herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Celtic breeze through to set up dream date

Celtic set up a possible meeting with St Patrick's Athletic next week with a comfortable 4-0 win over Icelandic champions KR Reyykjavik at Murrayfield.

Doubles strikes from Teemu Pukki and Virgil van Dijk eased the Hoops through, leaving it to St Pat's to set up a money-spinning clash next week - providing they can see off Legia Warsaw.

The 5-0 aggregate was a fair reflection of the gulf between the two sides, with the Celtic fans warming quickly to the style of football being produced under new boss Ronny Deila.

Despite being forced to re-locate 50 miles east to the home of rugby almost 40,000 fans battled with rush-hour traffic in two cities to watch Deila's 'home' debut as Celtic manager.

It took an 84th minute goal from Callum McGregor to seperate the side's in last week first leg but the Hoops didn't waste any time last night as they raced into a 3-0 lead within half an hour.

Virgil van Dijk eased away any nerves with the opening goal after 13 minutes after Charlie Mulgrew had knocked on a Kris Commons corner.

Six minutes later the Dutchman doubled the lead with a glancing header from another Commons corner as the fans relaxed.

Before the half hour mark Pukki got on the scoresheet, drilling the ball into the net from eight yards out after McGregor had cut the visitors open down the left flank.

After four seasons watching Neil Lennon's largely successful style of play there was a hint of trepidation among the support before the match but any sign of nerves on the park disappeared as the goals rained in.

Working with the squad that he inherited Deila has re-shaped the formation to have one striker playing off three supporting, attacking midfielders with Pukki given the lead role against the Icelanders backed up by Leigh Griffiths, Kris and McGregor.

Tonight, the stakes are raised even higher for St Pat's, knowing that success against the Poles will earn a dream tie against Celtic.

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