Football/Soccer

On This Day in 1998: Celtic win New Year Old Firm for first time in 10 years

.The stout defending of Marc Rieper (pictured) and his his backline colleagues played its part in a Celtic victory embellished by Paul Lambert’s stunning second half strike.

GOALS from Craig Burley and Paul Lambert saw Celtic win the New Year Old Firm game for the first time in 10 years, and put a dent in Rangers's bid for 10-in-a-row.

And it was well deserved. Celtic outplayed their rivals in almost every department after a fairly even first 20 minutes. Enrico Annoni kept Brian Laudrup on a tight leash virtually throughout.

His defensive partners Alan Stubbs, Marc

Rieper, Tom Boyd and Jackie MacNamara made Jonathan Gould a virtual spectator in the Celtic goals. They even made the prolific Marco Negri disappear.

In midfield Lambert, Wieghorst and Burley gradually came to grips with Jonas Thern, Jorg Albertz and Rino Gattuso to put a stranglehold on the game.

Even the introduction of Gascoigne and Durie in the second half failed to upset the pattern.

Up front Brattbakk – starting his first game – and Larsson reflected the Celtic pattern of gut-busting team work. Once Annoni got to grips with Laudrup, Celtic began to dominate.

The opener came on the hour mark when McNamara unselfishly squared for Burley to fire home, and the points were secured four minutes from time when Lambert's superb finish from 25 yards beat Andy Goram.

Celtic: Gould, Boyd, Annoni, McNamara, Rieper, Stubbs, Larsson, Burley, Brattbakk (Jackson 84), Lambert, Wieghorst. Subs not used: Donnelly, Hannah.

Rangers: Goram, McCall, Cleland, Gough, Porrini, Albertz (Gascoigne 71), Thern, Ferguson, Negri, Gattuso (Durie 59), Laudrup.

Subs not used: Snelders

**

NORTHERN Ireland international Michael O'Neill has finally agreed a three-month loan deal with Scottish Premier Division club Aberdeen.

The switch, which sees the 28-year-old Coventry midfielder return north of the border, had threatened to fall through, but was resolved yesterday.

Aberdeen now hope that all the paperwork will be completed in time for him to feature in today's match at Dundee United, one of O'Neill's former clubs.

An Aberdeen spokesman said: “We are very pleased. This is a good signing for the club and the player. The three-month loan gives both parties a chance to see how things work out.”

Before joining Gordon Strachan's Highfield Road outfit, O'Neill played for Newcastle, Dundee United and Hibernian.

**

JIM NELSON has reportedly quit as Antrim camogie manager.

It is believed Nelson, who refused to comment last night, resigned days after submitting his annual report to the county board, with plans for the 1998 season.

The Antrim camogie board were unaware of any decision by Nelson to quit. According to sources, the Saffron's glory trail to All-Ireland Junior Championship victory this season left accounts in the red and subsequently the cost of meeting the planned 1998 training schedule and preparations for the Intermediate championship were turned down.

Marie Doherty, PRO for the Antrim Camogie Board, said she was not aware of Nelson's reported resignation. “This is news to me. We had a meeting a few nights ago and nothing was said. I cannot comment on something I know nothing about.” When asked had he resigned, Nelson said: “No comment.”

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