Celtic used home comforts to boost their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League by destroying Anderlecht in Glasgow tonight. Henrik Larsson, Liam Miller and Chris Sutton scored first-half goals which set Celtic on their way and a late consolation strike from Aruna Dindane could not take the gloss off the victory. Anderlecht were without captain Glen de Boeck, who was sent off in the first match between the teams, with Finnish defender Hannu Tihinen taking his place. Celtic included Miller, who was on the bench in Brussels, as they prepared to defend a 61-match unbeaten record at home.
The Glasgow side stamped their authority on the tie from the off and made the perfect start when Larsson gave them the lead after only 12 minutes. Didier Agathe provided the perfect cross and Larsson's downwards header left Daniel Zitka with no chance. Before the Belgian side had time to recover, it was 2-0. Jackie McNamara's cross was headed by John Hartson into the path of Miller who finished the move with a crisp left-foot shot past Zitka. There was no letting-up and only a fingertip save from Zitka prevented Stilian Petrov from heading a third in the 29th minute.
But the goal was only delayed a matter of seconds and, from the resultant corner, Hartson headed the ball on for Chris Sutton to stoop and head in a third goal. Anderlecht had plenty of possession but were rarely seen as an attacking force and main threat Aruna was kept quiet by a disciplined Celtic defence. Stanislav Varga had time to join his strikers before half time and tried his luck with a long-range effort that had Zitka scrambling across his goal as it flashed wide.
Hartson worked himself an opening at the edge of the box at the start of the second half but Zitka was well positioned to make the save. Anderlecht tightened things up in the second half with Celtic seemingly content to hold what they had. The Belgian side took some late consolation when they were awarded a penalty after Bobo Balde fouled Aruna in the area. Magnus Hedman blocked the spot-kick from Ivica Mornar but Aruna followed up to scramble the ball home with the Celtic defence slow to react.
Celtic: Hedman, Varga, Balde, McNamara, Agathe, Miller, Lennon, Sutton, Petrov, Hartson, Larsson
Subs: Douglas, Gray, Sylla, Maloney, Wallace, Mjallby, Kennedy
Anderlecht: Zitka, Zewlakow, Tihinen, Kompany, Deschacht, Wilhelmsson, Hendrikx, Hasi, Baseggio, Dindane, Mornar
Subs: Peersman, Ilic, Vanderhaeghe, Kolar, Zetterberg, MacDonald, Ngalula Mbuyi
Referee: Kyros Vassaras (Greece)