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celtic needed to win today to keep a safe gap at the top of the league with rangers due to play against aberdeen the next day. it was a chilly day and there wasn't too much to warm the fans up and it wasn't as if celtic had to put much effort in against a poor motherwell side.

apart from a rebounded hartson shot which hoops striker, chris sutton should have scored from, there wasn't much to shout about until the half hour mark when bulgarian captain, stilian petrov powerfully struck past 'well keeper, gordon marshall after some smart work by sutton.

young talent, aiden mcgeady skilfully skipped past the lanarkshire side's steven hammell, but marshall just managed to parry his effort.

the bhoys looked eager to finish the match as they started the second half, with a few half chances going begging.

there was some more smart play by mcgeady when a flashy back heel from found sutton, for sutton to find hartson, only for the linesman to stop for offside.

just below the hour, hoops striker, chris sutton scored after there was a mix up with aussie striker, scott mcdonald which had left the motherwell players stranded for alan thompson to superbly cross for sutton to cooly finish off.

celtic manager, martin o'neill then sent on brazillian, juninho paulista and on-loan henri camara, but the points were already wrapped up and there wasn't much for them to do.

you couldn't pick a man of the match because players like chris sutton, stilian petrov, alan thompson and john hartson were all stand outs, but the whole team looked calm through the match.

Petrov 32,
Sutton 58

saturday 22nd january 2005

wrote on 29th.
celtic were under pressure today, because a win against west lothian club, livingston would sent them three points ahead in their first match of the new year.

apart from the pre match huddle roars, the celtic atmosphere was disappointing, and my last game against aberdeen in october, which i though was a bad atmosphere, was good compared to this game. the livi lions aren't the biggest support and only brought around 400 fans, if that, but they managed to make a noise similar to the hoops fans , and the livi supporters would have been disappointed, and would have expected more from the celtic supporters.

to the match and the celtic players knew a win would send the three points ahead after their bitter rivals and had the same line up that beat hearts, 2-0 last week. rangers had only managed a last minute draw, and knew the livi lions wouldn't be pushovers under their latest manager, richard gough.

young prospect, aiden mcgeady, from a corner, crossed into the box for sutton to touch for slovakian defender, stanislav varga to narrowly head over the bar.
not much else happened up until the 15 minute mark after livi defender, oscar rubio pulled down john hartson. geordie, alan thompson's crossed free-kick was met by, spl top scorer, john hartson to make the score 1-0 to celtic.

celtic missed a few half chances, and were giving the ball away for livingston to miss a few chances and to be parried away by celtic goalkeeper, robert douglas

celtic were stunned shortly before the half time interval, when ex-dundee united striker, jim hamilton netted from close range after a burton o'brien corner.

after the interval, and celtic were pushing the livi lions defence for a goal mainly through set pieces.

celtic had a few penalty claims involving sutton which weren't given by referee, thomson.
from a sutton cross, hartson had time to chest the ball down and shoot, which somehow colin meldrum, the livi lions keeper, managed to tip over the bar.
celtic's lead at the top grew to four points today as they won to make sure they started and finished the year at the top.

scottish goalkeeper, robert douglas was in goal for his first league apperance this season,while ex-coventry keeper, magnus hedman was out through illness while the jambos were missing aussie defender, patrick kisnorbo and dundee born, andrew webster.

hearts' defence was all over the place and early on at the start of the first half, young irish winger, aiden mcgeady leant on to alan thompson's smart pass to make it 1-0 to the bhoys.

but the edinburgh team weren't dead and buried and were pushing douglas to some well saved shots

ex-aberdeen defender, jamie mcallister hit a well struck free kick, which goalie, douglas was well positioned to save.

the jambos' dutch striker, mark de vries was then causing many problems in the celtic defence winning many high balls, but couldn't put the ball in the net, but so were the parkhead team and celtic were always very dangerous on the break and 'big bad' john hartson should have made it two after some good work by geordie, alan thompson, but he sent his effort went wide.

de vries was threatening again and was unlucky as his shot was blocked by celtic's neil lennon.

on 38 minutes, a controversial penalty claim was waved play on by mike mccurry, the hearts irish defender, alan maybury pulled down hartson which looked to be a stonewall penaly, but mccurry didn't think so. and it was 1-0 when the whistle blew for half-time.

on to the second half and celtic were severely threatening the jambo defence and hartson, mcgeady and petrov all came close to hitting the target.

number 10 striker, paul hartley failed to hit the target after a smart knock down by the biggest threat.

but celtic got the goal they had been pushing for on 68 minutes after a well worked goal was finished in style by bulgarian, stilian petrov.
hartson flicked on to english man, chris sutton, who played the ball into petrov who...

if this was your first time at celtic park, you would be very surprised at the poor attendance. it wasn't that the arabs fans didn't bother turning up, but that something was distracting the hoops fans from coming to celtic park. maybe they are bored of watching them win week in, week out and have gone christmas shopping instead or is it that celtic aren't as exciting as they used to be and are bored of them gatting a goal and just holding on that they find frustrating, think about it as if you are a irish celtic season book holder, would you really want to pay your £435 price for a season ticket, and then the price of the plane to scotland? or would you rather just leave it?
not many people from ireland would want your ticket because of how much it will cost just to get there on a plant just to see them against bottom of the league, dundee united. they'd rather see them against rangers or hearts or in the champion's league.

dundee united had a point to prove ahead of their game and were searching for their first victory away from home so they were concentrating everything on attack and the terrors forced themselves a corner early on in the first half but it was soon celtic who were causing problems at the other end mcgeady's dangerous corners were causing problems in united's defence.

there was soon more threats from the hoops as sutton's flick set up stilian petrov for a powerful shot, which terrors keeper, tony bullock managed to parry wide.
petrov went even closer a minute later. sutton's smart pass set up a left- footed shot in the box that beat bullock, but united wing-back, mark wilson was on the line to clear away the shot.

celtic were caught cold and the visitors number 7, mark kerr passed through to wilson and the wing-back ran past celtic defender, joos valgaeren before playing the ball back to jim mcintyre, who was too slow and was crowded by other players to stop the tangerine's attack.

showboater, mcgeady went close with a first time...
celtic returned to the top of the SPL after a very convincing win on dnfermline's plastic pitch in front of a poor turn out by pars supporters.

the hoops started off with the same 11 that started aginst ac milan on tuesday in a very well fought draw against ac milan.

there were two talking points in the first half where the celtic supporters will have felt very hard done by. first what looked a clear goal was disallowed by referee hugh dallas and a penalty claim was waved away by dallas.

but that didn't matter too much, on 16 minutes a well worked corner was headed in by striker, chris sutton.
from then on celtic were in control and and just after the 30 minute mark, midfielder, stilian petrov struck an unstoppable effort past pars goalkeeper, derek stillie

a few efforts came close including towerng defender, dianbobo balde's effort.

celtic goalkeeper magnus hedman pulled off a few good stops early on in the second half.
john hartson came as close as it gets by shooting off the inside of the crossbar.
on 70 minutes hartson yet again very unlucky with a goal disallowed for handball, which was very debatable.

but it stayed the same to the final whistle with a 2-0 win that celtic could have added to. that didn't matter too much to the celtic fans and players because rangers had dropped two points and celtic's win sent them to the top by one point.

there were some very convincing performances by celtic players, mcgeady, hartson and petrov who were the stand outs. alan thompson also answered the critics and played how celtic fans are used to seeing. overall though the celtic players will be very proud by the way they played, maybe surprised that they didn't add to the two goals. they will be glad by the way they controlled most of the game, not letting the pars having much to say.

by connor (yorkshire tim.)

what do you think? i was bored so i decided to write a match report from the game on sunday.
no, before you ask, i didn't copy and paste this took me...