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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
No silver lining for Larsson
By Alasdair Lamont in Seville

Henrik Larsson celebrates his two-goal haul in the Stadio Olympico
Larsson twice hauled Celtic level
Swedish striker Henrik Larsson insists his two-goal haul was no consolation for Celtic's Uefa Cup final defeat in Seville.

Larsson scored both goals as the Bhoys twice battled back from behind and his performance was hailed as "world class" by Celtic boss Martin O'Neill.

But the dejected Larsson insisted there was nothing to be pleased about following the extra-time defeat in the Estadio Olimpico.

"It is no consolation whatsoever," he told the BBC Sport website.

"I've said before, I'd much rather not score and be able to lift the Uefa Cup, than to score twice and finish up on the losing side.

"There's nothing to be happy about, but now we have to find a way to lift ourselves for the league game on Sunday."

Martin O'Neill salutes the Celtic fans after the Uefa Cup defeat
O'Neill was within touching distance of Uefa Cup glory
The feeling among the Celtic players was that they could - and perhaps should - have won a game in which they never led.

Stilian Petrov told this website of the disappointment felt by all of the players. "I thought we deserved to win," he said.

"It was really hard to walk past the Uefa Cup without being able to pick it up.

"But I think our performance will have made the supporters proud of us and we did Scotland proud as well."

Didier Agathe was equally inconsolable, but admitted the players had to remain focused with Sunday's crucial league match against Kilmarnock still to come.

"It's very hard to accept because we put so much effort into it, coming from behind twice, but that's football," said the Frenchman.

"But it's good to know that Scottish football is good enough to compete at a high level in Europe.

Celtic fans show their frustration at the final whistle
Celtic fans struggled to hide their frustration
"Now we need to win the league and we'll do everything to make that happen."

John Hartson missed the game through injury, but was as devastated as the rest of the squad at having missed out on the club's first European silverware in 36 years.

"The boys did very well. Porto were the better team in the first half but we did brilliantly to get it back to 1-1 and then 2-2.

"I thought we would go on and win it after that, but it wasn't to be."

Martin O'Neill was scathing of the play-acting of the Portuguese players and Hartson admitted that he had been disappointed in their tactics.

"The reaction of the Celtic fans at full time showed they're a very fair-minded crowd and they let Porto know what they thought of them.

"But now that we've had a taste of these big European nights, we want more and hopefully we'll be back in the Champions League next season."




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