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Saturday, 6 April, 2002, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Five-star Celtic claim title
Celtic celebrate back-to-back league titles
Celtic celebrate back-to-back league titles
Celtic 5-1 Livingston
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Celtic clinched the title in the same fashion that they have disposed of the rest of the Scottish Premier League this season - clinically and with something to spare.

Henrik Larsson, with a hat-trick, and John Hartson were the inevitable goalscorers as the Glasgow side made it two championships out of two under Martin O'Neill's stewardship.

Livingston had arrived at Celtic Park determined to gatecrash the party.

Jim Leishman's fourth-top side felt that the reigning champions were being disrespectful with their detailed preparations for after-match celebrations.

But even the most ardent opponents felt that there was an air of inevitability about it all, Celtic having only lost once in the SPL this season.

Henrik Larsson and John Hartson celebrate another goal
Henrik Larsson (left) grabbed a hat-trick
And, when Larsson put Celtic ahead after only two minutes and six seconds, it was simply a case of how many goals the 60,000 would be cheering before the main celebrations could begin.

O'Neill welcomed Chris Sutton back from injury and the versatile Englishman took his place in the back three in place of the suspended Bobo Balde.

Livingston had gone two months without a win and were seriously hampered in their quest for Uefa Cup qualification by injuries and suspensions.

Steve Tosh, David Fernandez and Massimiliano Caputo were banned, while Philippe Brinquin and Michael Hart were still recovering from knocks.

Yet the visitors' started brightly with their attacking 4-3-3 formation - well, for just more than two minutes that is.

Paul Lambert played a one-two with Hartson inside the Livi box before setting up Larsson to finish from six yards.

From then on, Celtic shone and by half-time were 4-0 up.

Didier Agathe breaks clear of Gary Bollan
Hartson added the second after 19 minutes, when Didier Agathe's cross found the Welshman unmarked on the penalty spot and he volleyed the ball past the exposed Javier Sanchez Broto.

Another six minutes, another goal as Hartson rose above an uncommitted Gary Bollan to head home Steve Guppy's cross.

The Englishman was again the provider after 33 minutes, this time for Larsson, Oscar Rubio being the static defender on this occasion as the Swede made it 4-0.

Larsson completed his hat-trick after 60 minutes, Lambert doing the donkey work after linking with Neil Lennon in similar fashion to the opening goal.

Barry Wilson gave Livi a consolation goal after 72 minutes, slotting the ball into the corner of the net from 16 yards after being put clear by substitute Noko Jokovic.

At least Livi had surpassed Scotland's scoreline in the Stade de France, but it mattered little as the East End of Glasgow waited for the title party to begin.


Celtic: Douglas, Mjallby, Sutton, Crainey (McNamara 76), Agathe, Lennon, Lambert (Smith 75), Petrov, Guppy (Moravcik 67), Larsson, Hartson. Subs Not Used: Gould, Boyd.

Goals: Larsson 3, Hartson 19, 25, Larsson 33, 59.

Livingston: Broto, Petersen, Rubio, Andrews, Bollan, Lovell, Quino (Toure-Maman 45), Makel, Bingham (Jokovic 45), Wilson, Xausa (Brittain 60). Subs Not Used: McEwan, Santini.

Booked: Wilson.

Goals: Wilson 72.

Attendance: 59,752

Referee: W Young.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's David Begg
"Celtic retain the title"
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill
"Great feeling, played magnificently"
Captain Paul Lambert
"We've got to keep progressing"
Hat-trick hero Henrik Larsson
"It was fantastic today"
Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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