Dundee 0
Celtic 3
League (Premier League)

0 - 3

League (Premier League)
Sunday, February 17th, 2002
Dens Park
Attendance: 10,642
12:55 PM Kick-off

None. Henrik Larsson (20)
Johan Mjällby (43)
John Hartson (76)

Team Managers
Ivano Bonetti
Martin O'Neil

Starting Eleven
12. Julian Speroni
30. Massimo Beghetto
17. Walter Del Rio
24. David Mackay
2. Barry Smith
31. Fan Zhiyi
6. Temur Ketsbaia
8. Gavin Rae
21. Alessandro Romano
7. Fabian Caballero
15. Steven Milne
Rab Douglas .20
Bobo Balde. 6
Johan Mjällby .35
Paul Lambert .14
Neil Lennon .18
Stiliyan Petrov. 19
Didier Agathé .17
Alan Thompson .8
John Hartson .10
Henrik Larsson .7
Chris Sutton .9

1. Jamie Langfield
18. Javier Artero
11. Mark Robertson
28. Khaled Kemas
9. Juan Sara
Jonathan Gould .1
Lubomir Morav?ík .25
Steve Guppy .30
Jamie Smith .39
Stephen Crainey .40

Javier Artero for David Mackay (46)
Khaled Kemas for Fabian Caballero (56)
Juan Sara for Steven Milne (73)
Lubomir Moravcik for Henrik Larsson (38)
Steve Guppy for Paul Lambert (72)
Jamie Smith for Didier Agathé (77)

Massimo Beghetto (15)
Temur Ketsbaia (26)
Alessandro Romano (34)
Alan Thompson (40)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Mike McCurry (Referee)
Gordon McBride & Jim Lyon (Assistants)
Craig Thomson (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Dundee dont fancy Willie Young as a referee-rightly or wrongly they believe he has something against them.

But Young now has a rival as the least liked whistler at Dens Park-Mike McCurry.

From Dundee's point of view it is hard enough facing up to the Old Firm without having to contend with a referee whose handling of this match, particularly in the first-half, drove those of a Dark Blues persuasion to distraction.

And it was difficult not to agree with the suggestion that the Dens Parkers had been harshly dealt with by McCurry, even though Celtic ran out worthy winners in the end.

Dundee "won" the bookings battle 3-1 and had no legitimate grounds for complaint over the cautions issued to their players.

Yet justified frustration over McCurry's officiating played its part in the tally of yellow cards amassed by the Dark Blues and you could only wonder how Alan Thompson escaped unpunished for a challenge on Alessandro Romano which was by far the worst of the game.

McCurry's poorest decision, though, was the most decisive as it related to the killer second goal, in the build up to which he failed to penalise an illegal challenge on keeper Julian Speroni.

So incensed with what had gone on was assistant manager Dario Bonetti-who was involved in an angry verbal exchange with Celtic's Neil Lennon at the final whistle-that he gave the post match press conference a wide berth.

"Dario sends his apologies but he is not in the right frame of mind at present," said a club spokesman, explaining Bonetti's decision.

"He is upset both with aspects of the referee's performance and that of the team."

Celtic had taken the lead after 20 minutes as a fine passing interchange just outside the Dundee box ended in Henrik Larsson claiming his 29th goal of the season.

It was a one-two between Paul Lambert and John Hartson which pierced the home defence and Lambert, having shaped to score himself, squared the ball to the unmarked Larsson who from five yards could not miss.

Larsson limped off with a hamstring strain, the full extent of which will be discovered today, to be replaced by Lubomir Moravcik but even without their leading scorer the Bhoys-albeit aided and abetted by McCurry-found the net again before the break.

Speroni was clearly fouled by Bobo Balde as he punched away a Moravcik corner but McCurry seemingly missed that and when Didier Agathe returned the ball back across goal Johan Mjallby was, with Speroni still getting to his feet, able to head home.

