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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 August 2007, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Falkirk 1-4 Celtic

By Martin Conaghan

Massimo Donati
Massimo Donati celebrates Celtic's victory over Falkirk
Three goals in five minutes put Celtic's title defence back on track with an emphatic victory over Falkirk.

Michael Higdon opened the scoring for the home side after just five minutes, but that was cancelled out by Kenny Milne's own-goal in the 28th minute.

Kenny Miller gave Celtic the lead on 76 minutes with a low drive then, after Milne was sent off, Shunsuke Nakamura netted a trademark free-kick.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink completed the victory with a 81st minute tap-in.

Celtic had to recover from an early blow when Higdon rose above Lee Naylor at the back post to head home a Steven Thomson cross.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

The reigning champions' responded and goalkeeper Tim Krul parried wide a strike by Vennegoor of Hesselink from on the edge of the penalty area.

But Higdon almost added a second goal to his tally with a searching strike from the edge of the penalty area but watched as his effort drifted narrowly over the bar.

Moments later, the 24-year-old jumped above the Celtic defence to force in a header, but yet again he sent it over the bar.

With action flowing from end to end, John Kennedy rose above the Falkirk defence but was thwarted by Krul.

However, Celtic equalised when Massimo Donati struck from close range on the left, Krul made a mess of the save and Miller forced a scrappy equaliser in off Kenny Milne.

Michael Higdon
Michael Higdon opened the scoring for Falkirk in the fifth minute

Falkirk maintained their composure in the second-half and could have easily taken the lead shortly after the break when Patrick Cregg shot for goal, but his powerful effort was deflected away from danger.

Scott Brown could have opened his Celtic account when Miller released him inside the Falkirk penalty area, but his close-range shot lacked the power to beat Krul.

Vennegoor of Hesselink made a telling run into Falkirk's six-yard box and struck from close range, but Krul covered well and the ball flashed across the face of goal.

Donati blasted over from inside the box following a fine dummy by Miller.

Higdon yet again climbed above the slack Celtic defence to head in another powering effort, but goalkeeper Brown managed to tip the ball on to the bar and over for a corner.

With Falkirk beginning to tire, Celtic went in front after 76 minutes.

Nakamura flighted in a neat cross from the edge of the penalty area and McGeady launched in a spectacular overhead kick that bounced off Krul's left-hand post and off Milne into the net.

Milne was ordered off after Venegoor of Hesselink was pulled back when heading for goal on the counter-attack.

Nakamura stepped up to take the resulting free-kick and curved in a trademark strike to the top corner of the net for Celtic's third.

Hesselink added a fourth when Paul Hartley drifted in an inch-perfect cross to the feet of Miller, who released Vennegoor of Hesselink to round Krul and end Falkirk's hopes of a recovery.


Falkirk: Krul, Ross, Barr, Milne, Scobbie, Thomson, Riera, Cregg, Latapy, Moutinho, Higdon. Subs: Olejnik, Barrett, Arfield, Craig, Wallner, Aafjes, Allison.

Goals: Higdon (5).

Celtic: Mark Brown, Wilson, Kennedy, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Scott Brown, Donati, McGeady, Miller, Vennegoor of Hesselink.

Goals: Milne (30, og), Miller (76), Nakamura (79), Vennegoor of Hesselink (81).

Subs: McGovern, Sno, O'Dea, Hartley, Riordan, Zurawski, Killen.

Referee: D McDonald

Att: 6,329



SEE ALSO
Hughes to appeal Milne red card
11 Aug 07 |  Falkirk


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