Lassad helps Hoops return to winning ways
By: Mark Henderson on 17 Nov, 2012 13:59
Scottish Premier League
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Lassad 73, Mulgrew 77
SUPER-SUB Lassad struck his first goal for Celtic to help them return to winnings ways in the SPL against a stubborn Aberdeen side at Pittodrie.
The Tunisian internationalist fired home close-range after Victor Wanyama´s powerful shot came back off the post to break the deadlock in the latter stages of contest.
And Charlie Mulgrew scored against his former employers to seal the victory several minutes later as the champions earned their first victory in four league matches to resume their position at the top of table ahead of the rest of Saturday´s SPL fixtures.
Neil Lennon had made three changes to the Celtic team who played St Johnstone last week, with Mikael Lustig, Beram Kayal and Tony Watt coming into the starting XI at the expense of Scott Brown, Joe Ledley and Miku.
Craig Brown´s in-form outfit made a lively start as Jonny Hayes fired into the side-netting from an acute angle before former Celt Niall McGinn swivelled and squeezed a shot on target.
Gradually, the Hoops came into the contest, enjoying the bulk of possession and creating several openings. Adam Matthews´ dangerous swirling cross evaded several players and Victor Wanyama headed over from Mulgrew´s corner.
Watt, bursting with confidence following his goalscoring heroics against Barcelona, made a positive surge towards the byline and his cross was flicked over by Georgios Samaras.
And midway through the half, Watt came within inches of making the breakthrough as he headed Kris Commons´ wonderful cross onto the outside of the post.
At the other end, McGinn´s movement and turn of pace was posing the greatest menace to the Celtic defence, and the Irishman dragged a shot wide following a forward raid by the hosts.
It was a hard-fought battle with both teams fully committed to the cause and Russell Anderson appeared fortunate to escape a booking as his raised boot caught Watt on the back of the head.
Set-pieces appeared a promising route for Celtic to profit, and Mulgrew picked out Commons´ on the edge of the box but he pulled his effort wide as half-time approached.
Mulgrew tried his luck from distance from a free-kick just after the restart but failed to trouble Jamie Langfield. He had a better opportunity several minutes later but added too much elevation to the shot.
While Celtic were dominating play, they were being frustrated by the well-organised hosts who were content to hit on the break, using their considerable pace.
It was going to take a moment of magic to carve them open and Wanyama provided it with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Taking aim from 25 yards, the Kenyan internationalist cracked a shot off the upright and Lassad, who had recently entered the fray from the bench, was in the right place to sweep home the rebound for his first goal for the club.
Shortly after, Celtic ruthlessly doubled their advantage. Samaras´ cross-shot fell invitingly for Mulgrew and he found the far corner with a controlled finish.
With the Dons forced from their defensive shell, there were greater spaces for the visitors to exploit – Samaras was close to connecting with Kayal´s cutback, Wanyama saw a third goal disallowed by the linesman´s flag and Watt fired over as the Hoops finished strongly.
And they comfortably saw out the closing stages to leapfrog Hibernian and return to the SPL summit. Thoughts can now turn towards next week´s UEFA Champions League clash against Benfica.
CELTIC (4-3-1-2) Forster; Lustig, Ambrose, Wilson, Matthews; Kayal, Wanyama, Mulgrew; Commons (Lassad 69); Samaras (McGeouch 80) Watt Subs: Zaluska, McCourt, Atajic, Ibrahim, Chalmers
ABERDEEN (4-5-1) Langfield; Magennis, Anderson, Reynolds, Considine; Fraser (Vernon 64), Osbourne, Rae (Robertson 46), Clark, Hayes (Fallon 78); McGinn
Not Used: Brown, Shaughnessy, Masson, Smith
Website Man of the Match: Victor Wanyama