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2001-04-07: Celtic 1-0 St Mirren, SPL
|Match Pictures | Matches: 2000 - 2001 | 2000-01 Pictures|
- Celtic win the league title!
ReviewThis was the game at which Martin O'Neill won the SPL in his first season as Celtic Manager.
Tommy Johnson scored the winning goal just before half time. The Celtic fans were of course delighted!
Douglas, Valgaeren, Mjallby, Vega, Agathe, Lennon, Lambert, Moravcik, Thompson, Larsson, Johnson.
Subs: Gould, Boyd, McNamara, Healy, Crainey.
Goal: Tommy Johnson (38)
Roy, Baltacha, McGowan, Barry McLaughlin, Walker, Kerr, McKenzie, Gillies, Quitongo, Fenton, McPhee.
Subs: Scrimgour, Nicolson, McGarry, Yardley, Renfurm.
Referee: J Underhill
BBCCeltic 1-0 St Mirren It may not have been the most convincing of performances, but few of the huge Celtic crowd cared as they cheered their favourites on to a second Premier League title in four seasons.
A Tommy Johnson strike in the 38th minute was enough to secure the victory and end the championship race with five games remaining.
Despite numerous good chances in the first half, Celtic could not add to their goal tally and the second 45 minutes were rather subdued.
St Mirren briefly threatened to spoil the party and forced a couple of good openings.
Celtic are now two-thirds of the way to a domestic treble - a remarkable feat given that this is Martin O'Neill's first season in charge at Parkhead.
Celtic were able to field the same side that forced its way past Dundee in midweek. With Chris Sutton suspended, Tommy Johnson continued his partnership up front with Henrik Larsson.
St Mirren arrived at a Parkhead searching for their first away win of the season.
The visitors have only avoided defeat once on their travels, drawing at fellow strugglers Dundee United.
Manager Tom Hendrie selected an attacking line-up, with Steven McPhee, the on-loan striker from Coventry, given a start along with Jose Quitongo.
Graham Fenton, largely ignored by O'Neill when both were at Leicester, was another attacking option for the visitors.
Roared on by a 60,440 crowd - the biggest gate in Scotland this season, Celtic were on the offensive right from the start.
St Mirren were tossed and turned every which way as wave after wave of Celtic attacks crashed forward, sweeping their opponents aside with a high-tempo passing game and carving open goal-scoring chances galore.
Johan Mjallby struck the post with a header, while Johnson and Moravcik went close with raking shots. Desperate defending saw Barry McLaughlin then Jamie McGowan almost turn the ball into their own net and Buddies goalkeeper Ludovik Roy moved smartly off his line to block at the feet of Johnson.
Larsson looked certain to score when he dragged the ball wide of an advancing Roy, but the high-scoring Swede scuffed his shot from an acute angle and allowed the keeper to get back and clear the danger.
With so many players committed to attack, Celtic were caught napping at the back when Fenton found himself racing through on goal, but the striker slashed a wild shot wide of the mark.
The breakthrough came seven minutes before the half time break, when Larsson surged forward and, with the St Mirren defence nervously backing off, picked out Johnson with an astute pass.
The former Aston Villa striker appeared to have lost his chance with a poor first touch, but was able to recover and slide a low shot under the diving Roy and into the net.
An Alan Thompson header hit the crossbar within minutes of the restart, but the home side had lost much of their earlier rhythm and St Mirren threatened to snatch an unlikely equaliser.
Rab Douglas was able to thwart the speedy McPhee, while Ricky Gillies went close with an ambitious hooked shot and Fenton dragged a shot wide.
The match rather petered out in the last half hour. However, Celtic went close to adding a second goal when a Larsson shot slid inches past the post.
Substitute Jackie McNamara, Neil Lennon and Didier Agathe all tried their luck with shots, but there was to be no more scoring.
Party time at ParkheadBBC
Saturday, 7 April, 2001, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Celtic have won the Scottish Premier League title with a 1-0 win over St Mirren at Celtic Park.
The victory paves the way for a domestic treble, not seen in the east end of Glasgow since 1969.
It marks an incredible turnaround in the fortunes of a club that has spent much of the past decade in the shadow of neighbours and fierce rivals Rangers.
Under the stewardship of John Barnes and, latterly, Kenny Dalglish, Celtic finished 21 points behind the Ibrox side last season.
Now there is the very real possibility that Rangers will trail their rivals by a similar margin at the end of the current term.
Celtic have not won the league since Wim Jansen led them to the title in 1998 and before that it was 1988 under Billy McNeill.
Much of the credit for the wind of change must go to Martin O'Neill, who has instilled an unshakeable will to win in his players since his arrival last summer from Leicester City.
Some shrewd activity in the transfer market has seen the Celtic squad take on a much more resilient look, with Robert Douglas, Joos Valgaeren, Neil Lennon, Didier Agathe, Alan Thompson and Chris Sutton all playing a vital role in the success.
O'Neill must also be credited with turning Bobby Petta from a nervous fringe player into a match-winning, ultra-confident wing-back.
When all else failed for Celtic this season, it helped to have the talents of the talismanic Henrik Larsson to fall back on.
The Swedish striker has enjoyed his best ever season, scoring 47 goals thus far.
While Rangers have undoubtedly been poor for the majority of this campaign, Celtic's record of only one defeat in 33 games speaks for itself.
Now O'Neill's troops can look forward to a first-ever Champions League outing in the season to come.
Celtic will have to get through one qualifying game before the group stages and that is where the club's progress under O'Neill can really be gauged.
While the Celtic squad has been strengthened during the course of the year, further investment will be necessary for European advancement to become a reality.
Under O'Neill, though, it appears anything is possible.
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