Football: Macari set for Celtic

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The Independent Online
Celtic. . . . . . 1

Sporting Lisbon. .0

CELTIC look certain to appoint Lou Macari as their manager within the next couple of days after Michael Kelly, the Celtic director, revealed yesterday that the club have agreed compensation with Stoke City and have received permission to approach their manager.

If he agrees terms, Macari will face a baptism of fire on his return to Scottish football after 20 years in England, with his first game in charge probably being the Old Firm derby at Ibrox on 30 October.

Celtic face a precarious journey to Portugal in two weeks' time for the second leg of this second-round Uefa Cup tie, having claimed a slender lead courtesy of a Gerry Creaney strike on nine minutes. However, on the evidence of Sporting's performance here, Celtic's advantage appears totally inadequate to see them safely into the next round.

There was quality enough about Bobby Robson's side, playing within themselves, to serve as a warning to Celtic. Several sweeping moves deserved a better fate than a defender's clearance.

Nevertheless, Creaney's early goal was well-taken. The striker controlled a Paul Byrne pass with his chest on the edge of the penalty area and swept a powerful shot past the goalkeeper. However, Celtic were to pass up two excellent chances in that first half, misses which might well haunt them.

John Collins, in space at the angle of the area, shot disappointingly wide after 26 minutes and, 10 minutes later, Creaney ran through but, with only the goalkeeper to beat, he pulled his shot wide. From the stand it seemed an easier chance than the one he had converted.

The visitors increasingly made life difficult for Celtic and but for poor finishing and a couple of good saves from Pat Bonner they might well have scored themselves.

Celtic (4-4-2): Bonner; Grant, Gillespie, Mowbray, Boyd; Byrne (O'Neil, 83), McGinlay, McStay, Collins; Creaney, Nicholas.

Sporting Lisbon (3-5-2): Costinha; Peixe, Valckx, Torres; Alves, Rocha (Figo, 72), Scherbakov, Sousa, Pacheco; Cadete, Balakov.

Referee: B Heynemann (Germany).

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