Dundee didn't play at all badly in that first-half although not once did they really trouble Robert Douglas.

Temuri Ketsbaia had their two best chances but he was crowded out after Fabian Caballero had appeared to open things up for him, then, when a surging run took him past Bobo Balde and into the area, he was off balance as he tried to angle the ball across Douglas and into the far corner and couldn't get enough pace into the shot.

At the other end Celtic were gifted a couple of openings as an unusually shaky Speroni spilled a high, hanging cross from Alan Thomson and had to rely on Barry Smith hacking the ball to safety, and a Walter del Rio mistake allowed Hartson to try to lob the keeper, who was well beaten as the ball just cleared his bar.

The second period saw Dundee carve out several decent scoring opportunities. But Steven Milne, under pressure from two defenders, couldn't direct his header on target from a Beghetto cross and Khaled Kemas dispossessed Balde and advanced on Douglas only to have his finish blocked by the keeper.

Kemas was actually a considerable thorn in Celtic's side, twice firing the ball wide of Douglas but also the frame of the goal, And the woodwork rescued the Bhoys when Ketsbaia beat Douglas from 20 yards only to see the ball strike the base of the keeper's right hand post.

Despite the loss of Paul Lambert, slightly injured making a last-ditch tackle to thwart Ketsbaia. Celtic sealed victory 15 minutes from time as a fine first touch from Hartson allowed him take possession of a Moravcik cross and move away from Del Rio into the space he required to lift the ball over the diving Speroni for number three.

Moravcik might have grabbed a fourth late on but Speroni twisted in mid-air to turn his shot over.

"I thought we won a potentially difficult game very convincingly," said Parkhead chief Martin O'Neill.

Dundee's trio of booked players were Massimo Beghetto (dissent) and Kets- baia (persistent fouling), Romano (series of fouls), while Thompson (downing Caballero) was the visitors' yellow card recipient.

Match report written by The Courier

Squad Statistics (as at February 17th, 2002)

2001-02 All Time
Julian Speroni (GK)22 11 - 11 -
Massimo Beghetto33 17 - 17 -
Walter Del Rio25 32 - 41 -
David Mackay20 121121
Barry Smith27 36 - 2571
Fan Zhiyi32 173173
Temur Ketsbaia33 202202
Gavin Rae24 32617418
Alessandro Romano32 24 - 43 -
Fabian Caballero24 3164814
Steven Milne21 324588
Javier Artero (sub)26 19 - 684
Juan Sara (sub)25 2686225
Khaled Kemas (sub) - 8181

League Table (as at February 17th, 2002)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

After initially intending to be back in time for Wednesday's match, I decided to stay on and check out a couple of players who have been recommended to us and so missed the draw against Dunfermline.

From what my brother tells me it was a big missed opportunity to take three points, especially getting two early goals and then missing a couple of opportunities to be even further ahead before half-time.

And Dario says that he felt sorry for the fans and was far from pleased with how we played in the second half, particularly after playing so well in the first half.

What annoyed him most was that we conceded an early goal in the second half. Had Dunfermline not scored so quickly, it would have been harder for them to get back in the game.

In the end, this was another game in which some very good displays were ruined by individual errors, but unfortunately, that is the risk you run with a number of young players in the side who find it difficult to be consistent, especially with so many games in such a short spell.

At least we have an extra day to recover for the visit of Celtic this afternoon.

It is a major game and one that can't be classed as one from which three points can be expected.

In the past, and indeed this season, we have risen to the occasion against Celtic and, of course, were the only side to beat them on their own ground last season, but we saw how difficult they are to beat when they defeated us 4-0 five months ago, yet we had been the better side in the first half!

This match also should mark the start of a breather after playing two games a week almost since the turn of the year and, hopefully, by then more of our injured players will have returned to help us again claim a top six finish.

However, before then it would be nice to start the countdown to the split by taking something from this game.