Scottish Cup v Celtic
DUNFERMLINE 0 CELTIC 3 Date: 06/02/05
Fixture: Tennent`s Scottish Cup Attendance: 8014
Kick Off: 12:00 Referee: Charlie Richmond
Weather: Dry 7C
New signing Gjorgi Hristov was on the bench. Darren Young and Scott Wilson return to the starting line up but there was no place for Gary Dempsey. For Celtic no Jackie McNamara and new signing Craig Bellamy is left out as Celtic seek their fourth Scottish Cup victory at East End Park.
Celtic started the game as hot favourites and if Dunfermline were to progress beyond the Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup then it would have to happened today on the surface that the Hoops are known to dislike. Unfortunately the chance was blown after only ten minutes. With a noon kick off for the sake of SKY TV two early goals had effectively killed the tie by ten past twelve. Hartson put Celtic three up by half time and after that it was just a case of seeing the second half out.
Barry Nicholson and Jesper Christiansen took the kick off for the Pars defending the goal in front of the Norrie McCathie Stand. An early mix up between Rab Douglas and Bobo Balde raised the hopes of the home support that the composure of the SPL leaders could be upset. Dunfermline had much of the possession in the first five minutes and Celtic look uneasy. Not for long however.
Celtic scored twice in the space of two minutes to be 2-0 up after just ten minutes. Chris Sutton was wide right in the eighth, Scott Wilson went out to him but failed to prevent the cross square into the six yard box. Andrius Skerla was on John HARTSON but centre back went to his knees leaving the big Welshman a tap in at the far side. BBC Television was to point out later that Hartson was extremely fortunate to be given the goal since he cleared contributed to the Lithuanian`s tumble. Dunfermline went up the other end with captain Scott Thomson getting to the byeline to send over a useful ball that Douglas had to hold.
Next move however produced another Celtic goal. A through ball was flicked on by Sutton to Hartson who with Skerla trying to close him down unleashed a cracking shot that met the junction between right post and crossbar. Chris SUTTON had a simple task, dipping his head to send his side into a 2-0 lead.
What possession that came Dunfermline`s way did little to threaten the Celtic defence and the Cup holders continued to look dangerous as they came forward. A 35 yard free kick in the centre of the park from Alan Thompson was swung around the left end of the four man defensive wall and as the ball dropped in towards the right corner of the net the blue shirted Derek Stillie flung himself to his left and came up with a quality save.
Balde dumped Barry Nicholson to set up a free kick from Wilson that almost backfired giving Celtic the chance to break on the counterattack. The match temperature increased with Petrov`s challenge on Skerla but the 26th minute free kick from Lee Makel was a tepid affair. Four minutes later another lofty ball up the left from Laursen had Thompson, leaving Ross in his slipstream, racing in on goal and Stillie had to come out and concede a corner off his legs.
Things looked better with greater Dunfermline passes and possession. Corners came and went with the Pars leading Celtic 6-2 on those but without making any impact on the Celtic goal. Andy Tod had a header high at goal but Douglas dealt with that with ease. Darren Young put in a low drive from 25 yards. The shot was deflected along the top of the penalty box where Stephane Henchoz beat Scott Thomson in the race for the ball.
Dunfermline`s corners and Greg Ross`s pumps into the penalty box were no answer and Celtic had no problem with those tactics. It was the Pars who fell for this kind of play losing a third goal to HARTSON two minutes from the interval. A delivery from the left touchline mid way inside their own half was punted by Laursen off the heads of Scott Wilson and Andrius Skerla with Sutton not even getting a touch in between. The ball dropped nicely for the Welshman`s 21st goal of the season finishing into the bottom right from 10 yards.
Noel Hunt came on for Darren Young at half time but the second half required nothing less than a miracle to turn the Fifers fortunes around. Five minutes had gone when Scott Wilson went down awkwardly in a tackle with Stillian Petrov and his ankle injury lead to the introduction of Gjorgi Hristov.
Lee Makel`s long range effort did nothing to alter things but with Skerla pushing up he was dispossessed by Hartson in the Celtic half to allow Thompson to sprint away on goal. Andy Tod got back to close the Englishman down but he still managed to chip a cross into the goalmouth that Stillie tipped forward and then fall on. Juaninho then replaced Thompson as Martin O`Neill felt that the Brazilian should be allowed to show his worth.
Balde was yellow carded in the 63rd minute for his chopping down of Hristov and although Nicholson`s delivery from the free kick out on the left was met by Christiansen nothing could be created that would bring Douglas under pressure. Hartson`s 70th minute yellow card for persistent fouling gave the Pars a free kick on the left. Nicholson`s ball into the penalty area brought a looping header out Skerla and Rab Douglas punched away magnificently as both Hristov and Hunt leapt in just under the crossbar.
Wallace came on for Hartson and immediately went down the left beat off Ross and crossed a fine ball that Sutton headed on goal only for Stillie to touch over the bar for a corner. McGeady had a good shot from distance with ten minutes left and again Stillie did well to stop the shot.
In was a better second half from the Pars but Celtic were coasting through before the half had even started. Noel Hunt headed a Nicholson ball against the crossbar as he jumped high above Paul Lambert but there was to be no consolation for the Pars.
Dunfermline Subs: Langfield; Donnelly, Campbell
Dunfermline Strip: Home White and Black
Dunfermline : Ross (57)
Celtic Squad: Douglas; Henchoz, Varga, Balde, Laursen; McGeady, Petrov (Lambert 77), Lennon, Thompson (Juaninho 58); Hartson (Wallace 75), Sutton
Celtic Subs: Marshall, McManus
Celtic Goal Scorers: Hartson (8, 43), Sutton (10)
Celtic : Balde (64), Hartson (70)
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm