Moravcik is braced for Europe

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The Independent Football

Lubomir Moravcik was lured into extending his career for one final year by the prospect of Champions' League football, and Celtic's talismanic playmaker staked his claim for a place against Rosenborg on Wednesday night by dismantling Dunfermline yesterday.

In the summer, when he signed a new deal, the veteran Slovakian turned 36 but he rolled back the years with two sublime goals at Parkhead to ensure that the Scottish Premier League champions maintained their unbeaten defence with an impressive 3-1 win.

Moravcik opened the scoring just as he did a fortnight ago at Easter Road. Dunferm-line's goalkeeper Marco Ruit-enbeek committed a dreadful error after nine minutes, his kick going straight to Morav-cik, who returned it from 35 yards with his first touch, curling over the stranded keeper.

Dunfermline thought they had weathered the storm, but lost a killer goal in first-half stoppage time. Henrik Larsson's mazy run struck terror but as he weighed up a shot, the Swede unselfishly delivered a reverse pass into the path of Chris Sutton, whose low finish was perfect.

Moravcik then brought the 58,000 crowd to its feet with 19 minutes left, chasing Bobo Balde's long ball and letting it bounce once before thrashing in another left-foot shot. But Dunfermline never gave up and after 85 minutes Steve Crawford made up for the frustration of sitting on the Scotland bench in Brussels in midweek with a fierce left-foot shot past Dmitri Kharine.

Hibernian also helped their confidence ahead of a testing trip to Greece on Thursday to face AEK Athens in the Uefa Cup, with a fine 3-1 win away to Motherwell. There was no sign of trauma after their recent 4-1 hammering by Celtic but Alex McLeish's side even went behind to David Kelly's 14th-minute penalty.

Hibernian responded with a penalty of their own three minutes later, Franck Sauzee drilling the ball in after Ulrik Laursen was brought down. Remarkably, a third penalty was awarded but Sauzee missed it. The Frenchman atoned early in the second half with a curling free-kick to put Hibs ahead, Paul Fenwick adding a third with a left-foot shot from the edge of the box.

Former Manchester United winger Ben Thornley netted both goals in Aberdeen's 2-0 win at home to Kilmarnock, after 53 and 67 minutes.

Livingston ended a drought of 444 minutes when Nathan Lowndes broke the deadlock at home to Dundee United, and captain Stuart Lovell's late volley sealed a 2-0 win.

Darren Jackson secured a vital point for the bottom side, St Johnstone, with a 73rd-minute penalty which cancelled out Dundee's early opener from Steven Milne.

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