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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Celtic 2-0 Dundee Utd
John Hartson
Hartson was on target at Celtic Park
John Hartson and Craig Beattie were the Celtic goal heroes against Dundee United but it was Shunsuke Nakamura who caught the eye on his debut.

The Japanese star displayed a great range of skill to please the crowd as he pulled the strings from midfield.

Hartson used his strength to create space for a 36th minute shot that slid under United 'keeper Derek Stillie.

Hartson saw two headers hit the bar before Craig Beattie made sure of the points with a fantastic late strike.

Playmaker Nakamura turned in a wonderful show for the 82 minutes he played and almost scored inside the first minute.

He spread the ball out wide to Maciej Zurawski and then arrived to get on the end of the Pole's cross but Stuart Duff was on hand to clear his glancing header off the goal-line.

The introduction of the 27-year-old Japanese star for Ross Wallace was the only change from the team which went out of Europe in midweek despite a valiant effort against Artmedia Bratislava.

United were showing good energy levels to close Celtic down and caused the home side problems with two early corners that were eventually cleared by an uncertain defence.

With 18 minutes gone Nakamura sent Zurawski through with a perfectly weighted long ball but the Polish striker drove the ball straight at the legs of advancing goalkeeper Derek Stillie.

Neil Lennon almost came up with a rare goal but his powerful shot from distance was well saved by Stillie.

But just a minute later Stillie was beaten by a typical piece of work from Hartson.

The Welshman continued his fine recent form when he out-muscled David McCracken then showed great composure to slide the ball under the 'keeper.

Shunsuke Nakamura
Nakamura enjoyed a great debut

Celtic started at great pace after the interval and Hartson saw two headers hit the crossbar in quick succession.

Nakamura had the crowd on their feet when his curling free-kick, which may have been going wide, was touched away by Stillie.

United seldom threatened the home defence but Stevie Crawford missed great chance to level the game when he made a mess of his shot from right in front of the goal.

Celtic substitute Shaun Maloney impressed in the final 25 minutes and twice went close with good strikes.

Stillie got his fingertips to a clever lobbed effort from Hartson before substitute Beattie made the points safe.

Maloney set up his fellow forward and the youngster cracked home a stunning volley.

Celtic: Boruc, Telfer, Balde, McManus, Camara, Petrov, Lennon, Thompson, Nakamura (Beattie 84), Hartson, Zurawski (Maloney 64). Subs Not Used: Marshall, Aliadiere, McGeady, Wallace, O'Dea.

Booked: Petrov. Goals: Hartson 37, Beattie 88.

Dundee Utd: Stillie, Wilson, McCracken, Archibald, Duff, Kerr, Brebner, Robson (Samuel 48), McIntyre, Crawford, Miller. Subs Not Used: Dodds, Samson, Kenneth, Holmes, Robertson, Cameron.

Booked: Crawford, McCracken.

Att: 56,532

Ref: Ian Brines




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