Cadete takes Parkhead by storm

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The Independent Online
Celtic fans were still celebrating yesterday after witnessing the debut of Jorge Cadete, as remarkable an arrival into Scottish football as had ever been seen before.

The Portuguese international had had to wait five weeks to sign for Celtic after a protracted transfer from Sporting Lisbon. And he had not played any senior football since scoring for Portugal against the Republic of Ireland on 17 November, because of a dispute with his former club.

Despite the enforced inactivity, it took Cadete less than three minutes to announce his arrival, coming on as a substitute and scoring the final goal in a 5-0 victory over Aberdeen at Parkhead on Tuesday night.

"Now I know the Celtic fans are the best supporters in the world after the reception I received before kick-off," Cadete said. "It was an unbelievable debut for me, and to score so quickly after coming on for my new club was one of the highlights of my career.

"I've been training on my own since 17 November. Playing for those fans and to score on my debut has made up for those months of frustration and the weeks of waiting to join Celtic."

Two goals apiece from Simon Donnelly and Scotland's top scorer, Pierre van Hooijdonk, meant Celtic were coasting by the time Cadete streaked through on to Peter Grant's pass before chipping over Michael Watt. The roar that greeted his goal temporarily took Radio Five Live off the air from Glasgow as a cacophony erupted around Parkhead.

Cadete's goal gave Celtic their biggest win of the season as they moved within five points of Rangers, the leaders, with each side having five games to play.

"Of course the race isn't over," Van Hooijdonk said. "We have to keep going. The last game is on 4 May - and that's when we will all know who is the champions of Scotland." Van Hooijdonk scored on his debut for Celtic last season and he said: "It was a great way for Jorge to start, and that goal will mean so much to him and the fans."

Although Celtic extended their domestic unbeaten run to 29 games, their manager, Tommy Burns declined to call the drubbing of Aberdeen his side's best display of the season. "It was one of the best, but we can play better than this," Burns said. "There is more to come from this team and there is still a long way they can go. The main thing was to see the happiness in the supporters and to hear the noise they were making."

Burns insisted that his team will not be lulled into a false sense of security before the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden on Sunday, for which Cadete will be ineligible. He said: "I don't think there is any danger of that. My players know exactly what they are going into on Sunday, and we will be ready for it."

Burns still has doubts about the fitness of four players, Brian McLaughlin, Phil O'Donnell, John Collins and Morten Wieghorst.

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