Kongsvinger ............ 1 Celtic ..................... 3
aCELTIC wrapped up their pre- season tour of Norway last night with an impressive victory over premier division side Kongsvinger.
Three first-half goals - two from Mark Burchill and one from Henrik Larsson set the seal on their third straight tour win.
Head coach John Barnes had made it clear at the outset of the trip that everybody would get a game at some stage and last night he fielded yet another interesting line-up.
This time, the talking point was at the back where he played German trialist Jochen Keintz and Olivier Tebily in the centre of defence, with club captain Tom Boyd on the bench.
With Mark Viduka back in Glasgow for treatment to an injured thumb, Barnes decided to go with Larsson and Burchill up front with service from Bobby Petta who was making his debut on the left with Eyal Berkovic the first-half playmaker in midfield along with Paul Lambert and Johan Mjallby.
Last night's win was another good one for Celtic as their opponents have plied their trade in Norway's top division for 16 years and, although they are currently bottom of the league, they have built up a reputation of being difficult to break down.
They also have an impressive pedigree of producing their own players and Vidar Riseth started his career with the club, as did Liverpool's Stig Inge Bjornebye.
Celtic's win last night, on top of a victory over second division outfit Ham-Kam by 3-2 and a magnificent 3-0 win over Danish champions Aalborg, means that the club's preparation could not have been better as the new season approaches.
The training sessions they have been putting in during the 12-day training camp have clearly paid dividends, for the players looked in good shape for the full 90 minutes, compared with their second-half performance against Aalborg in the previous game when many of them, understandably, tired near the end.
First impressions of Petta, who was signed from Ipswich Town, is that he is a very skilful player who isn't scared to take players on.
However, he is incredibly one- footed and it will take him a few games to settle into the side if, indeed, Barnes feels he fits into the formation he wants to play.
He certainly saw a lot of the ball last night and was instrumental in setting up good chances before being substituted on the hour mark by Regi Blinker.
What was most impressive about Celtic was their pass-and- move game, which was slick with not too many passes going astray.
Individually, Tebily put in another good performance and looks happy playing passes out of defence while Mjallby had a fine game, winning the majority of his tackles. Also Lubomir Moravcik, who came on for Berkovic with 20 minutes remaining, looked sharp and was unlucky not to score on two occasions.
Up front, Burchill made the most of his opportunity to impress and was worthy of his two goals, in 13 and 24 minutes.
On both occasions, they came after quick, one-touch football, his second a classy affair after interplay between Larsson and Berkovic. He was also involved in his side's third goal in which Larsson netted in 32 minutes with a low shot after a move made up of more than 20 passes.
Apart from a weak penalty given to Kongsvinger in 19 minutes when Mjallby was adjudged to have fouled Hapnes and which Alm converted, the Celtic defence was never seriously troubled.
In the second half, Barnes replaced Gould with Stewart Kerr in goal and Riseth with Boyd at right back. The changes made no difference to the pattern of play with Celtic still in control to such an extent that they made five other substitutions.
A welcome appearance for Celtic on the hour mark was that of Craig Burley, who replaced Lambert. The Scottish inter-nationalist was making his first appearance since a knee ligament injury forced him to miss last season's Scottish Cup final.
Afterwards, Barnes said he was delighted at the way his team had played in all three games and also how they had performed during the training camp.
He said that he would be making a decision over the next couple of days over whether to give contracts to trialists Kientz and Frenchman Stephane Bonnes.
''Things have gone better than I thought they would,'' said Barnes. ''We came to lay down foundations and the way they have stuck to their task over the last week or so I could not ask for any more.''
He added that he was looking forward to the club's two final friendly matches to be played at Celtic Park, against Leeds on Saturday and then Newcastle United next Tuesday, saying both teams would provide the sort of opposition Celtic wanted to get into the right frame of mind for the start of the league campaign when they play Aberdeen at Pittodrie on August 1.
Despite his optimism, Barnes conceded that the club still had a long way to go, but made it clear that the team's performance on this tour will give him and the rest of the management team confidence for the campaign ahead.
CELTIC - Gould, Riseth, Kientz, Tebily, Mahe, Lambert, Mjallby, Berkovic, Larsson, Burchill, Petta. Substitutes - Burley, Blinker, Brattbakk, Boyd, Johnson, Moravcik, Wieg-horst, McKinlay, Bonnes.
KONGSVINGER - Lianes, Adolfsson, Bergman, Gullerud, Evensen, Francis, Alm, Dybendal, Hapnes, Solberg, Stormoen. Substitutes - Langnes, Apelstav, Karlsrud, Saetre, Johansen, Ronningen, Johnsson, Berg, Martinsen, Rimfeldt.
Referee - E Berntsen.
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