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2001-08-18: Livingston 0-0 Celtic, SPL
|Match Pictures | Matches: 2001 - 2002 | 2001-2002 Pictures|
Broto, Hart, Bollan, Rubio, Andrews, Wilson (Lowndes 66), Fernandez (Tosh 80), Bingham, Quino, Xausa (Anderson 79), Lovell.
Subs Not Used: McEwan, Caputo.
Sent Off: Bollan (77).
Booked: Rubio, Quino, Hart.
Douglas, Boyd, Sylla, McNamara, Larsson, Sutton, Hartson, Lambert, Lennon, Guppy (Thompson 68), Mjallby (Tebily 19).
Subs Not Used: Kharine, Maloney, Crainey.
Ref: H Dallas (Scotland).
- Match Report (see below)
The Swede must now be rated doubtful for the return leg as the Premier League newcomers again showed their mettle after taking a point from Ibrox earlier this month. Jim Leishman and David Hay's side thoroughly deserved a share of the points in arguably the biggest game in their short history, after frustrating their millionaire opponents. Livingston found themselves under pressure from the first whistle as the Celtic side, with Momo Sylla and Steve Guppy making their debuts, tried to create an opening. But Livingston giant Marvin Andrews was mainly the reason for the point after an outstanding performance against Larsson and recent signing John Hartson.
He let the Welshman know he was there early on with a towering header before charging up the field to head into the path of Davide Xausa. The striker charged down field and then caught Mjallby as he came across to challenge but, after receiving treatment from the physio, the Swedish international rejoined play. Livingston were under pressure again in the 16th minute when the lively Guppy swung in a dangerous free-kick, but former Airdrie keeper Broto came out to claim in a crowded penalty box. Mjallby was struggling to shake off his ankle injury and in the 20th minute was replaced by Oliver Tebily and now faces a fight to be fit for the Ajax match. Hartson was presented with a half chance in the 21st minute when Larsson found in the area but Broto was again aware of the danger and came out to save at his feet.
Celtic, however, were let off the hook moments later when David Fernandez raced away down the left but, with just Robert Douglas to beat, he pulled his left-foot shot just past the upright. The home side were not making it easy for the Parkhead side and were being restricted to long-range efforts. Larsson stretched just outside the box to give Guppy the chance of glory in the 26th minute but Michael Hart blocked the winger's left-foot drive. Chris Sutton, who was again in defence, was lucky to escape a card in the 31st minute after appearing to elbow Barry Wilson as the pair clashed in the Celtic half of the field.
Referee Hugh Dallas deemed that a strong talking to was sufficient enough punishment but Livingston wasted the free-kick. Both sides were hardly holding back as full-blooded tackles came flying in as the rain replaced the sunshine of earlier. Celtic keeper Douglas had to be quick off his line in the 35th minute when Francisco Quino tried to play the ball through to Wilson but the former Livingston keeper cleared up field.
Celtic boss O'Neill breathed a sigh of relief, two minutes later, when Oscar Rubio came flying in over the top on Sylla but the former St Johnstone man returned gingerly to his feet. The Livingston defender, however, was not so fortunate as he received the first yellow card of the match.
Andrews was playing like a man possessed and he saved his side with a superb tackle on Hartson after Larsson had played him clean through on goal. But, after the break, the home side looked the more likely to break the deadlock. In the 70th minute, when Stuart Lovell unleashed a shot from 25 yards, Douglas made a diving save to his left to deny him. Things started to get ugly as Quino was lucky not to get his marching orders for a reckless tackle from behind on Paul Lambert.
Livingston, however, were reduced to 10 men moments later when Bollan received his marching orders. He needlessly kicked out at Jackie McNamara in the area and after consulting his linesman Dallas sent him off and awarded Celtic a penalty. Larsson stood up to take responsibility and nobody would have bet against him scoring but he thundered his kick down the centre and Broto pulled off a fabulous save with his feet. Hart was the next man to receive a yellow card after a foul on Thompson as the home side hung on. Celtic threw everything at Livingston as the seconds ticked down, but with man mountain Andrews clearing everything, little was happening for the Treble winners. As the final whistle blew the home fans, players and management celebrated while Celtic manager O'Neill was left with plenty to think about before Ajax come to town.
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