Hartson hunger inspires Celtic goal feast

Celtic 7 Aberdeen 0

John Hartson has been accused of gluttony before, but yesterday he pursued a more acceptable form of greed as he helped himself to four goals in Celtic's rout to trim Rangers' lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

Just one point – and only two goals – separate the bitter rivals after the Welsh striker, who has been living on meagre rations in terms of playing time, took advantage of a rare start in Martin O'Neill's side.

Hartson's hunger will have been noted, not just across Glasgow, but several hundred miles away in Lancashire. His brief, but successful, outing in the Uefa Cup encounter with Blackburn Rovers prompted his inclusion against Aberdeen, with Chris Sutton dropping behind a front two of Hartson and Henrik Larsson

"I am delighted for John," O'Neill said later. "He could have scored more but he was unselfish on a few more occasions when he could have scored."

Aberdeen had been suffering from a virus which decimated their squad last week and forced the postponement of a game against Motherwell, but their manager Ebbe Skovdahl said: "There are no excuses." The goal rush was initiated by Hartson after 25 minutes in which the visitors had been the better side. Steve Guppy's cross was met firmly by Hartson's head, which put the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper David Preece.

Nine minutes later, the game was out of reach too. Larsson beat the offside trap and his low cross was sidefooted in by the Welshman. Larsson made it 3-0 just before the interval, with a stunning free-kick from 30 yards.

Hartson, though, was on a quest. He obtained his hat-trick in the 51st minute, after Alan Thompson had hooked a poor clearance back into his path, by steering a dipping shot over Preece.

By this time, everyone was keen to grab a goal and Bobo Baldé scored the fifth in the 71st minute. The big defender showed a hidden side to his game by thrashing a fierce 18-yard shot beyond the hapless Preece.

Hartson sealed his contribution in the 81st minute, before offering a hand of gratitude to Mohamed Sylla, whose run down the right flank ended with a cutback that the striker could not refuse, drilling in a right-foot shot.

But there others at Parkhead who are as hungry as Hartson. Shaun Maloney has had to make do with even fewer outings, but his introduction as substitute allowed the teenager to add a final goal, as he clipped an 86th-minute free-kick into the roof of the net from 30 yards.

Goals: Hartson (25) 1-0; Hartson (34) 2-0; Larsson (43) 3-0; Hartson (51) 4-0; Baldé (71) 5-0; Hartson (81) 6-0; Maloney (86) 7-0.

Celtic (3-4-1-2): Douglas; Valgaeren, Baldé, Laursen (Crainey, 72); Sylla, Petrov (Maloney, 72), Thompson (Fernandez, 72), Guppy; Sutton; Larsson, Hartson. Substitutes not used: Gould (gk), Smith.

Aberdeen (4-4-2): Preece; Rutkiewicz (Billio, 74), Anderson, McGuire, McAllister; Bisconti (Tiernan, 66), Darren Young, Deloumeaux, Derek Young (Mike, 66); Fabiano, Michie. Substitutes not used: Peat (gk), O'Donoghue.

Referee: H Dallas.

Bookings: Aberdeen: McGuire, Bisconti.

Man of the match: Hartson.

Attendance: 58,526.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine