FOOTBALL THE LOSER AS CELTIC GRIND OUT ANOTHER THREE POINTS
Report of match Celtic 1 Dundee United 0 played 16th March 2002
Another three points towards the title, so why is the football at Celtic Park so boring and uninspiring?
Once again the fair being served up at Parkhead, whilst having the desired effect, left most of the crowd bored with the football and hungry for some inventive attacking play. Not that Celtic didn't deserve to win the match, they controlled it from start to finish, but the manner of winning had little to do with good football and more to do with needs must.
Celtic went into this game minus a strike force and half a defence. Those that came in, Crainey and Smith in particular, did their job more than adequately, with no frills added.
Of course, it doesn't help matters when your opponents main game plan is to avoid a hiding but Celtic should be able to put a reserve side on the park capable of beating the worst Dundee Utd side in a generation. That they could not says more about their style of football than any pre title celebration nerves.
The only goal of the game came from the boot of Stillian Petrov following a neat one - two with Larsson and a side foot home by the Bulgarian. The only other moments of note in the first half being a Larsson header, turned over by Gallacher on 23 minutes, and a Griffin free kick that Douglas in the Celtic goal held well.
Foolishly, most of the near 60,000 crowd assumed things could only get better in the second half - how wrong they were.
Apart form another fine effort from Petrov on the volley, a close effort from Lubo Moravicik and a cracking drive from Jamie Smith, that deserved a goal but hit the bar, the second half passed in a blur of ineffective link up play and poor passing.
Dundee Utd remained in their defensive shell right up until the end and their manager, Smith, was said to be pleased with the result at the end of the game - says it all really.
Celtic march on to Fir Park on Tuesday with the final hurdle almost in sight. One can only hope that once the title is in the bag O'neill will cut the players some slack.
|Competition: Bank of Scotland Scottish Premier Date: Saturday, 16th March 2002 Kick off: 15:00 Venue: Parkhead|
|1 - 0||Dundee Utd.
|Lubomir Moravcik (Smith 72)||7|
|Jamie Smith (Moravcik 72)|
|24||Anastasios Venetis (Lilley 81)||5|
|9||Steve Thompson (Winters 86)||7|
|Stuart Duff (Paterson 67)||4|
|Derek Lilley (Venetis 81)|
|9||David Winters (Thompson 86)|
|3||Jim Paterson (Duff 67)||5|
|Celtic cards shown|
|31 mins||Neil Lennon||Professional foul|
|Dundee Utd. cards shown|
|10 mins||Hasney Aljofree||Professional foul|
|43 mins||Charlie Miller||Professional foul|
|70 mins||Jamie McCunnie||Professional foul|