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Friday, 28 December, 2001, 18:33 GMT
Celtic add to United's woes
Stilian Petrov strokes home Celtic's second goal
Stilian Petrov was left unmarked for Celtic's second
Dundee United 0-4 Celtic

Celtic swept aside a Dundee United side visibly suffering a lack of confidence.

United manager Alex Smith had warned in midweek that the battle for control of his boardroom was starting to affect his players.

The tangerine malaise spilled on to the Tannadice pitch against Celtic and the visitors took full advantage thanks to goals from John Hartson, Stilian Petrov, Alan Thompson and Henrik Larsson.

It was a nightmare first full start for former Celtic Under-21 defender Marc Cocozza.

The Tangerines had been without skipper Danny Griffin, with Jamie McCunnie, Stephen Carson and Stephen McConalogue also missing out.

John Hartson gives Celtic an early lead
John Hartson gives Celtic an early lead
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill made three changes from the side that snatching a last-minute victory on Boxing Day.

Hartson replaced the injured Chris Sutton up front, Stephen Crainey was in for the suspended Joos Valgaeren and Jackie McNamara started ahead of veteran Lubo Moravcik.

The midweek struggle against Livingston had closely followed a defeat in Aberdeen that ended Celtic's long unbeaten run in Scotland.

But any jitters the runaway Scottish Premier League leaders might have felt were swept away after only three minutes in Dundee.

Hartson had already broken clear to force goalkeeper Paul Gallacher to turn the Welsh striker's netbound left-foot drive wide of the post.

United failed to heed that warning and McNamara sent Hartson behind the defence to make no mistake this time with his other peg.

Stephen Thompson had a chance to strike back for United after 11 minutes, but the forward struck his drive from the edge of the box straight into the arms of Robert Douglas.

Celtic celebrate Hartson's opening goal
Celtic celebrate Hartson's opening goal
It was all Celtic apart from that and they went two ahead after 27 minutes when McNamara hit the by-line and his low cross was tapped home by Petrov from four yards.

Gallacher came to United's rescue to claw two efforts from Larsson off the goal line before Smith had the chance to make any changes at half time.

Anything said was to no avail as Celtic midfielder Thompson superbly curled a free kick from 25 yards over the wall and past Gallacher at his near post two minute into the second half.

United winger Jim Paterson was forced off with a head knock soon after and Douglas had to produce a good block to prevent substitute Hamilton having a scoring first touch from five yards.

Crainey was stretchered off after Hamilton's late lunge at the young Celtic defender's shin.

United were demoralised and Larsson drove the fourth goal home off the far post after pouncing on a Hartson flick 20 minutes from time.

Dundee Utd: Gallacher, Cocozza, Lauchlan, McCracken, Partridge, Easton, Venetis (O'Brien 79), Hannah, Miller, Paterson (Hamilton 53), Thompson (Lilley 70). Subs Not Used: Combe, Wright.

Booked: Partridge, Miller.

Celtic: Douglas, Balde, Lennon (Petta 72), Mjallby, McNamara, Petrov, Lambert (Maloney 77), Thompson, Crainey (Tebily 62), Larsson, Hartson. Subs Not Used: Gould, Moravcik.

Booked: Thompson.

Att: 12,165

Referee: J Rowbotham.

BBC Sport's Andy Gillies
"Celtic were simply dominant"
Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"To win the way we did was excellent"
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