Football: French blessing

Celtic 1 Dunfermline 2
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The Independent Online
Dunfermline captain Stewart Petrie delivered a damning verdict on the new-look Celtic after the side had plunged Wim Jansen's men to the foot of the Premier Division table.

The shapeless and spiritless form that Celtic took on was not lost on Petrie and neither was the fact that the home side so acutely lacked a talisman, a match-winning presence. That role was so often taken on by Paolo di Canio last term and his departure for Sheffield Wednesday, Petrie believes, has left an enormous void. He said: "Di Canio was to Celtic what Brain Laudrup was to Rangers. Without him they are very ordinary and play in front of you all the time. It is easy to defend against that."

Plunging the knife still deeper he continued: "At half-time I said to the boys that Celtic were just waiting to get beat. They had no one willing to stamp their authority on the game and the Celtic crowd was just waiting to get on their backs."

Groans of disapproval at an uninspired opening period were temporarily stifled thanks to the generocity from referee Martin Clark who adjudged that Hamish French had caught Henrik Larsson with a trailing leg in the 38th minute. The resultant penalty for the home side was confidently converted by Andreas Thom. It was rough justice and the five men who had seen a weightier claim turned down three minutes earlier after keeper Jonathan Gould prevented French skipping past him by what looked like far from legal means, but the second half put matters to rights.

Dunfermline punished an increasingly fractured home team with David Bingham stroking home from six yards in the 47th minute after a sharp pass into the box following a mistaken defence from Tosh McKinlay.

After Bingham and Moore had passed up golden opportunities for a winner the little winger Moore collapsed in a heap when he came under pressure from Malcolm McKie in the 76th minute allowing French to put matters to rights and grab Dunfermline's second from the spot. Afterwards a despairing Celtic head coach Jansen said: "We started to run out of shape."