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Saturday, 21 October, 2000, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Celtic survive late United scare
Celtic 2-1 Dundee United
A late own-goal by Paul Lambert gave Dundee United a glimmer of hope, but Celtic were never in any real danger of dropping points.
Goals in either half by Henrik Larsson and Alan Thompson gave Celtic the victory, but it ought to have been more emphatic.
Dundee United created few chances of their own, but Celtic's profligacy in front of goal meant United were never completely out of it.
But their lack of threat up front was their downfall and they remain rooted to the bottom of the league.
United manager Alex Smith left out Stephen Wright, Jamie Buchan, Marcelino Galoppo and Mvondo Atangana, with John McQuillan, Craig Easton, Anastasios Venetis and John Licina coming into the side.
It was the visitors who forced the first corner when Hasney Aljofree tried to make room for himself in the box.
Celtic striker Didier Agathe managed to get in a block challenge and United failed to make anything from the corner.
It was Celtic who were struggling to string the passes together but in the sixth minute United defender Jason De Vos had to head clear a dangerous cross from Agathe after Bobby Petta had shown some skill on the left flank.
But in the 10th minute Celtic created the first clear-cut chance when Petta wriggled free in the box before driving a cross across the face of goal, but striker Chris Sutton failed to reach it.
The expected avalanche of goals never materialised in the opening exchanges but the home side continued to probe the visitors' defence without much success.
In the 19th minute Stilian Petrov played Henrik Larsson into space down the left flank but the striker failed to deliver a decent cross for Sutton.
United, however, were causing their own problems on the break and a bit more composure in front of goal could have had the home side in trouble.
But Celtic came within inches of taking the lead in the 22nd minute and it almost came courtesy of an embarrassing own goal from David Partridge.
Celtic midfielder Alan Thompson swung in a deep corner and the United defender somehow headed backwards to goal only to see the ball come back off the crossbar.
Moments later a Thompson corner again had the United defence in all sorts of trouble but Larsson could not stretch enough to get his header on target.
Petta again showed great pace on the left flank in the 29th minute when he delivered a cross for Sutton, who could only head into the hands of Alan Combe.
Then on the half-hour the home side hit the woodwork again when Larsson met Thompson's corner but the Swede watched in agony as his effort came back off the upright.
Larsson again proved to be the man for the big occasion when he rose in the box to head Petrov's free-kick.
But United were putting up a fight and Gould had to save low to his right two minutes later from Buchan's shot after a great cross from Gustavo Fuentes.
Petta's agility almost brought the second Celtic goal and it would have been a wonderful solo effort to savour.
The winger controlled the ball on his thigh before leaving two United defenders in his wake and only a brave save from keeper Combe denied him.
Moments later Joos Valgaeren almost bagged his second goal in two games when his glancing header from Thompson's corner went just wide of the upright.
Celtic suffered a scare in the final moments of the first half when Steven Thompson found space in the box but Gould made a save to deny him on the line.
Celtic were looking to kill the game off after the restart while United were hoping for a bit of luck that would get them back in the game.
Agathe tried his luck four minutes into the half, letting fly with an ambitious right-foot effort from outside the box that flew into the side-netting.
Sutton could have doubled Celtic's advantage in the 53rd minute when Larsson played him through inside the box but the Combe raced off his line to deny the £6m striker a shot on target.
Celtic, however, did increase their lead in the 62nd minute and it came after a well-worked move with Thompson the benefactor.
Johan Mjallby's floated cross-field pass was headed into the path of the former Aston Villa midfielder who fired low past the helpless Combe in the United goal.
Valgaeren was looking for another goal in the 67th minute when he arrived late in the box and almost reached Thompson's dangerous free-kick.
But United refused to lie down and they almost pulled themselves back in the game in the 71st minute as Craig Easton teed up Thompson in acres of room to pick his spot in the box but he pulled his effort wide of the upright.
Celtic failed to learn from that warning and in the 78th minute the visitors grabbed a goal back in bizarre fashion with an own goal from Paul Lambert.
Hasney Aljofree caused the uncertainty at the back with a dangerous cross into the box and John McQuillan looked set to fire on target before Lambert intervened with an uncharacteristic mistake to shoot past Gould.
That was the wake up call O'Neill's men needed and in the 82nd minute only heroics from Combe prevented Celtic from recovering their two-goal advantage.
Larsson met Petrov's cross, after a short corner with Thompson, and his header looked on its way into the corner but Combe somehow pushed it over the crossbar.
Celtic: Gould, Boyd, Valgaeren, Mjallby, Agathe, Lambert, Petrov, Thompson, Petta, Larsson, Sutton.
Subs: Douglas, McNamara, Healy, Moravcik, Riseth.
Dundee United: Combe, McQuillan, De Vos, Partridge, Buchan, Licina, Easton, Venetis, Aljofree, Fuentes, Thompson.
Subs: Onstad, Leoni, Atangana, Worrell, Ramirez.
Referee: J Underhill
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