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Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Celtic outclass Hearts
Henrik Larsson makes it 4-0 before half time
Henrik Larsson makes it 4-0 before half time
Hearts 1-4 Celtic
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Celtic underlined their lack of willingness to give up their Scottish Premier League title with an emphatic win over Hearts at Tynecastle.

They over-ran the home side in the first half, taking a four-goal lead into the interval.

Chris Sutton started the damage, Stilian Petrov doubled the lead before Henrik Larsson scored twice.

The second half was more evenly balanced, with Celtic looking able to step up a couple of gears at will, but Gary Wales scored in 89 minutes to take a bit of gloss off Celtic's performance.

Celtic got off to the best possible start, taking the lead after only three minutes.

Neil Lennon swung a free-kick into the box and Sutton was able to hold off Kevin McKenna to swivel and drive the ball past Roddy McKenzie.

Stilian Petrov scores Celtic's second goal
Stilian Petrov scores Celtic's second goal

Incredibly, it was two after only nine minutes.

Petrov put Sutton clear and though his pass was missed by Larsson, Steve Guppy met it at the back post with a fierce shot that came back off the upright.

But Petrov, who had started the move, was ideally placed on the edge of the box to rifle the rebound into the net.

It took Hearts 20 minutes to mount their first real attack, Phil Stamp shooting just wide from 25 yards out.

Ulrik Laursen had to be alert to divert an Andy Kirk effort into the side-netting and then Douglas produced an important save from Kirk after the keeper had failed to hold Jean-Louis Valois' free kick.

Larsson, who missed a glorious chance after 35 minutes, made amends a minute later when he made it 3-0, following up after Sutton's header came back off the bar.

The Swede made it four in 42 minutes, racing onto Bobo Balde's long ball from what appeared to be an offside position to chip the ball over the outrushing McKenzie.

Ulrik Laursen congratulates Petrov
Ulrik Laursen congratulates Petrov
Understandably, Celtic took their foot off the gas somewhat after the break and neither keeper was really threatened in the opening 20 minutes of the second half.

Larsson should have had a hat-trick in 64 minutes, but he volleyed well over after Sutton had picked him out in the box.

Scott Severin fired wide from long range with 15 minutes remaining as Douglas continued to enjoy his role as spectator.

Larsson spurned another hat-trick opportunity when he failed to control Alan Thompson's pass with only McKenzie to beat.

In 89 minutes, though, Wales pulled a goal back, heading home Valois' free kick.


Hearts: McKenzie, Maybury, Pressley, McKenna, Severin, Stamp (Webster 45), McGeown (Simmons 45), McMullan, Valois, Kirk (Wales 77), De Vries.
Subs not used: Gordon, Twaddle.

Booked: Severin.

Celtic: Douglas, Valgaeren (Crainey 75), Balde, Laursen, Agathe, Lambert, Lennon, Petrov (Thompson 68), Guppy (Hartson 75), Sutton, Larsson.
Subs not used: Gould, Miller.

Booked: Agathe.

Attendance: 13,911

Referee: K Clark.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Andy Gillies
"An emphatic victory"
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill
"I thought it was scintillating stuff"
Celtic captain Paul Lambert
"It's only easy if you go about your business"
Hearts manager Craig Levein
"I thought Celtic were different class today"
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