Celtic cruise past dazed Dons
Sunday 11 August 2002
The Swiss are the masters of timing, but even they would have acknowledged yesterday that Celtic are the best at clocking up wins. The manner in which the points were wrapped up at Pittodrie must have impressed the scout from FC Basle, visitors to Parkhead on Wednesday for a Champions' League qualifying tie, who saw the 4-0 rout.
It took barely an hour to complete the second successive win of their Scottish Premier League defence, when Paul Lambert sealed the triumph with a sumptuous left- foot volley. Yet Martin O'Neill's side had been in command since the fifth minute, when Johan Mjallby poked home.
Chris Sutton doubled the advantage in the 34th minute, finishing off Stilian Petrov's lob with a diving header, before Momo Sylla added a third with another header, this time with Bobby Petta the provider.
Aberdeen, who must now lift themselves for their Uefa Cup tie on Thursday, were bemused and manager Ebbe Skovdahl admitted later: "Sutton and Henrik Larsson are a real handful to play against."
Livingston, who also make their European bow in midweek, received a setback when they perished 2-1 to Dunfermline at East End Park. The home side went ahead through Steve Crawford in 28 minutes, as the Scotland player rifled in a 16-yard shot after Craig Brewster threaded through a pass. Crawford then returned the favour for Brewster to score his first goal for his new club. Davide Xausa's late reply was little consolation. Kilmarnock produced another late comeback, but went one better than in their opening-day draw with Rangers by grabbing a 2-1 victory over Dundee United at Tannadice.
Jim Jefferies' side seemed destined to lose when Steven Thompson angled a finish on 71 minutes to boost his chance of a Scotland call-up by Berti Vogts for the coming friendly with Denmark.
However, Kilmarnock substitute Craig Dargo equalised seven minutes later and Kris Boyd's spectacular volley completed the turnaround.
Partick Thistle scored their first goal since returning to the SPL, but Alex Burns' header was cancelled out by Mother-well's Stephen Pearson in the 1-1 draw at Fir Park.
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