Football: At least Dalglish raises a cheer

Celtic 1 Petta 85 Leeds United 2 Smith 10, Burchill 47 Half-time: 0-1 Attendance: 51,500
Click to follow
The Independent Online
ALL DYNASTIES must start somewhere, but John Barnes' Celtic baptism was more Joan Collins than Jock Stein. Behind the shiny new outfits there was little of substance to discourage the theory that this was the same old script.

Had the scoreline been as top heavy as Alexis Colby's frocks, the new Parkhead coach could not have complained. Smooth-moving Leeds stripped his side bare of any pretensions that the Dalglish Revolution has effected an immediate makeover.

An eye-catching 85th-minute goal by substitute Bobby Petta, curling a wonderful right-foot shot beyond Nigel Martyn, was window dressing. Alan Smith's early strike and an Oliver Tebily own goal ensured it was not only Celtic's diminutive record signing, Eyal Berkovic, who was forced to look up in admiration.

For most, it was a first glimpse of the much-vaunted management team of Kenny Dalglish, Barnes and Terry McDermott. King Kenny, not surprisingly, took the bulk of the plaudits, though Barnes - the man who will choose the team - received a generous ovation, except from the 1,500 Leeds fans in the corner of the stadium who jeered the nemeses who made life hell while they reigned at Liverpool.

Both teams want to improve on last season's reputation for attractive but unrewarded play and have spent pounds 25m between them to bolster their squads. David O'Leary pointedly found a place for Jimmy Hasselbaink, whose possible pounds 10m move to Atletico Madrid angered him.

The Leeds manager's mood must have brightened after 10 minutes. Danny Mills, another acquisition, summoned up his trademark fierce shot, the ex-Charlton full back's drive was only parried by Jonathan Gould and the predatory Smith reacted first, clipping into an empty net.

Leeds seemed fitter and readier to put themselves about. David Batty aroused the ire of the crowd with dreadful challenges on the popular Lubomir Moravcik and Morten Wieg-horst, yet even young Smith was jarring bones wherever he went.

Had Harry Kewell profited from a delicious one-two with Smith, it might all have been over but Gould atoned. Berkovic - whose pounds 5.75m move from West Ham is a Scottish record - and Harald Brattbakk failed to finish Mark Viduka's fine work.

But within two minutes of the second half Tebily, the central defender bought for pounds 1.3m from Sheffield United to fill the void left by the out- of-commission Alan Stubbs and Marc Rieper, made a first impression every player dreads. Smith had too much room on the right to hit a menacing, low cross and Tebily tried to stop it reaching Hasselbaink but he succeeded only in diverting it past Gould.

Much of the blame lay with Celtic's curious midfield formation which exposed their full backs. They were stung into a response as Mark Burchill, who replaced the hapless Brattbakk, was cut down by Mills inside the box. A penalty was refused, as it also was, more correctly, to Viduka when a neat tackle by Gary Kelly spiked his shot.

The taunts rang out from the Leeds end, from "Rule Britannia" to "God Save the Queen" - not a wise choice in Glasgow's Irish republican heartland - but probably the one that hurt most was "what's it like to be outclassed?" Fifty thousand postcards will wing their way to Mr Barnes tomorrow morning.

Celtic (4-2-2-2): Gould; Riseth, Mjallby, Tebily, Boyd; Wieghorst, Lambert; Berkovic, Moravcik (Petta, 66); Viduka, Brattbakk (Burchill, 46).

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Mills, Radebe, Woodgate (Kelly 40), Harte; Bowyer (Bakke, 37), Batty, Hopkin (Haaland, 76), Kewell; Smith (McPhail, 66), Hasselbaink.

Referee: J McCluskey (Stewarton).