SPL v Celtic
DUNFERMLINE 1 CELTIC 4 Date: 27/10/02
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 9139, Kick Off: 15:00
Status would suggest that when second in the league travel to meet third there could much expected from the home team. History however tells us that Celtic have not lost at East End Park since 1989 and their record against the Old Firm is awful.
The Pars handed Dutchman Andre Karnebeek his first start of the season; Scott Walker was introduced into the defence with Scott Thomson pushed forward to play in front of the back three.
Celtic had Jonathan Gould in goal in the absence of Rab Douglas (ill) and Magnus Hedman (injured).
Dunfermline kicked off with the winter sun shining on their backs. The Pars started well and positively demonstrating that they are sure that they are good enough to compete with the Old Firm. Stevie Crawford was first to create danger with Balde clearing away his ball across the face of goal in the 5th minute.
Lee Bullen kept up the pressure with a ball in from the right in the following minute. Crawford tried a shot which was blocked and fell to Brewster who shot just wide of Gould`s right hand post.
The Celtic offensive was being comfortably snuffed out by the Pars; Wilson alert to rob Lambert deep in the Pars box. Craig Brewster set up Crawford again in the 9th minute, the Scotland striker beat off Lennon and fired in a shot that again Gould had to block.
Thompson took the corner and Marco easily dealt with Balde`s header. The Pars continued to threaten and a swift forward movement involving Nicholson, Bullen and Dempsey raising the expectations of the home support.
Next Crawford ball out through Lambert to Gary Dempsey on the left let the Irishman in for a shot on goal but stand in keeper Jonathan Gould kept its goalless with a good outstretched save with his left hand. Movement was certainly fast but it was the Pars who paid for it in the 25th minute.
Stilian Petrov burst through the centre of the park and sent the ball to the right for Henrik Larsson. The Swedish international striker travelled left across the top of the penalty box. His marker Andrius Skerla was left for dead. LARSSON putting Walker between himself and the Lithuanian, entered the penalty box and released a shot into the right side of goal sending Marco diving in the opposite direction.
It was hugely disappointing to go behind after all the fine Pars display. Unfortunately within the space of seven minutes the game looked to be outwith the Pars reaches. Rounding Karnebeek, Agathe fired a warning with another strong cross that cannoned off Skerla to Thompson but his shot was wide.
Next Alan Thompson fired a left footed shot from just outside the box. Despite the shot coming from the extreme left THOMPSON`s shot was driven between Wilson and Skerla to land in the distant bottom corner of Ruitenbeek`s net.
Celtic having taken time to settle were now coasting and when Larsson fed Sutton six minutes from the interval the Englishman blasted a right footed shot from 10 yards out. Luckily for Dunfermline Sutton was wide of the mark.
Half Time 0-2
Thompson resumed the pummelling just two minutes into the second half. Marco saved the Celtic midfielder`s shot and gathered the rebound. The home team`s first attack of the second half came from a Karnebeek throw in well inside the Celtic half. The Dutchman`s throw was headed out by Valgaeren but only as far as Nicholson but the ball failed to fall nicely for Barry and the shot went over the top.
The half was just over ten minutes old when Lee Bullen won a corner on the right. Barry Nicholson sent the ball in and when it broke to Scott Walker he headed it back for Scott Thomson. The Fifers skipper lobbed in a speculative ball that Bullen and Brewster both challenged for on the edge of the six yard box. Jonathan Gould came for it but it was BREWSTER who directed his header into the Celtic net.
The Pars were suddenly right back in the game and again the pace got frantic. Celtic rallied but the Pars continued to press. Having beaten Laursen in the air Lee Bullen met Thomson cross from the left and sent in a header that fell just to the outside of the Celtic post.
Brewster was next to have a shot at goal. A pass from Thomson was sent on by Nicholson into the path of the striker but Gould saved the right footed shot. Craig was very involved with the play and it did not look impossible for the Pars to equalise.
At the other end Agathe sent in another low and dangerous cross that evaded the advancing Lambert and everyone else. Eighteen minutes of optimism came to an abrupt end when Larsson tried a pass for Petrov. Scott Thomson stuck out his foot to intercept but only managed to divert the ball into the Bulgarian`s path. From 8 yards PETROV sent Ruitenbeek the wrong way to net with relative ease.
The fourth goal of the match was always going to be important but with it falling to Petrov Dunfermline were flattened. Substitute John Hartson almost claimed instant success when getting close to Thompson`s cross and then Thompson forced Ruitenbeek into another save.
The 83rd minute saw Celtic extend their lead to 4-1 when the champions struck on the break. When Larsson sent Chris Sutton through Stevie Crawford was the nearest Dunfermline player but there was no stopping the ex Blackburn star. Circumnavigating Ruitenbeek SUTTON tapped in for number four.
There were further scares with Hartson hitting the inside of the upright as Celtic finished well on top. The goals conceded all seemed soft. Fans, players and manager were all disappointed but at least for periods of this match Dunfermline looked like they were getting closer to the standard required to severely test those immediately above them in the league.