Stillie keeps Celtic at bay to spoil title celebrations

Celtic 1 Dunfermline Athletic 2
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The Independent Football

Dunfermline gatecrashed Celtic's championship celebrations with a confidence-boosting victory at Parkhead yesterday before their Scottish Cup final meeting with the champions at Hampden Park on 22 May.

Dunfermline gatecrashed Celtic's championship celebrations with a confidence-boosting victory at Parkhead yesterday before their Scottish Cup final meeting with the champions at Hampden Park on 22 May.

Celticwere presented with the Premier League trophy, but the atmosphere soon fell flat as Barry Nicholson and Gary Dempsey scored either side of Henrik Larsson's 37th goal of the season.

But Jimmy Calderwood, the Dunfermline manager, picked out his goalkeeper, Derek Stillie, for a stunning performance that earned the victory for the cash-strapped club. "He has been magnificent all season and he is going to be a big loss for us," said Calderwood who cannot afford to keep Stillie next season. "I would love to find a few quid to keep him but that's just the situation the club is in at the moment. They are a great bunch of lads but I'm afraid finances decide what happens now. This game was on live television and I hope a lot of managers were watching him."

Nicholson put Dunfermline ahead in the 28th minute following Lee Bullen's break. The left-sided defender picked out Derek Young, and David Marshall in the Celtic goal did well to save his initial effort, but the ball broke back to Bullen who this time found Nicholson at the far post and he calmly turned the ball into the net.

Celtic drew level two minutes after the break when Larsson, unmarked at the near post, headed home Aiden McGeady's corner from close range. But Dunfermline went ahead for the second time in the 59th minute when Marshall, showing a rare lapse in concentration, was slow to get down to Dempsey's 30-yard drive and the ball squeezed inside the post.

Dunfermline held on to win at Parkhead for the first time since 1997, boosting their hopes of another party in Glasgow later this month.

"To come here and win doesn't happen too often so we're delighted," Stillie said. "The guys did brilliant. We need a miracle to beat them twice - but I believe in miracles."

Goals: Nicholson (28) 0-1; Larsson (47) 1-1; Dempsey (59) 1-2.

Celtic (3-5-2): Marshall; Varga, Mjallby, McManus (Pearson, h-t); Smith (Miller, 55), Lennon, Lambert, Thompson, McGeady (Beattie, 75); Larsson, Sutton. Substitutes not used: Douglas (gk), Wallace.

Dunfermline (3-5-2): Stillie; Skerla, Shields, Byrne; Bullen, Nicholson, Mason, Dempsey (Kilgannon, 88), Darren Young; Derek Young (Labonte, 85), Mehmet (Hunt, 54). Substitutes not used: Scott Y Thomson (gk), Grondin.

Referee: D McDonald (Scotland).

Bookings: Celtic: Thompson. Dunfermline: Stillie.

Man of the match: Stillie.

Attendance: 59,739.

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