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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 19:48 GMT
Life without Larsson
Henrik Larsson and John Hartson celebrate
Henrik Larsson has scored 34 goals this season

Celtic's Paul Lambert is confident that the club's strikers can fill the void created by Henrik Larsson's injury.

The high-scoring Swede will be missing for at least six weeks after breaking his jaw during Sunday's 2-1 win over Livingston at Celtic Park.

Larsson will be absent for the Hoops' Uefa Cup tie against Stuttgart, as well as the league and CIS Cup final double-header with Rangers.

The Ibrox side sit three points clear at the top of the table and many commentators are already predicting that Celtic will struggle without their prolific no.7.

However, Lambert believes such claims give little credit to players such as John Hartson, Chris Sutton and Shaun Maloney.

We can't think that because Henrik is not playing that's us finished

Shaun Maloney
Celtic striker
"You never know what's going to happen but it's unfair on other players to say things like that," said Lambert.

"John Hartson didn't play on Saturday so he's had a rest and I'm sure the guys who come in will do their best for us."

"Henrik has bounced back before so I don't see any difference this time around.

"We'll be without him for a few weeks but we just have to get on with it.

"That's the way football goes but hopefully everything goes okay and he'll be back soon."

Larsson has hit the net 34 times already this season - taking his tally to 191 since he joined Celtic from Feyenoord in 1997.

Scotland under-21 star Maloney, who replaced Larsson on Sunday and contributed to both Celtic goals, knows Larsson will be sorely missed but also thinks the club will remain on course for success.

"He's been massive for us and you can't comprehend how big and how well he's done for us," insisted Maloney.

"It seems that he scores every game, but the team have got to go on and we can't think that because Henrik is not playing that's us finished.

"Obviously it's a massive blow, but somebody's going to come in and obviously has the confidence of the manager that they can do the job.

Maloney has scored twice for Celtic this season
Shaun Maloney hopes to get his chance
"The team can't just stop. The cynics can say what they like, but we can get goals from other places on the park.

"Hopefully I can do the job and help the team in some way.

"I suppose there is a chance and if I'm not there then I will be disappointed, but that will be down to me.

"If the manager does decide that I'm the player to get the chance at the start then all very well.

"But there are other strikers in John Hartson and David Fernandez, so he's got a few options, and we'll just have to wait and see and work hard to get that place."

Links to more Celtic stories are at the foot of the page.


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