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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 14:23 GMT
Dundee Utd 2-3 Celtic
Craig Bellamy celebrates with Alan Thompson
Craig Bellamy (left) was the match winner at Tannadice
A superb hat-trick from Craig Bellamy defeated Dundee United and lifted Celtic back to the top of the Scottish Premier League above Rangers.

The Wales striker fired powerfully into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box to give Celtic the lead.

Jim McIntyre equalised with a shot on the turn, but Bellamy struck from 22 yards to restore the lead.

Barry Robson equalised with a similarly spectacular strike, but Bellamy pounced again to drive in Celtic's third.

Robson had been recalled to the United line-up along with Mark Kerr for the first game under interim manager Gordon Chisholm, with Derek McInnes and James Grady dropping out of the midfield.

And the SPL's bottom side looked fired up to impress their new boss as they pushed forward early on.

But they quickly fell behind when Jackie McNamara powered through the centre of midfield and set up Bellamy, who was given time and room to thump his drive into the far roof of the net from the edge of the box.

Celtic's defence was back to a more familiar line-up, Stanislav Varga recovering from illness to replace Stephane Henchoz.

But United were creating openings, with Stevie Crawford and Stuart Duff squandering chances, while Bellamy found the side netting at the other end.

Bobo Balde sent a strong header straight at Tony Bullock before the United goalkeeper helped United draw level.

His punt flew all the way to the Celtic penalty area, where Varga allowed McIntyre enough room to fire a first-time shot on the turn past Douglas.

Celtic quickly restored the lead when Ulrik Laursen found Bellamy making a superb run to shake off Paul Ritchie and lofted his drive over Bullock and into the net off the far post.

A fine, one-handed save from Bullock prevented a Varga header extending the lead.

United came close to equalising again immediately after the break, Douglas saving well after a deflection off Neil Lennon and then from a header by McIntyre.

The home side eventually made the breakthrough when Robson fired home from 20 yards.

But Bellamy had the last word, running on to a flick from Chris Sutton, who had returned from injury to win a place on the bench, to drive the winner home from just inside the box.

Celtic survived the closing minutes with 10 men after Sutton had to be withdrawn injured, Douglas producing a superb save to deny Robson.


Dundee Utd: Bullock, Wilson, Kenneth, Ritchie, Archibald, Duff (Scotland 86), Kerr (McInnes 58), Brebner, Robson, Crawford (Grady 76), McIntyre.
Subs Not Used: Colgan, Samuel, Dodds, Robertson.

Booked: Kenneth, Brebner.

Goals: McIntyre 24, Robson 71.

Celtic: Douglas, McNamara, Balde, Varga, Laursen (Wallace 78), McGeady (Henchoz 84), Petrov, Lennon, Thompson, Bellamy, Hartson (Sutton 61).
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Valgaeren, Fernandez, Maloney.

Booked: Douglas, McNamara.

Goals: Bellamy 5, 34, 80.

Att: 10,828

Ref: D McDonald


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Interview: Celtic's Craig Bellamy




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