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Roddy Forsyth reports from Parkhead
"A week can change almost anything in football"
 real 28k

Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 08:51 GMT
Celtic splutter into final

Oliver Tebily takes on the Kilmarnock defence

Celtic 1-0 Kilmarnock

Celtic stuttered into the final of the CIS Insurance Cup with a less than convincing 1-0 victory over Premier League strugglers Kilmarnock.

Lubomir Moravcik headed the winner with 24 minutes remaining at Hampden Park just as Celtic's frustrated fans were getting agitated.

The Hoops now meet Aberdeen in the final where they hope to clinch what is likely to be their only piece of silverware this season.

Last week against Inverness was not a happy night for everyone concerned with this football club so maybe now this result will have lifted us a bit.
Kenny Dalglish
Caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish was delighted to see his beleaguered players salvage a chance of honours from a sorry season.

"It's a much better feeling for everyone than it was last week, he said.

"The supporters can maybe go into their work tomorrow and give out a bit of stick rather than receiving it. We've restored a bit of pride for them tonight."

Celtic begun menacingly but, for all their possession, by the final 30 minutes looked slack and undisciplined.

Sadly for the Celtic fans, the first-half highpoint came after just 40 seconds when Mark Burchill's curling shot hit the right-hand upright.

Marc Viduka holds off a challenge from Frederic Dindeleux
It might have been different had Kilmarnock keeper Colin Meldrum not been so sharp.

Celtic were at their most dangerous during the opening twenty minutes but Meldrum did well to bravely twice deny Jackie McNamara, earning a bloody arm in the process.

Celtic also had a penalty claim rejected when Jim Lauchlan appeared to trip Burchill but their claims were waved away.

But by then Kilmarnock had taken heart from their resilience and were mounting their own attacks.

Match facts
40 secs: Birchill hits the post
66 mins: Moravcik heads the only goal
73 mins: McNamara and Cocard both shown second yellow cards
74 mins: Cocard walks but McNamara remains after referee realises he had not previously been booked
They were spurred on by the nerves of Dmitri Kharine, given his chance after the departure of discarded Jonathan Gould, who insisted on punching every ball which came his way.

Kilmarnock's main threat came from Gus MacPherson's over-lapping runs down the right flank but otherwise their main tactic was clearly a one of frustration.

Just as the game threatened to descend into Scottish football at its worst, Moravcik finally found the piece of skill which had been singularly lacking from either side.

He spied McNamara's swirling cross in plenty of time and awaited rooted before planting it goalbound, where it ricocheted off the underside of the bar.

Late flourish

Eight minutes later both teams appeared to be reduced to ten men when Jim McCluskey penalised an off-the-ball shove between McNamara and Christophe Cocard by flourishing yellow cards followed by red at both of them.

Cocard, who had earlier been booked, walked but McNamara remained after McClusky apparently realised it was his first offence.

Still Celtic could not impose themselves on the game and Kilmarnock created two late chances.

Celtic are in the final but their inability to create more than fleeting half-chances, especially given their late numerical advantage, shows what a big task awaits John Barnes' successor.


Celtic: Kharine, Mjallby, Boyd, Tebily, Mahe, Moravcik, Stubbs, Riseth, McNamara, Viduka, Burchill. Subs: Kerr, Johnson, Healy.

Kilmarnock: Meldrum, McKinlay, Lauchlan, Dindeleux, MacPherson, Mitchell, Holt, Durrant, Reilly, Cocard, McCutcheon. Subs: Jeffrey, Burke, Bagan.
Referee: Jim McCluskey (Scotland)

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See also:
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Links to other Scottish Premier stories are at the foot of the page.