Celtic Topple Teplice

Last updated : 26 February 2004 By Meganjack

Celtic rekindled their love affair with the UEFA Cup to put themselves on the brink of a fourth round place. Goals inside the first 12 minutes from strike duo Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton put them in the driving seat and Larsson struck again seconds into stoppage time to ease Celtic to victory. Last season's beaten finalists were without the suspended Neil Lennon and Paul Lambert took his place in midfield and also the captain's armband.

It took Celtic less than three minutes to snatch the lead when Larsson beat the Teplice offside trap to control an Alan Thompson throughball and tuck the ball through the legs of Tomas Postulka. Before Teplice had time to find their feet, they fell further behind when a poor back-header from Vladimir Leitner was pounced upon by Sutton who casually rounded Postulka to roll the ball into the vacant net. Thompson had a great chance to score a third goal in the 16th minute when Larsson left Stephen Pearson's cross but the midfielder shot carelessly over the crossbar.

Teplice recovered from the early setbacks to exert some pressure on Celtic but Rab Douglas was never seriously troubled in the first half. Celtic always looked the more purposeful going forward and Larsson hit a shot narrowly wide after good work from Pearson. The former Motherwell player was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet 11 minutes from the break when a miskick from Jackie McNamara broke into his path. Postulka made a fine reaction save to deny him and Pearson's follow-up effort was hacked off the line by Tomas Hunal. Jiri Skala had a chance for Teplice shortly afterwards but shot well wide without disturbing Douglas. Pearson had another chance shortly before the break when he outstripped the Teplice defence after a Sutton touch but he shot over the top from the edge of the area.

The game erupted when Austrian referee Konrad Plautz booked four players in a ten-minute spell early in the second half. Teplice raised their game after the break and frustrated Celtic with a series of rash challenges to interrupt the flow of the game. Karel Rada almost snatched a late goal for Teplice from a corner but lashed his shot narrowly over. But Larsson all but killed the tie when he headed in a Stilian Petrov corner in stoppage time.

Celtic: Douglas, Agathe, Balde, Varga, McNamara, Petrov, Lambert, Pearson, Thompson, Larsson, Sutton
Subs: Marshall, Sylla, Valgaeren, Hartson, Wallace, Beattie, Kennedy

FK Teplice: Postulka, Dolezal, Rada, Hunal, Leitner, Ryska, Verbir, Skala, Tesarik, Kowalik, Masek
Subs: Patrik Kolar, Sigmund, Rilke, Kuchar, Horvath

Referee: Konrad Plautz

Editorial Team

Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba.net)
Vanderhogg (vanderhogg@scottishfitba.net)