Mjallby tells strikers to learn from Larsson

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Celtic assistant manager Johan Mjallby has told the club's strikers to learn from Henrik Larsson and work harder off the ball.

Anthony Stokes and Gary Hooper seemed to take inspiration from Larsson's unexpected training session with his former club last Friday when both netted hat-tricks in the 9-0 demolition of Aberdeen 24 hours later.

But Mjallby felt Celtic were disappointing in the final third when they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday night, missing the chance to go top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

Mjallby is looking for a vast improvement when Celtic visit St Mirren on Sunday and feels the forward players can help lift the team by winning the ball back when things are not going their way.

"We have got a lot of talent, a lot of players who are very good on the ball," Mjallby told the Huddle Online.

"They have got great imagination and are very creative with the ball. We need to work a bit more off the ball.

"We can't forget that our defence starts with the strikers. I think we all have to work a bit harder without the ball.

"That's going to make it easier for us to win the ball back and do what we're best at and that's to go forward and create chances."

Larsson is now managing Landskrona BoIS in Sweden but Mjallby was impressed with his 39-year-old former team-mate's fitness when he joined in with the first team last week.

And he hopes the former Barcelona and Manchester United player will having a lasting impact on his successors in the Celtic strikeforce.

"I couldn't remember he was this good when he played," Mjallby said.

"He was in great shape. I think the players were surprised he is still as good as he is on the pitch, still has the movement and cleverness.

"Maybe a hard thing for them was the way he moved and worked without the ball.

"His work rate was second to none for the team. I think that's something the likes Gary Hooper, Anthony Stokes and Sami (Georgios Samaras) have to look at as well.

"If they want to be Celtic greats they need to, not only score goals and create goals, but they need to work harder without the ball as well."