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Majstorovic makes mark as Celtic take control

Iron man defender Daniel Majstorovic made an instant impact at Parkhead last night as Celtic beat Utrecht 2-0 to take control of their Europa League qualifier.

First half goals from Efrain Juarez and Georgios Samaras put Celtic in front but it was the commanding displays of debut boys Majstorovic and Beram Kayal that made the biggest impact.

Majstorovic was signed from AEK Athens on Monday but strolled through the 90 minutes, bringing purpose and drive to the much maligned Celtic defence, while Kayal put in a lively debut from central midfield, highlighted by a brilliant 40-yard pass that split the Dutch defence for Juarez to score the opener.

After the match the Swedish defender said: "We kept the ball really well, scored good goals and importantly kept them out, if they had scored it would have made a big difference to the tie.

"I was pleased with my own performance but it was only my first game, I hope to do better once I get to know my team-mates more.

"Two-nil is a good advantage but the tie certainly isn't over. It was an unbelievable experience, really amazing and a good start for me."

Mexican Juarez showed his eye for goal to tuck away Kayal's defence- splitting pass in the 19th minute with Samaras blasting home a Cha Du-Ri cross 12 minutes later to put Celtic in the driving seat.

Kayal picked up the supporters' man-of-the-match award with Neil Lennon's decision to give the Israeli his debut vindicated by an eye-catching performance.

Paddy McCourt and Daryl Murphy had to settle for places on the bench but both players are likely to feature in Sunday's SPL clash with St Mirren.

Youth international Richie Towell was delighted to find himself on the substitutes' bench. The midfielder wasn't expecting to be involved against Utrecht after playing in a reserve team friendly against Liverpool on Tuesday.

"I got a phone call in the morning from Woodsy, our goalkeeping coach, to tell me to report for the first team and I was delighted," Towell admitted.