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  Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 21:56 GMT
Larsson stuns Blackburn
Chris Sutton (right) rushes to congratulate scorer Henrik Larsson
Henrik Larsson created a new scoring record
Celtic 1-0 Blackburn Rovers

Henrik Larsson struck with six minutes remaining to give Celtic a vital single-goal victory in the first leg of the Uefa Cup Battle of Britain in Glasgow.

And the in-form Swede's late strike also broke Ally McCoist's record of 21 goals for a Scottish club in Europe.

Celtic were on the back foot for much of the match against an English Premiership side set up superbly by former Rangers boss Graeme Souness.

But it is the Scottish champions who take a narrow lead to Ewood Park.

Henrik Larsson celebrates with John Hartson
Hartson (right) set up Larsson's goal
Souness' cat and mouse games were at an end over Damien Duff, with the Republic of Ireland international returning from injury to start the game in place of David Dunn.

Former Manchester United and England striker Andy Cole was left on the bench.

Defender Henning Berg missed out having picked up an injury on Wednesday in training and Craig Short came in.

The return of Rab Douglas in place of Jonathan Gould was the only change from the Celtic side that defeated Dunfermline at East End Park on Sunday.

Celtic looked nervous in the opening moments but were the first to threaten after nine minutes.

Didier Agathe whipped in a cross that found Stilian Petrov unmarked 14 yards out and the Bulgarian's powerful header was superbly saved by Brad Friedel.

The American goalkeeper was again on hand to save a Henrik Larsson header on the line.

Blackburn should have been ahead after 12 minutes when a deflection fell kindly to David Thompson 16 yards out.

But Douglas matched Friedel by blocking the midfielder's drive.

Blackburn began to dominate possession, frustrating Celtic and picking their passes into the box.

Celtic were chasing ghosts, lying dangerously deep and being forced to rely on some desperate, last-ditch defending to remain level.

Graeme Souness and Martin O'Neill direct traffic from the sidelines
Rival bosses: Graeme Souness and Martin O'Neill
Souness went for the jugular, bringing Cole on for the less mobile Egil Ostenstad at half-time.

Former Rangers midfielder Tugay was again controlling play, but Celtic broke clear and Friedel had to get down quickly to hold a low drive from Sutton.

Action was now end to end, but neither side could fashion a clear-cut chance.

Dunn had come on for the tiring Duff and his drive from 20 yards was pushed wide by Douglas.

John Hartson was brought on for Paul Lambert and he was instrumental in the winning goal.

A Thompson corner was headed down by the unmarked Welshman, Lucas Neill blocked on the line, but Larsson was there to prod the ball home.


Celtic: Douglas, Valgaeren, Balde, Laursen, Agathe, Lennon, Lambert, Petrov, Thompson, Larsson, Sutton. Subs: Gould, Sylla, Hartson, Fernandez, Maloney, Guppy, Crainey.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Short, Johansson, Taylor, Thompson, Flitcroft, Tugay, Duff, Ostenstad, Yorke. Subs: Dunn, Cole, Jansen, Grabbi, Kelly, Gillespie, Douglas.

Referee: Hermann Albrecht (Kaufbeuren).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"Souness was beaten on his return"
Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
"I thought we did splendidly"
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"Nothing has been decided yet"

Second round, 2nd leg

Second round, 1st leg

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SPORTS TALK
 VOTE RESULTS
Who will win over the two legs?

Celtic
 50.76% 

Blackburn
 49.24% 

30447 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
See also:

31 Oct 02 | Uefa Cup
31 Oct 02 | Football
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