Dunfermline Athletic tried to imitate Milan by wearing their change kit of red-and- black stripes at Parkhead yesterday. It failed to intimidate Celtic. Black and blue would have been a more appropriate colour by the end as Martin O'Neill's side cemented their place at the top of the Scottish Premier League ahead of their midweek Champions' League assignment in the San Siro, but the goal from Stanislav Varga and double from Henri Camara were scant reward for a display that could have seen them score eight.
The champions tormented their visitors all day, and but for a masterclass in goalkeeping by Derek Stillie a rout would have ensued. Celtic could have been ahead inside five minutes after Stilian Petrov's darting run prompted a shot that flew narrowly wide, and then Juninho whipped another long-range effort past the post.
It was little surprise when Varga broke the deadlock after 20 minutes. Alan Thompson's corner was glanced on by the head of Momo Sylla, and Varga slid in at the back post to stab the ball home with his left boot. Camara's pace almost doubled that lead soon after as he pounced on an error by Andrei Skerla, but a poor first touch allowed Stillie to clear.
If Dunfermline were dormant in an attacking sense, they cast off that guise on the half-hour as Greg Shields' fine cross was met by Craig Brewster and his volley whistled wide of the post.
However, there was a need for caution. Camara's speed created a chance out of nothing eight minutes before the interval, reaching a Hartson flick-on ahead of Skerla, and only the positioning of Stillie ensured the shot was beaten away at the near post.
When the pair resumed their duel, just a minute later, the little Senegal striker wore Stillie down with his stubborness.
Thompson's free-kick from the left flank was met by Camara's well-timed run. Stillie managed to parry the initial header, but Camara pounced to nod the rebound past the keeper. Hartson could have swiftly added to that lead, but his header struck the bar.
Yet nine minutes into the second half, a third goal did arrive. Thompson's corner was almost turned in by Varga in a scramble underneath the bar, only for Shields to clear off the line, but Camara seized on the loose ball and steered his shot through the ruck of players into the net.
If there was one blemish on Celtic's display, it was their inability to deal with high balls into the box. Brewster shrugged Joos Valgaeren aside just after the hour, but his shot was denied by the alert David Marshall.
Thereafter, Celtic simply racked up a catalogue of chances. Sylla saw Scott Wilson clear his shot off the line, while Stillie kept out substitute Ross Wallace on two further occasions.
Wallace's cameo role saw the tiny winger then hit the post before earning a standing ovation for torturing Stillie with his trickery.Reuse content