Football: Larsson earns praise

Celtic 4 Larsson 18,38, Donnelly 33, Wieghorst 35 Kilmarnock 0 Attendance: 48,165
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The Independent Online
Celtic ensured there was no hangover to follow the intoxicating praise they received for taking Liverpool to the brink in the midweek Uefa Cup tie by sweeping Kilmarnock aside.

Their manager Wim Jansen need not have worried that his players would still be dwelling on that match as four goals, two from Henrik Larsson and one each from Simon Donnelly and Morten Wieghorst, in a 19-minute spell in the first half, underlined that if Liverpool want a re-match next year then they might have to get into the Champions' League to do it.

Jansen's team have now gone 10 games without defeat in all competitions since they opened with Premier League setbacks against Hibs and Dunfermline and certainly Kilmarnock were never going to stand in their way as they re-established their title credentials.

Apart from a stinging shot and a volley from Kilmarnock's Pat Nevin the traffic was all one way. But for the magnificent display by Kilmarnock keeper, Dragoje Lekovic, the score would have been embarrassing. The Yugoslav international made wonderful saves from Craig Burley, Jackie McNamara and Donnelly before Larsson opened the flood gates in the 18th minute, the Swede reacting quickly to whip in Andy Thom's cross.

Celtic doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when McNamara slipped a pass to Donnelly who guided his shot past Lekovic. Then, two minutes later, Wieghorst exchanged passes with Donnelly to score. They wrapped things up in the 37th minute when Larsson glanced in a header from Thom's free-kick.

The Parkhead crowd of 48,000 sat back and waited for a similar deluge after the interval but Lekovic magnificently denied those expectations. Later, Jansen admitted:"We had to concentrate today and that was not easy after the Liverpool game which everyone is still talking about, so we had to give them something different to talk about."