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banner Monday, 25 February, 2002, 21:41 GMT
Celtic ease past Dons
Stilian Petrov scores Celtic's second goal
Stilian Petrov scored one and made one for Celtic
Aberdeen 0-2 Celtic

Celtic joined Old Firm rivals Rangers in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup after a straightforward victory over Aberdeen.

But the holders' night was spoiled slightly by the late sending off of John Hartson and an injury to Chris Sutton.

Goals from Hartson and Stilian Petrov early in each half ensured that Martin O'Neill's side gained revenge for their single league defeat of the season.

O'Neill and his players were angered by the strength of Aberdeen's celebrations following that 2-0 reverse at Pittodrie in December.

John Hartson misses a chance to extend Celtic's lead
John Hartson (right): Scored then sent off
But it rarely looked like Ebbe Skovdahl's on-form side would win the opportunity for a repeat showing on Monday night as Celtic cruised to only their second win in seven visits to Pittodrie in the Scottish Cup.

Celtic had suffered a blow before kick-off, a hamstring injury forcing top scorer Henrik Larsson to stay back in Glasgow.

But veteran Slovakian Lubo Moravcik proved an able replacement as the Scottish champions elect took early control.

Aberdeen were forced to make one change from the side that crushed Dundee United last week, with Darren Young coming in for the injured Cato Guntveit.

Both sides started at a furious pace and had created chances at both ends before Hartson gave Celtic the lead after six minutes.

Petrov was through on Peter Kjaer but took the ball too wide of the goalkeeper.

A powerful low drive by Robbie Winters flew the wrong side of the Celtic side-netting.

But it was Celtic who took the lead when Bobo Balde's through ball allowed Petrov to reach the by-line.

The Bulgarian captain's low cross into the six-yard box was scrambled over the line by the Welsh striker.

Alan Thompson challenges Dons' Kevin McNaughton
Alan Thompson challenges Kevin McNaughton
Aberdeen suffered a blow when midfielder Derek Young was forced to leave the field in the 34th minute to be replaced by Moroccan international Hicham Zerouali.

Hartson and Johan Mjallby both stabbed the ball wide from close range either side of the break.

But Petrov made the tie safe when Moravcik found the Bulgarian breaking into the box and the midfielder chipped the ball over the advancing Kjaer after 53 minutes.

Hartson took some of the shine off Celtic's night by being sent off for a kick at Jamie McAllister after being brought down by the Dons defender after 85 minutes.

Sutton, the striker operating in defence, was substituted soon after through injury.

Balde hauled down Zerouali in the dying seconds, but Celtic goalkeeper Robert Douglas saved Winters' penalty kick.

Aberdeen: Kjaer, McNaughton, McGuire, Whyte, McAllister, Mackie, Darren Young, Bisconti, Winters, Derek Young, Dadi. Subs: Esson, Anderson, Zerouali, Clark, Tiernan.

Celtic: Douglas, Balde, Mjallby, Sutton, Agathe, Lambert, Lennon, Petrov, Thompson, Moravcik, Hartson. Subs: Gould, Boyd, Maloney, Smith, Crainey.

Referee: H Dallas.

Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"We were excellent and deserved the win"
Links to more Scottish Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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