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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Celtic ease past Kaunas
Henrik Larsson opens the scoring against Kaunas
Henrik Larsson quickly continued his scoring antics in Lithuania
FBK Kaunas 0-4 Celtic

A history-making opening goal from Henrik Larsson set Celtic on their way to a comfortable win in Lithuania.

The Swedish striker equalled the British record of 30 goals for a single club in European competition held by Peter Lorimer and Ian Rush as Celtic built up a healthy lead in their Champions League qualifying tie.

Celtic, sporting a new black away kit, made light of Lithuanian champions FBK Kaunas as further goals from Chris Sutton, Shaun Maloney and Liam Miller ensured that the second leg in Glasgow will be a mere formality.

But the night was not without its problems for Celtic after Larsson limped off with 12 minutes remaining with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Celtic boss Martin O'Neill had defied some predictions by giving a vote of confidence to goalkeeper Rab Douglas.

The Scotland international's first-team spot had appeared to be under threat from Swede Magnus Hedman now that both are free from injury problems that plagued them last season.

Celtic were little changed from the side that lost the Uefa Cup final only nine weeks earlier, Stanislav Varga replacing the suspended Bobo Balde.

The atmosphere was in stark contrast to that famous night in Seville, only 3000 being scattered around a little stadium that played host to a ghostly atmosphere.

Kaunas are a team in mourning following the death of last season's top scorer, Audrius Slekys, at the weekend.

Slekys, who scored 19 goals last term, was killed in a car crash and was honoured by a minute's silence.

It took Celtic only 13 minutes to take the lead, Varga heading the ball into the path of Larsson, who drove it high into the net from 12 yards.

Celtic were rarely threatened at the back in Lithuania
Sutton, who had earlier struck the side-netting and forced Gytis Padimanskas into a good save, made no mistake after 29 minutes, when the goalkeeper fumbled a cross.

Petrov headed the ball into the striker's path and he turned quickly to drive home from 14 yards off the despairing knee of a defender on the goal-line.

Scotland Under-21 striker Maloney made an immediate impact as a second-half substitute, grabbing Celtic's third goal after 53 minutes.

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Larsson played a low ball into the path of Maloney, who neatly slipped the ball past the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.

Celtic introduced Jamie Smith and Liam Miller for Alan Thompson and Sutton to give the young players some European experience.

But they had to see out the latter stages of the tie with 10 men after Larsson's withdrawal.

That did not prevent Celtic increasing their lead with four minutes remaining, when Maloney set up Miller for a simple tap-in.


FBK Kaunas: Padimanskas, Gvildys, Kancelskis, Petrenka, Regelskis, Papeckys, Gedgaudas, Sirmelis, Zelmikas, Beniusis, Barevicius.
Substitutes: Stonys, Sanajevas, Pastva, Opic, Puotkalis, Kunevicius, Karalius.

Celtic: Douglas, Agathe, Valgaeren, Mjallby, Varga, Petrov, Lennon, Lambert, Thompson, Larsson, Sutton.
Substitutes: Hedman, Sylla, McNamara, Maloney, Smith, Crainey, Miller.

Referee: Paulo Cesar Da Silva (Portugal).






CELTIC

SEE ALSO
O'Neill to rest Larsson
30 Jul 03  |  Champions League
FBK Kaunas 0-4 Celtic
30 Jul 03  |  Champions League



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