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 Sunday, 24 November, 2002, 13:07 GMT
Larsson sees off Livi
Celtic's Henrik Larsson scores from the penalty spot
Larsson gave Celtic a dream start from the penalty spot
Livingston 0-2 Celtic

A Henrik Larsson double gave Celtic all three points against Livingston at Almondvale and sent them back to the top of the SPL table.

Larsson scored both his team's goals - an early penalty and a crucial second close to the end when the home team were pushing for an equaliser.

The win took Celtic a point ahead of Rangers.

As Celtic now focus on Thursday's Uefa Cup third-round first-leg showdown with Spanish side Celta Vigo, the main concern for manager Martin O'Neill is a facial injury to Stilian Petrov.

They gave us a couple of anxious moments before Henrik scored a great goal

Martin O'Neill
Celtic manager

Celtic took the lead after only five minutes.

Larsson threaded the ball through to Petrov, who centred for Paul Lambert to fire into the back of the net.

But Marvin Andrews had already recklessly charged into Petrov, allowing Larsson to send his penalty past Javier-Sanchez Broto for his 23rd goal of the season.

Momo Sylla should have doubled the champions lead when he was clean through on goal after playing a clever one-two with Larsson.

Key moments
5 mins: Larsson opens the scoring from the penalty spot
78 mins: Marvin Andrews hits the post for Livingston
82 mins: Larsson scores Celtic's second from the edge of the area

But Broto was quickly off his line to make a crucial one-handed save to deny him.

Alan Thompson then picked out Larsson just inside the Livvie box and the Swede spun and shot in one movement, but again Broto came to the rescue.

Minutes later Sylla's snapshot hit the side netting as Celtic threatened to increase their lead.

Livingston looked more purposeful at the start of the second half.

In the second-half there was no difference between us and them

Jim Leishman
Livingston boss

And Oscar Rubio should have done better when Barry Wilson's corner found him unmarked in the Celtic box, but his header looped high over the bar.

Livingston almost equalised but Andrews' header rebounded off the crossbar.

Rolando Zarate then squandered a good opportunity, poorly connecting when well positioned.

Just when the home side looked as if they might snatch an equaliser, Larsson struck with a sucker-punch goal.

He gathered the ball on the edge of the box, cut inside Rubio and fired a low shot under Broto's body.


Livingston: Broto, Brinquin, Rubio, Andrews, Bollan, Bahoken, Makel, Quino (Dadi 66), Toure-Maman, Wilson (Zarate 74), Bingham.

Subs Not Used: McEwan, O'Brien, Camacho.

Booked: Bahoken.

Celtic: Douglas, Valgaeren, Balde, Laursen, Sylla, Thompson, Lambert, Lennon, Petrov (McNamara 10), Larsson, Sutton.

Subs Not Used: Gould, Hartson, Maloney, Crainey.

Booked: Sutton, Laursen, Valgaeren.

Referee: S Dougal

Attendance: 10,002

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Roddy Forsyth
"O'Neill's players were made to work"
 Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"Livingston pinned us back"
The SPL season gets under way

Weekend games

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