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BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"Not a great test for Celtic with their Ajax matches looming"
 real 14k

Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"I thought there were spells where we were absolutely excellent"
 real 14k

Saturday, 28 July, 2001, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Lambert inspires Celtic to victory
Paul Lambert scores Celtic's third of the afternoon
Paul Lambert scores Celtic's third of the afternoon
Celtic 3-0 St Johnstone

It was normal service resumed at Parkhead as Celtic put three goals past a helpless St Johnstone side.

The goals however came from less likely sources in the Celtic side.

Johan Mjallby opened the scoring in the first half, and club captain Paul Lambert claimed a double after the interval.

Celtic began the match confidently enjoying the lion's share of possession, but were frustrated for almost 25 minutes by a Saints side that had set out with a clear damage limitation plan.

Saints keeper Main was a busy man and was called on to save his side in the 21st minute after Dods had blatantly floored Bobby Petta, and was fortunate to escape without a booking.

Larsson then turned provider for his international team-mate Johan Mjallby eight minutes later, but after a neat exchange of passes he fired his right-foot shot into the side-netting.

But moments later, the home crowd breathed a huge sigh of relief as first Joos Valgaeren cleared Sylla's shot off the line and then Douglas had to clean up after a near fatal mix-up in the Celtic box.

The first-half was proving to be a good advertisement for the rest of the SPL campaign and Sutton almost produced a glorious 33rd-minute opener with a long-range effort which Main could only parry.

Unlikely scorer

Four minutes later the Celtic supporters celebrated when Mjallby became the unlikely goalscorer.

Thompson's crossfield ball found Petta and the Dutchman's centre was headed emphatically into the corner by the Swede.

The English midfielder almost sent the Hoops fans into a frenzy with two minutes remaining in the half when he fired a sizzling shot from nearly 25 yards which flew just past the top right corner of the net.

Celtic continued to heap pressure on the visitors after the restart and Larsson again spurned a great chance to kick-start his season in the 56th minute.

The Swede did the hard part in outstripping Kemble and Forsyth for pace, but with Main advancing he poked the ball past the keeper and agonisingly wide of the upright.

Mjallby on target today.
Mjallby on target today.

Mjallby again found himself in an unusual forward position in the 63rd minute after a one-two with Larsson, but the Swede's chip was comfortably saved by Alan Main.

But a minute later Celtic did double their advantage and it was Larsson who again turned provider.

The Swedish international exchanged passes with Paul Lambert to send the midfielder clean through on goal and he made no mistake to slide the ball home.

Larsson was experiencing the unsual feeling of not scoring, as Saints defender Benito Kemble guaranteed his close attentions any time the Swede ventured forward.

Lambert secured his second goal of the game when he skillfully controlled the ball on his chest before lashing home with the outside of his left boot.

From then on Celtic were happy to knock the ball around confidently and introduce the talismanic Moravcik together with youngster Stephen Crainey late on.

Celtic: Douglas, Valgaeren, Tebily, Mjallby, Agathe, Lennon, Lambert, Thompson, Petta, Larsson, Sutton.

Subs: McNamara, Moravcik, Maloney, Crainey, Kharine.

St Johnstone: Main, Dods, Kemble, Forsyth, Hartley, Kane,Murray, McBride, Sylla, Lovenkrands, Parker.

Subs: Connolly, McCulloch, Djebaili, Kernaghan, Cuthbert.

Referee: M McCurry (Scotland)

Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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