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Football: DALGLISH LIFTED BY CUP WIN; Celtic 2 Aberdeen 0.

CELTIC lifted the gloom surrounding Parkhead for the past few weeks by winning the Scottish League Cup at Hampden Park yesterday.

An early goal by Vidar Riseth and a second-half effort by Tommy Johnson saw off the challenge of Aberdeen, who had defender Thomas Solberg sent off after an hour.

It was the 11th time Celtic had lifted the trophy.

But, given their turbulent season, which saw director of football Kenny Dalglish take over the team after coach John Barnes was sacked six weeks ago, this success carries greater impact than most.

The victory took away some of the pain of that ignominious defeat by First Division Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup and the collapse of Celtic's bid to oust champions Rangers.

They are 12 points adrift in the League and that race is as good as over.

And for Dalglish, it was a moment to savour. He returned to Celtic last summer after 22 years in English football at Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, with the aim of restoring the club to its former glories.

"`I am pleased for the players who worked hard but more so for the fans who have not enjoyed a great season and had to put up with a lot of embarrassment," he said.

"`I thought our captain Tom Boyd played superbly today. It's great for people like him, who were brought up in Glasgow and supported the club since boyhood, to enjoy this success."

Dalglish refused to say whether winning the League Cup would persuade him to take the manager's job on a full-time basis.

"I get asked that after every game," he said. "I said we would not be rushed into an appointment, and that is still the case."

Norwegian international Riseth soothed Celtic's nerves when he sidefooted in a shot from six yards from Morten Wieghorst's cutback after just 16 minutes.

Johnson then killed off the Dons in the 58th minute, racing on to Mark Viduka's pass to steer an 18-yard shot past Aberdeen's veteran goalkeeper Jim Leighton.

Solberg, who had been cautioned earlier, was sent off two minutes later after chopping down Stilian Petrov. But it made no difference to the outcome.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Douglas, Craig
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 20, 2000
Words:365
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