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AFC - Match Report
match report 2003-04 fixture list
Celtic 4 - 0 Aberdeen
Kick Off:  3:00 PM   Larsson (4, 28, 55), Sutton (45)        
Attendance: 59,598
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow
Celts too strong for Dons
Paterson stuck with the 3-5-2 formation and made two enforced changes from last week. Winger Chris Clark came in for the injured Kevin McNaughton and played the wing back role on the right side of the field. Darren Mackie was the other change replacing Zdrilic and partnering Scott Booth up front. Celtic went with their usual 3-5-2 formation and despite speculation that he would leave some of his big names out, Martin O'Neill went with a very attack minded team with Thompson, Sutton, Hartson, Larsson and Agathe all starting.

Aberdeen got off to the worst possible start when Celtic grabbed the lead in the 4th minute. Varga delivered a cross that went long. Unfortunately the Dons defence allowed Thompson too much time to collect and he returned the ball into the danger area where Larsson nipped in ahead of McGuire to knock the ball into the net. Aberdeen tried to hit back in the 7th minute when Booth was brought down by Sutton. Tosh took a quick free kick and the ball just eluded Mackie before breaking to Muirhead who forced the first corner of the match.

From the set play Celtic cleared their lines and broke with pace. A dreadful mistake by Heikkinen allowed Liam Miller the chance to cut in from the right. He picked out the unmarked Larsson who uncharacteristically pulled his shot wide when he really should have scored. Aberdeen had another great chance to level in the 13th minute when Sheerin put Mackie through following some good build up play. The striker beat Hedman to the ball but fired his cross along the face of goal instead of cutting it back to the unmarked Booth. At this stage Aberdeen were playing some good football and had plenty of possession. Sheerin again found space in the middle of the field and hit a good shot that went just over Hedman's right hand post. Minutes later some more brilliant play from Aberdeen allowed Tosh a free run in on goal. Instead of shooting he played the ball back to Sheerin who pulled his shot agonisingly wide.

Despite losing the early goal Aberdeen had responded magnificently and were having a real go. The Red Army recognised this and gave their team great backing. Mackie took a knock but after a couple of minutes treatment was able to take retake his place In the 27th minutes Anderson was adjudged to have fouled Hartson after a long punt up the park. It looked a fairly soft decision and it was to prove costly from Aberdeen's point of view. From the resulting free-kick Larrson stepped up and buried the ball low into David Preece's goal to double the home side's advantage. In the 34th minute Hartson went down on the edge of the box again and this time Larsson rattled the woodwork with another fine effort. As Celtic turned up the heat Tosh picked up the first yellow card of the match when his frustration spilled over.

Just as it looked as though the Dons would hold out to half time Celtic were awarded a soft penalty in the closing seconds. Hartson broke into the box and was challenged by Russell Anderson. The big Welshman went down rather easily and referee Richmond pointed to the spot. Chris Sutton took the resulting spot kick and fired the ball beyond David Preece's outstretched right hand. Just on the stroke of half-time Thomson and Heikkinen squared up to each other but the referee calmed everything down before blowing for the interval. The Dons certainly did not deserve to go into the break 3-0 down and the disappointment on the players faces was clear for everyone to see.

Celtic started off the second as they had ended the first, on top. Aberdeen held their ground until the 54 minute. Good work down the right hand side by Celtic and a good through ball gave a completely unmarked Henrik Larsson the chance to calmly place the ball under David Preece and complete a fine hat trick. With the game won Celtic introduced Gray and Maloney at the expense of Lennon and Thompson with Sylla replacing Agathe ten minutes later. To the credit of Muirhead he had kept Agathe quiet for most of the afternoon. Aberdeen themselves gave Leigh Hinds a run out in place of Mackie. An error by McGuire in the 73rd minute almost provided a fifth goal. The defender lost out to Larsson who in turn released Maloney and forced Preece into a fine save. Seconds later the young Celt fired another effort over the bar.

The Aberdeen fans continued to sing despite the scoreline and the fact that most of them had a limited view of the events from their position behind a huge pillar. With just under 10 minutes left young Richard Foster was given a run out, replacing Scott Booth. Aberdeen very nearly finished the game with a goal. On 90 minutes they won their 5th corner of the game. Steve Tosh, after having some friendly banter with the home support, played in a ball to the back post. McGuire fought hard for it, it took a deflection and found its way to fellow defender Russell Anderson. He did well to create a shooting opportunity and his goal bound effort was cleared off the line by Maloney thus denying the Dons a deserved consolation.

Celtic Teamsheet:  Hedman, Valgaeren, Balde, Varga, Thompson, Agathe, Lennon, Hartson, Larsson, Sutton, Miller.

Unused Subs: Gray for Lennon (60), Malloney for Thompson (60), Sylla for Agathe (69)


Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Preece, Deloumeaux, Anderson, McGuire, Clark, Sheerin, Heikkinen, Tosh, Booth (Foster 82), Mackie (Hinds 70), Muirhead.

Unused Subs:

Bookings:  Tosh (35).

Referee: Charlie Richmond

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