Tuesday 21 October 2014

Celtic stroll gives St Pat's the perfect incentive

Celtic 4 KR Reykjavik 0 (Celtic win 4-0 on agg)

Nigel Whittaker

Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30

Virgil van Dijk (right) celebrates after scoring his second goal during Celtic's Champions League second qualifying round win over KR Reykjavik at Murrayfield. Photo: Alan Rennie/PA Wire
Virgil van Dijk (right) celebrates after scoring his second goal during Celtic's Champions League second qualifying round win over KR Reykjavik at Murrayfield. Photo: Alan Rennie/PA Wire
Celtic's Stefan Johansen gets his pass away before he is tackled by KR Reykjavik captain Baldur Sigurusson during their Champions League second qualifying round tie at Murrayfield. Photo: Alan Rennie/PA Wire
Celtic's Stefan Johansen gets his pass away before he is tackled by KR Reykjavik captain Baldur Sigurusson during their Champions League second qualifying round tie at Murrayfield. Photo: Alan Rennie/PA Wire
Celtic's Teemu Pukki unleashes a shot at goal during his side's Champions League second qualifying round tie against KR Reykjavik at Murrayfield. Photo: Alan Rennie/PA Wire
Celtic's Teemu Pukki unleashes a shot at goal during his side's Champions League second qualifying round tie against KR Reykjavik at Murrayfield. Photo: Alan Rennie/PA Wire

Celtic eased through to a possible date with St Patrick's Athletic in the third qualifying round of the Champions League with an emphatic win over KR Reykjavik at Murrayfield.

Leading 1-0 from the first-leg, Celtic wasted little time as defender Virgil van Dijk helped himself to a brace within 20 minutes.

Striker Teemu Pukki grabbed a third before the break as Celtic bid to confirm a meeting against either Pat's or Polish side Legia Warsaw.

The second-half was academic with Pukki adding a fine fourth in the 71st minute to paint a proper picture of the home side's superiority. There was a decent crowd and atmosphere inside the home of Scottish rugby – used as Celtic Park is out of commission due to its use in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

In the 13th minute Commons' corner from the left was headed towards goal by skipper Charlie Mulgrew and, with Stefan Magnusson flailing, the ball appeared to come off Van Dijk's knee and into the net.

The Hoops' second also came from a corner. When the ball landed at right-back Mikael Lustig at the far side of the box, he guided his header towards the back post, where Magnusson was again grasping air as Van Dijk headed into an empty net.

CONTROL

Pukki got on the scoresheet on 27 minutes when he slid the ball in from two yards after being set up by Callum McGregor.

Celtic were in complete control with the limited visitors simply out of their depth. Magnusson had to contend with a series of efforts on his goal, one in particular from Pukki in the 38th minute just fizzing past his right-hand post.

The second half looked to be about how many Celtic would score and they came close to making it four in the 50th minute but Griffiths' shot hit the side-netting.

A game of attack versus defence was taking place with the Parkhead side pressing for more goals but slowly, and unsurprisingly, the tempo dipped.

The Celtic fans serenaded their side to the final whistle, stopping to cheer Pukki when he rounded the goalkeeper at the edge of the box before slamming the ball high into the net for his second, his own celebrations cut short when he realised he was to be immediately replaced by Liam Henderson.

The substitution was booed, mostly in a good-natured fashion, by the Parkhead supporters, perhaps wishing the striker could have stayed on to get his hat-trick.

However, Commons almost provided them with another goal with eight minutes remaining, his left-footed drive from Lustig's cut-back crashing off the inside of the post before flying to safety.

Irish Independent

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