Larsson sinks Motherwell

Celtic 1 Motherwell 0
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The Independent Online
A first half of movement and menace carried Celtic into the Coca-Cola Cup semi-finals with a narrow victory. The home side created the chances to give themselves a more comfortable evening, but Motherwell stuck to their task to remain in contention until the end.

Celtic are getting it together. Wim Jansen's influence is apparent and there is excitement about Regi Blinker, Henrik Larsson and Simon Donnelly.

After just seven minutes, the young striker collected a Craig Burley pass and saw his shot deflected by the goalkeeper on to the crossbar. The movement of the home side helped them carve out several further chances, with Donnelly flagged for off-side as he turned the ball into the net while Steve Woods securely held a Burley header.

The decisive goal in the 28th minute was no surprise, given Celtic's superiority. Stephane Mahe swept a long cross to the far post to the waiting Larsson, who headed home from a couple of feet.

Before the interval Burley saw a header deflected wide, but Celtic lacked fluency in the second half, although Donnelly wasted a perfect chance to increase their lead in the 48th minute when he was played clear by Larsson, but the feet of Woods saved the danger.

Larsson narrowly missed a Blinker cross but Celtic struggled to add a second goal. Larsson had a chance to wrap up victory with eight minutes to go but, faced with only the goalkeeper, he shot against Woods' left leg.

Motherwell suffered the added indignity of a red card shown to substitute Ian Ross, in injury time for bringing down McNamara.

Celtic (4-4-2): Gould; Hannah, Boyd, Mackay, Mahe; Thom (McKinlay, 84), Larsson, Burley, O'Donnell; Donnelly, Blinker (McNamara, 71). Substitute not used: Gray.

Motherwell (3-5-2): Woods; Christie (Shivute, 62), Martin, Denham; May, Weir, Valakari (McCulloch, 77), Falconer, McMillan (Ross, 66); Coyne, Coyle.

Referee: K Clark (Paisley).