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  • Pukki the hat-trick hero in emphatic friendly win

    Pukki the hat-trick hero in emphatic friendly win

    By: Mark Henderson in Austria on 08 Jul, 2014 19:57

  • Pre-season friendly

    Linzer Stadion

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014


    LASK LINZ...2

    Vujanovic 21, Pellegrini 46


    Pukki 33, 48, Pukki 64, Balde 76, Griffiths 88

    TEEMU Pukki’s hat-trick inspired ten-man Celtic to an incident-packed pre-season friendly victory against LASK Linz to maintain their unbeaten run on their tour of Austria.

    Dragan Vujanovic stabbed the home side ahead but Pukki replied with a fizzing finish before the interval as torrential rain pounded the pitch.

    Although a defensive mix-up allowed Linz to retake the lead seconds into the second half, Pukki swept home another equaliser from Adam Matthews’ cross.

    Pukki claimed his treble before Liam Henderson saw a second yellow to leave the Scottish champions a man down in the latter part of the match.

    However, following some delightful setup play from Dylan McGeouch, fellow substitute Amido Balde added a fourth and Leigh Griffiths sealed the victory in the closing minutes with an emphatic finish.   

    Ronny Deila rang the changes following Sunday’s share of the spoils with Rapid Vienna, a game played in sweltering conditions.

    Celtic Youth Academy graduates Eoghan O’Connell, Stuart Findlay, Calum Waters, Liam Henderson, Bahurdin Atajic and Callum McGgreor all came into the starting XI, with Lukasz Zaluska retaining his place between the sticks.

    Teemu Pukki led the line following his second-half leveller against Rapid Vienna and the striker supplied a golden chance for Bahrudin Atajic in the seventh minute, which should have handed the Hoops an early advantage.

    The Finn raced clear following Liam Henderson’s exquisite pass and squared for the Bosnian striker but he was thwarted by Pavao Pervan from close range.

    That seemed to spark the home side into action. And from Florian Neuhold’s corner, a piece of clever link-up play between Fabiano and Radovan Vujanovic saw the former blast over from an acute angle.

    And moments later, following another dead-ball delivery, Adam Matthews had to block Thomas Hinum’s effort on the line.

    Leigh Griffiths saw a shot deflected wide and Ernst Obster blasted over from distance at the other end as the game swung from end to end.

    But it was Austrian side who struck first as torrential rain continued to batter the stadium. A corner was headed back into the mix and striker Dragan Vujanovic bundled the ball home.

    Back came the Bhoys and Pervan had to rush quickly from his line to clear a long clearance. The loose ball fell to Griffiths and his goalbound effort was blocked by Thomas Hinum.

    Griffiths brought out another save from Pervan before Pukki restored parity. Supplied by Griffiths, the striker took aim in the inside right channel and confidently found the far corner.

    Zaluska had to make a super stop from Obster before Pukki volleyed inches over from Adam Matthews’ centre just before the break.

    Leo Fasan, Dylan McGeouch and Amido Balde entered the fray at half-time, and, incredibly just nine seconds after Celtic took the restart they found themselves behind again as some defensive slackness allowed Tobais Pellegrini to roll a shot into the net.

    The lead didn’t last long, though, as Pukki bagged his second less than three minutes later, converting Matthews’ cutback.

    Balde and Griffiths had efforts on goal as Celtic grew in ascendancy and Pukki soon had Celtic ahead for the first time in the game. Again, from a low ball from the right, the 24-year-old was in the right place to apply the finish.

    Henderson then saw red for a second yellow much to the teenager’s frustration. But the Hoops never looked troubled despite their disadvantage and they struck twice in the final 15 minutes to seal the spoils.

    McGeouch expertly evaded several challenges in the box and flicked a deft pass to Balde, who found the net.

    And as the clock ticked down, Griffiths got up and running on the tour of Austria with a clinical strike into the far corner.

    Next up for the Ronny Deila’s men is a clash against Dukla Prague on Friday, their final fixture of the pre-season tour of Austria.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Zaluska (Fasan 46); Matthews (Herron 54), O’Connell, Findlay, Waters; Biton (McGeouch 46), Henderson; Griffiths, Atajic (Balde), McGregor; Pukki (McIlduff 77)

    Not Used: Irvine, Watt, Fridjonsson

    LASK LINZ (4-3-3) Pervan; Tagouhnadi, Neuhold, Hiebunger, Erbek; Fabiano, Hinum, Obster; Kogler, Vujanovic, Blutsch

    Website Man of the Match: Teemu Pukki

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