Sunday, February 24, 2008

Naka's Free Kick Saves Celtic FC's Season

Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Love Street, Paisley


(Nakamura 87)

ST MIRREN (4-4-2) Howard; van Zanten, Haining, Potter, Maxwell; Barron, Murray, Dorman, Mason (Corcoran 90); Dargo (Kean 80), Mehmet
Subs not used: Mathers, Hamilton, Miranda, McCay, McGinn

CELTIC (4-4-2) Boruc; Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus (O’Dea 48), Naylor; Robson (Nakamura 64), Donati, Brown, McGeady; Samaras (Killen 77), McDonald
Subs not used: M.Brown, Hutchinson, Hartley, Sno

Shunsuke Nakamura climbed off the bench to curl home a spectacular late free-kick and hand Celtic a priceless 1-0 win over a stubborn St Mirren side.

The Japanese genius, on as a substitute for Barry Robson, bent a sublime effort into the corner from 25 yards, with just three minutes remaining.

It looked as if the Hoops would have to settle for a point at Love Street, until Naka’s timely intervention. With the title race entering a crucial phase, that goal could prove to be one of the most important in the whole campaign.

St Mirren only had a handful of openings in a scrappy match, but Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc did produce two world-class stops to deny the Buddies in either half and help the Hoops on their way to three points.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan made four changes to the side that faced Barcelona in midweek. Andreas Hinkel replaced Paul Caddis, while Scott Brown and Massimo Donati came in for Nakamura and Paul Hartley.

Up front, Georgios Samaras made his first start for Celtic. The Greek striker replaced Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, who was ruled out with a slight hamstring strain.


Nakamura's wonder strike SAVED CELTIC FC'S SEASON today, don't let anyone let you think otherwise. Hopefully the Bhoys can look just a bit more inspired against Inverness Caledonian Thistle this Wednesday.


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