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Wednesday, 26 December, 2001, 12:10 GMT
Larsson floors brave Livi
Henrik Larsson celebrates his last-gasp winner
Henrik Larsson safeguarded Celtic's 100% record
Celtic 3-2 Livingston

Henrik Larsson again emerged as Celtic's hero to prevent his side's championship charge stumbling for a second time in a week.

Goals from Lubo Moravcik and Larsson twice put the Scottish champions ahead, only for Oscar Rubio and Quino to hit back for Livingston.

Jim Leishman's men must have fancied their chances of matching Aberdeen's surprise win on Saturday after Joos Valgaeren was sent off 11 minutes from time.

But Larsson stepped up in injury time to clinch victory for Martin O'Neill's 10 men and maintain Celtic 100% home record.

The home manager opted to drop John Hartson to the bench after Celtic's three-man attack drew blanks at Pittodrie.

Moravcik returned to midfield hoping to reproduce the form that helped Celtic knock Livi out of the CIS Insurance Cup last week.

Lubo Moravcik holds off Livingston's John Anderson
Lubo Moravcik (right) opened the scoring
Leishman also made sweeping changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Dunfermline on Saturday.

John Anderson, Barry Wilson, Davide Xausa and David Bingham all returned to the side.

Livingston started with their usual slick passing game on their first-ever visit to Celtic Park.

But goalkeeper Nick Culkin had to produce a superb, one-handed save to prevent Alan Thompson finding the net from a cheeky chip from the edge of the box.

Moravcik opened the scoring after 11 minutes, curling a 25-yard free kick past Culkin and into the top far corner of the net.

Celtic were in control but suffered a huge blow after 33 minutes when Sutton fell awkwardly on an ankle and O'Neill was forced to replace the Englishman with Hartson.

Livingston were back on level terms against the run of play three minutes later when Rubio bulleted home a header from Barry Wilson's free kick.

Chris Sutton is stretchered off injured
Chris Sutton was taken off injured
Only a lunging professional foul by Valgaeren, who was subsequently booked, prevented Wilson breaking clear on the edge of the Celtic box moments later.

Larsson restored Celtic's lead after 50 minutes when he pounced on a Paul Lambert ball to fire low past the Livingston goalkeeper.

Livingston were level again eight minutes later.

Wilson broke clear and, although Celtic goalkeeper Rab Douglas did well to parry the striker's shot, Quino smashed the rebound home.

Celtic were reduced to 10 men after 79 minutes when Valgaeren was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Both sides had chances to clinch victory, but it was Thompson who pounced on a mistake by Phillippe Brinquin and crossed for Larsson to tap home the winner.


Celtic: Douglas, Mjallby, Balde, Valgaeren, Petrov, Lennon, Lambert, Thompson, Moravcik (McNamara 90), Sutton (Hartson 35), Larsson.

Subs Not Used: Gould, Maloney, Crainey.

Sent Off: Valgaeren (79).

Booked: Valgaeren, Moravcik, Lennon.

Goals: Moravcik 12, Larsson 50, 90.

Livingston: Culkin, Brinquin, Rubio, Andrews, Santini, Anderson, Wilson (Aurellio 79), Quino (Hart 62), Bingham, Xausa (Lowndes 56), Tosh.

Subs Not Used: McEwan, Caputo.

Booked: Rubio, Xausa, Quino.

Goals: Rubio 37, Quino 58.

Attendance: 58,470

Referee: G Mitchell.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Roddy Forsyth
"A very absorbing contest"
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill
"It was a really commendable effort from the players"
Livingston boss Jim Leishman
"To go so near and yet so far is disappointing"
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