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Sunday, October 02, 2005 

Livingston 0-5 Celtic

CELTIC turned on the style at Almondvale today and produced a five goal, five star showing that simply overwhelmed Paul Lambert’s Livingston.
There were also five different names on the scoresheet today, with Gordon Strachan making just one change to the side which beat Inverness Caledonian Thistle last Saturday and resting top goalscorer John Hartson.

This fact alone made the scoreline all the more remarkable and perhaps particularly satisfying for the Celtic manager, given that his side will now go into a 14-day break enforced by the forthcoming series of international fixtures.
Strachan had stressed in his prematch comments the importance of going into this break with a win and with this in mind his team got out the blocks fast, with Shaun Maloney teeing up Shunsuke Nakamura who swung a vicious left foot shot at goal that was punched away by Roddy McKenzie for a corner.

In the following half hour Celtic came close to opening the scoring on no fewer than five occasions with Beattie, Sutton, Telfer, Nakamura and Petrov troubling the Livingston goalkeeper.
Given this sustained pressure and the fact that the home side seemed unable to maintain the little possession they were given, it seemed only a matter of time before Celtic took the lead and this goal was to come from an unlikely source.
It was a Shaun Maloney corner to the near post that sparked the danger and Chris Sutton helped on the ball with a flick of his head. Just as McKenzie looked set to step out and claim the lay off Stephen McManus skipped in in front of the keeper and nodded the ball home for the opener.

There was a lull in play in the following ten minutes, but unlike in recent games where Celtic have been unable to add to their tally and have allowed teams back into the match, the team today showed a ruthless streak.
There were seconds left on the clock when Mo Camara fed a pass to Petrov who, breaking into the box, rolled the ball into the feet of Maloney. The player looked composed as he held off the covering defender and swivelled to unleash a low drive that fizzed into McKenzie’s bottom right hand corner and Celtic were able to go into the break with a two goal cushion.

Celtic restarted the second period much in the same vein as Maciej Zurawski took the tally to three. The goal actually followed a spell of pressure for Livingston, but Celtic worked their way out of the half and gradually began to show their quality.
Then, after some good play on the left by Maloney and Sutton, the Englishman found Camara with an inch perfect pass to the byline. The left back gave the ball to Beattie, who returned it to him and watched as the Guinean delivered an inch perfect ball to Zurawski, who rose above his man and nodded home.

With the three-goal cushion came a growing confidence and in the ensuing spell Celtic began to knock the ball about with authority and began to play some excellent football.
In turn, Livingston’s frustration began to mount and substitute Paul Tierney unceremoniously dumped Zurawski on his backside 20 yards from goal. The ensuing Maloney free-kick ricocheted off the wall and into the path of Sutton on the right, who waited for the bounce to settle and sent a sweet volley beyond McKenzie for the fourth.
This strike was the sickener for the home side and when they did succeed in pushing forward and winning a corner even the Livvy bugler failed to muster the enthusiasm to sound the cavalry charge that usually accompanies such set plays.

Craig Beattie’s tap in at the back post, from a Mo Camara cross, only rubbed salt in Livvy manager, Paul Lambert’s wounds and the left back’s part in this goal brought cries of ‘Super Mo Camara’ from the away support.
Livingston did come close with two deflected efforts during the closing 15 minute spell, but Celtic were the masters in this game from first minute to last.
This was by far and away the side’s best performance of the season so far and the challenge now is to continue this momentum after the international break, in their next game against league leaders Hearts.

LIVINGSTON: McKenzie; MacKay, Strong, Dorado, Dair; Walker (Vincze, 77'), Adams, Pereira (Tierney, 55'), Brittain; Dalglish (Snodgrass, 66'), Barrett.

CELTIC: Boruc; Telfer, Balde, McManus, Camara; Nakamura, Sutton, Petrov, Maloney; Zurawski (Hartson, 80'), Beattie (Agathe, 84').

GOALS: 0-1, McManus (36'); 0-2, Maloney (44'): 0-3, Zurawski (52'); 0-4, Sutton (62'); 0-5, Beattie (72')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Hearts 8 24
2. Celtic 8 19
3. Hibernians 8 16
4. Kilmarnock 8 14
5. Rangers 8 13

Source: celticfc.net

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