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Saturday, 11 March, 2000, 18:49 GMT
Viduka and Burchill banish Saints
rafel
Rafael got a taste of the blood and thunder of Scots football
Celtic 4-1 St Johnstone

Strikers Mark Burchill and Mark Viduka helped themselves to two goals each to give Celtic a morale-boosting win following their disappointing defeat at the hands of run-away leaders and arch rivals Rangers.

It seemed as though the Parkhead side's efforts were to little or no avail in the first half as Burchill's opening strike was cancelled out by a 34th minute equaliser from Paddy Connolly.

But after the break, the Scottish Premiership's second-placed side showed their class, by running the Saints ragged.

Numerous chances

Celtic's 4.8m Brazilian signing Rafael made his first start and soon became aware of the ferocious pace at which the league's football is played.

His team-mate Burchill should have given Celtic the lead after 15 minutes, but the teenager's shot from Eyal Bertkovic's pass hit the side netting.

Moments later, Burchill found his goalscoring touch, following neat inter-play between Viduka and Berkovic.

The Australian sent in a low cross to the far post, giving Burchill the opportunity to blast his low volley past youngster Stephen Robertson in the Saints net.

Celtic spurned numerous chances to increase their lead, giving St Johnstone a gleam of hope to get back into the match.

Deja-vu

Saints levelled after 34 minutes when midfielder Stephen Frail's cross was headed down by Keith O'Halloran for Connolly to beat Bhoys' keeper Jonathan Gould to the ball.

Celtic must have sensed deja-vu when Viduka was clean through just before the interval but, as in midweek against Rangers, his finishing was poor, and he flicked his shot wide of the post.

Rafael was replaced after the break by Olivier Tebily, but for the next 20 minutes it seemed that it would need more than a substitution to kick Celtic into gear.

But on 64 minutes, Berkovic delivered a superb free-kick for Viduka to rise above the Saints defence and nod past Robertson for 2-1.

And just five minutes later Viduka started and finished a move involving Berkovic.

Celtic made the win safe just a minute later when the revitalised Viduka placed the ball on a plate for the tenacious Burchill, who claimed his second and Celtic's fourth.

Teams:

Celtic: Gould, Riseth, Boyd, Rafael, McNamara, Petrov, Wieghorst, Berkovic, Mahe, Viduka, Burchill. Subs: Kerr, Blinker, Healy, Tebily, Creaney.

St Johnstone: Robertson, Dods, Weir, Griffin, Bollan, Frail, O'Halloran, O'Neil, Kane, Connolly, McBride. Subs: Cuthbert, Lowndes, McAnespie, McMahon, Jones.

Referee: John Rowbotham (Scotland)
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See also:

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