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Celtic end friendly run

Posted on 26 July 2009  - 12:00

Four years after inflicting our last friendly defeat, Celtic struck again to beat us 2-0 in Sunday's Wembley Cup encounter.

Celtic end friendly run

Four years after inflicting our last friendly defeat, Celtic struck again to beat us 2-0 in Sunday's Wembley Cup encounter.

We hadn't lost a friendly since that 2-0 reverse at Celtic Park back on August 9, 2004 but the end of that sequence was on the cards once Georgios Samaras smashed home Celtic's second goal in the 40th minute at Wembley.

Harry Redknapp made a number of changes at half-time and a revival looked on the cards as we carved out a couple of chances in the early exchanges of the second half, but it wasn't to be.

Still without our three senior central defenders Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson, Harry opted to start with Dorian Dervite and Pascal Chimbonda in front of keeper Heurelho Gomes, with Robbie Keane and Darren Bent up front.

Celtic - who hammered Al Alhy 5-0 in their tournament opener before our 1-1 draw against Barcelona on Friday night - took the initiative in the ninth minute.

Paul Caddis burst down the right and his cross was an open invitation for Chris Killen to plant a header into the top corner from eight yards.

We created three chances in our best spell in the next 15 minutes.

All three fell to Darren Bent - the first via Huddlestone's tackle and Keane's pass was blocked by Lukasz Zaluska's legs, the second a difficult header from Wilson Palacios' cross looped straight at the keeper and the third, a snapshot at the near post that flew over.

Zaluska didn't do so well with Huddlestone's 20-yarder on the half-hour, spilling what was a straight-forward save and he was lucky the rebound dissected Keane and Chimbonda for a tap-in.

Samaras put Celtic in control with a fine goal after 40 minutes. The striker turned Dervite just inside the Celtic half and managed to keep Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Chimbonda at bay in a run to the box before unleashing an unstoppable drive from 16 yards. Killen then angled a drive inches wide just before the break.

Carlo Cudicini, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Luka Modric, Kyle Naughton, Jermain Defoe, Vedran Corluka, Danny Rose and Jake Livermore all entered the fray at half-time.

The game might have been beyond us had Paddy McCourt found the finish to a Ricky Villa-esque dribble two minutes into the second half, the midfielder leaving five players in his wake but placing his effort wide of the target.

Our response was immediate as Livermore drilled just wide and then Darren O'Dea somehow managed to clear Luka Modric's effort off the line from O'Hara's cross. Livermore - goalscorer against Barca on Friday - then tried his luck again and Zaluska did well to get down to the young midfielder's precision sidefoot.

The chances then dried up at both ends until Niall McGinn flashed a shot just over in the 71st minute.

John Bostock, enjoying the Wembley experience again alongside fellow youngsters Naughton, Rose and Jon Obika, then fired in a low cross that evaded Defoe's toe by a fraction as he slid in.

That was that - China awaits!

Spurs: Gomes (Cudicini, 46); Hutton (Naughton, 46), Dervite (Corluka, 46), Chimbonda, Assou-Ekotto (Rose, 46); Lennon (Modric, 46), Huddlestone (Bostock, 76), Palacios (Livermore, 46), O'Hara (Obika, 82); Keane (Pavlyuchenko, 46), Bent (Defoe, 46).

Celtic: Zaluska; Caddis, Loovens (Caldwell, 46), O'Dea, Fox (Conroy, 46); Flood, McCourt (McGowan, 66), Crosas, Mizuno (Ferry, 66); Killen, Samaras (McGinn, 66). Subs: Boruc, Hinkel, Naylor, N'Guemo, MacDonald, Fortune, Maloney, Donati, McGeady.