Nou Camp display lifts Hedman

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The Independent Football

Magnus Hedman has hailed his Champions' League performance against Barcelona as the most important of his Celtic career. The Sweden international goalkeeper produced some crucial saves as the Hoops held the Catalan side 1-1 in the Nou Camp.

The result brought to an end their fading dream of a place in the knock-out stages of the tournament but moved Celtic to within a game of qualification for the Uefa Cup.

Hedman eased the memory of his poor performance in Lyon and he chose the scene of David Marshall's heroics last season to endear himself to Celtic fans. "This wasn't my best game but it was probably my most important game for the club," Hedman said.

"I wasn't too confident when they scored and just two minutes later they just missed by the other side of my left post. I felt at that stage things were going to go bad. But we stuck up to the task and they missed."

Celtic are now in pole position for a consolation place in the Uefa Cup and John Hartson, who scored the equaliser in Spain, is determined not to let that opportunity pass. They leap-frogged Shakhtar Donetsk into third and now have to do equal or better the Ukrainians' performance in their final Group F game to progress. The Glasgow side face Milan at Parkhead while the eastern Europeans face Barcelona at home on the same night.

Hartson said: "Barcelona are capable of going to Shakhtar and winning and hopefully they will be up for that and trying hard in Shakhtar. It is going to be difficult and cold in Shakhtar but it's in our own hands now and we are capable of beating Milan."

Hartson dedicated the goal to his watching father but he confessed he felt he was offside when he turned the ball in for the equaliser on the stroke of half-time. "My dad's happy with that," he said. "It's fantastic to score in a place like this but I thought I might have been half-a-yard offside. But I had one like that against Anderlecht a couple of years ago and never got it so it's swings and roundabouts.

"We scored at the right time and Magnus made a couple of great saves, which he was going to have to do for us to get a result, and limited them to a few chances in the second half. Going in at half-time at 1-1 gave us a real lift for the second half and it must have been really frustrating for them."

Hartson added: "They found it difficult to break us down. I don't think they had many good chances in the second half."

¿ The Scottish Football Association has invited the Rangers midfielder Bob Malcolm to explain his reaction to the awarding of a penalty to his team during the stormy Old Firm derby last Saturday. The 24-year-old, who was on the bench at the time, allegedly made a gesture after Rangers' Nacho Novo was felled by the Celtic defender Joos Valgaeren in the first half of the game at Ibrox. Malcolm was spoken to by the police about the incident but returned to the dug-out and was later introduced as a substitute. The match commander informed the referee, Kenny Clark, who has included the incident in his match report.

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