to block a goal bound shot from Moravcik on the half-hour mark. The visitors barely mustered a mention as an attacking force in the first half. Rarely, when the ball did stick at a forward's feet, was there a hint of danger, with new recruit Maikel Renfurm showing enough strength and control to suggest he may pose Scottish defences a few problems. The menace they offered in the second half was more meaningful, even if it was provided on the counter-attack. Wing-back Iain Nicolson was an unlikely catalyst, crashing a ferocious drive at Jonathan Gould's goal seven minutes after the restart. The Celtic keeper, whose first team place now looks in peril with the imminent arrival of Robert Douglas, threw himself across goal, but his intervention was not needed as the ball arched just over the crossbar.
It was Nicolson who then crafted another chance, firing over a cross which tempted Ricky Gillies into an acrobatic goal attempt. The midfielder's connection was not powerful, and Gould gathered his half-volley without much difficulty. Such interludes only heightened the edginess which enveloped the stadium, for Celtic were demonstrating the breadth and depth of their ability to spurn chances. The misses were glaring and repeated; Petrov putting Larsson clear, but Scrimgour blocking the ball; the Bulgarian then threading the ball to Alan Thompson, only for the Englishman to steer his shot wide of the far post.
Such aberrations were forgiven and forgotten six minutes from time. Sergei Baltacha, who had been sitting in the main stand up until 10 minutes before kick-off, had been hurriedly summoned down to join the squad when Jamie McGowan was injured during the warm-up. On as a substitute, he up-ended Thompson just outside the box.
With a free-kick given on the angle of the 18-yard box, Larsson stepped up to drive a low shot past a scrum of players on the six-yard box and into the corner of the net.
Pressure off, points banked. And that gap over the old rivals is starting to look significant.
PA Sport Match Report
- Manager Interview
"Maybe I went overboard with the praise in the dressing-room but I thought his debut was the best I've ever seen - absolutely brilliant.
“He is prepared to get at players with a bit of strength and pace and he is a brilliant option for us."
Celtic 2 St Mirren 0 By Chris Roberts, PA SportCeltic striker Chris Sutton pressed his case for an England recall with a well-taken goal to help sink St Mirren to keep the Parkhead outfit on top of the Scottish Premier League.
With the England national side's well-documented problems on and off the pitch the £6million marksman produced a timely reminder that he could be the answer to their prayers.
The former Chelsea and Blackburn star headed home in the first half and Swedish star Henrik Larsson produced a clinical late strike to wrap up the points - but ominously for the rest of the League, Celtic were again not at their best.
This was always going to be tough for the visitors as Martin O'Neill's side looked fresh from the start and it took just two minutes for them to create their first opening.
Paul Lambert found Didier Agathe down the right flank and the striker delivered a great right-foot cross to Henrik Larsson but the Swede headed just over the bar.
But they should have took the lead just four minutes later as the home side launched their assault on the visiting goal.
Larsson played a perfectly-weighted ball over the top to Moravcik, who jinked past Hugh Murray, but the Slovakian curled his right-foot effort just over the bar.
St Mirren goalkeeper Derek Scrimgour, who was making his first appearance in 20 months, had to produce a good save to deny Moravcik's long-range effort in the 14th minute and Larsson could only hit the follow-up over the bar again.
The Glasgow giants continued to apply the pressure and in the 22nd minute they came agonisingly close to making the vital breakthrough as Agathe's pace continued to continued to cause the St Mirren defence problems.
He launched a dangerous raid down the right flank and got to the by-line before firing the ball across the face of goal, but luckily Iain Nicholson was on hand to make a crucial interception with Alan Thompson lurking ominously at the far post.
Larsson continued to have a frustrating match snd in the 27th minute he was presented with guilt-edged opportunity to open his account.
St Mirren keeper Scrimgour failed to claim Moravcik's corner and the ball came to the Swede, just six yards out, but he headed wide of the mark.
St Mirren suffered a blow moments later as the injured Lee Sharp came off for Sergei Baltacha, who was called down from the stand just before kick-off to sit on the bench.
Celtic continued to dominate and Larsson again tried to break his hoodoo, two minutes later, but he blazed high over the bar from Moravcik's defence-splitting through ball.
But the home side refused to give up and in the 34th minute their work was rewarded and it was left to Chris Sutton to apply the finish in simple fashion.
Moravcik's corner came to the striker, just six yards out, and unlike Larsson he headed emphatically home despite the desperate attempts of the St Mirren defenders on the line.
Scrimgour was having a busy afternoon and he had to save from Moravcik in the 36th minute and Larsson in the 40th minute.
Larsson again went close just two minutes before the break when he got on the end of Stilian Petrov's cross and his header looped onto the roof of the net.
The Swede should have finally broke his duck and doubled Celtic's lead in the 51st minute when he was one-on-one with the keeper but he pulled his effort just wide.
St Mirren fired a warning to the home side in the 52nd minute when Nicholson's long-range effort flashed just over Jonathan Gould's crossbar.
Celtic's nerves were tested again in the 56th minute when Nicholson crossed for Mark Yardley in the centre of the box but his effort went straight at a relieved Gould.
It was Thompson's turn on the hour to squander the next chance as Petrov played him through, but he too pulled his effort wide with just the keeper to beat.
And they should have have killed the game off in the 64th minute and it was Agathe this time who squandered the best chance of the game.
Larsson played the ball through for the striker and he rounded the keeper but blazed into the side-netting with the visiting defence struggling to get back.
The lack of composure in front of goal seemed to be spreading and a minute later Larsson found Petrov, but the Bulgarian let the ball slip under his feet.
Thompson took his frustrations out on Scott Walker in the 67th minute when he accused him of overreacting to a challenge and he went into the referee's notebook.
Scrimgour produced more heroics in the 74th minute with a finger tip save from Thompson's shot after some good build-up play from Agathe and Petrov.
But Celtic wrapped up the points with just six minutes to go and it was Larsson who made up for his earlier wastefullnes as he thumped home a crisp right-foot free-kick from 20 yards out.
Celtic: Gould, Boyd, Valgaeren, Mjallby, Agathe, Petrov (Healy 86), Lambert, Thompson, Moravcik (Riseth 59), Larsson, Sutton.
Subs Not Used: Kerr, Berkovic, Smith.
Goals: Sutton 33, Larsson 85.
St Mirren: Scrimgour, Nicolson, Turner, B. McLaughlin, Walker, Sharp, Murray, Gillies, Renfrum, Fenton (McGarry 49), Yardley (Paeslack 67).
Subs Not Used: Nellis, McGowan, McKenzie.
Ref: G Clyde (Scotland).
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