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Sunday, July 15, 2007

QPR 1 Celtic 5

Updated - July 16
Tracy Stent/QPR Rivals - Match Report

Additional Reports
The Herald "...the home fans - vastly outnumbered by a massive travelling support..."

Cole, Curtis, Barker, Shimmin, Stewart, Bailey, Bolder, Ward, Rowlands, Nygaard, Moore.
Subs: Thomas, Blackstock, Timoska, Nardiello, Cullip, Howell, Cochrane, Arthur, St Aimie, Rehman, O'Brien, Rose.
Boruc, Wilson, Naylor, McManus, Brown, Miller, Hesselink, Donati, Caponi, Kenneddy, McGeady.
Subs: Balde, Hartley, Riordan, Gravesen, Pressley, Jarosik, Brown, MacDonald, O'Brien, Irvine, Caddis, Bjarnason. Today's Teams

Celtic trialist Andrea Capone boosted his chances of securing a long-term deal at Parkhead with a goal in a convincing 5-1 victory at QPR.

Capone's long-range effort opened the scoring for the visitors midway through the first half at Loftus Road.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink atoned for an early penalty miss by claiming a double and new signings Scott Brown and Scott McDonald also got on the scoresheet, while Kieron St Aimie grabbed a consolation.

Capone, who is available on a free transfer from Cagliari, broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when his strike proved too strong for QPR keeper Jake Cole.

Cole had earlier pushed away Vennegoor of Hesselink's 10th-minute penalty but let the Italian midfielder's shot spin in off his hand.

Capone, 26, caused problems when drifting in from wide positions and came close with an ambitious chip just before his opening goal.

He also missed a good chance for the second after good work from McGeady, who set up Brown to tuck home Celtic's second in the 39th minute.

The home side's best first-half effort came when Martin Rowlands struck a free-kick just wide.

QPR striker Dexter Blackstock headed wide from six yards just after the break and Massimo Donati soon missed a good chance at the other end.

Vennegoor of Hesselink then struck twice in quick succession, the first a superb angled drive in the 54th minute after good work from Capone and the impressive Brown.

The Dutchman pounced from close range two minutes later after John Kennedy saw his strike blocked on the line following a corner.

St Aimie burst past Lee Naylor and found the bottom corner in the 65th minute, soon after Celtic boss Gordon Strachan had made his first three substitutions.

One of them, McDonald, forced a great save from Cole before being set up for a simple fifth after Kenny Miller had sprung the offside trap and crossed in the 73rd minute.

The game died down in the closing stages as both managers made a number of changes.
Sporting Life

CELTIC OFFICIAL SITE - celts hit form in 5-1 win

CELTIC’s vast English support were treated to an entertaining five-goal show at Loftus Road as Gordon Strachan’s men continued to impress in this fourth pre-season encounter against Queens Park Rangers.

Strikes from Andrea Capone, Scott Brown, Scott McDonald and a Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink double sealed the second win in this double header of friendlies against English opposition.

That first game against Peterborough United resulted in a 2-1 win on Friday, but in this meeting against a superior side in QPR, Celtic stepped up another gear, playing attractive football en route to a 5-1 win.

Had Celtic taken advantage of a series of early opportunities the scoreline could have in fact been higher at Loftus Road and goalkeeper Jake Cole did well to deny Miller and Vennegoor of Hesselink, also saving a penalty in the tenth minute from the big Dutchman.

QPR did enjoy an outstanding opportunity of their own in this opening 20 minutes with Stefan Bailey’s close-range effort parried by the foot of Artur Boruc, but just two minutes later, on-trial Italian midfielder Andrea Capone opened the scoring with a shot from the edge of the box.

Capone had come close with an impudent chip just seconds before his dipping drive, but had goalkeeper Cole to thank for this effort, with the QPR number 1 palming the ball into his own net.

After this opener Celtic began to dominate, with the players apparently determined to test a keeper whose confidence was now wavering and six minutes before the interval they finally made another breakthrough.

Another driving run from the centre of midfield saw Scott Brown curl in a lovely shot from the edge of the box, but the move followed yet another quick counter and clever interplay – a pattern which would continue in the second half.

The introduction of Dexter Blackstock saw QPR mount a revival at the start of second half, with the highly-rated former Southampton man coming close, but minutes later Massimo Donati sent a curling shot inches wide and Celtic began to reassert their authority.

It took Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink just nine minutes after the restart to add Celtic’s third with the goal of the game, a beautiful curling shot from the edge of the box that was reminiscent of Jim O’Brien’s winner at Peterborough on Friday.

He then grabbed his second just three minutes later, knocking the ball home from a yard out after a John Kennedy effort had been scrambled off the line.

In the 66th minute Kieron St Aime did give the home support something to cheer about with an outstanding consolation goal, but once again, Celtic began to pen them back, with Scott McDonald hitting the side-netting and Brown denied a clear penalty, before Celtic’s Australian striker finished off the route with Celtic’s fifth.

Having won three of their opening four pre-season games Gordon Strachan and his players will now travel out to America high in confidence and aiming to continue the run..." Celtic Official Site

A five-star display from Scottish Champions Celtic saw them condemn Rangers to a first pre-season defeat of the new campaign.

First half goals from Andrea Caponi and Scott Brown gave the Bhoys the initiative and when Dutch striker Jan Venegoor of Hesselink added a quick-fire double early in the second period, Celtic were firmly in the driving seat.

Second half substitute Kieron St Aimie bagged a consolation for the R's with a sublime individual goal, but Celtic had the last laugh when Scott MacDonald fired home number five late on.
John Gregory named a 24-man squad for the visit of the Scottish League and Cup double winners.

New signings Chris Barker and John Curtis were named in the starting XI, but Danny Nardiello had to make do with a place amongst the substitutes.

Youth team trio Chris Arthur, Matthew O'Brien and Romone Rose were also named on the bench, alongside last season's top-scorer Dexter Blackstock.

Celtic included master poacher Venegoor of Hesselink, while £3million midfielder Massimo Donati was handed the central midfield berth.

Both sides were keen to express themselves on the lush Loftus Road playing surface and it was Rangers who created the first two opportunities, with strike-duo Stefan Moore and Marc Nygaard each testing Artur Boruc in the Celtic goal.

The Bhoys were by no means second best though, with Venegoor of Hesselink forcing Cole to smother his eight-yard effort in the sixth minute.

Venegoor of Hesselink wasted a golden opportunity to open the visitors' account two minutes later, when the unfortunate Dominic Shimmin was penalised for handball and referee Mr D'Urso pointed to the spot.

The decision angered the entire R's side, but Cole came to the rescue, diving full-stretch to his right to save the Dutch ace's weakly struck spot-kick.

Buoyed by Cole's heroics, Rangers continued to create chances.

Moore and Rowlands combined effectively in the 18th minute, and when the latter's cut-back from the by-line found Stefan Bailey, Boruc saved superbly with his feet.

In an end-to-end contest, the breakthrough eventually arrived on 22 minutes and it was the visitors who got it.

After audaciously chipping wide just moments earlier, Caponi tried his luck again from distance. Cole appeared to have his angles covered, only for the Italian trialists' 22-yard drive to squirm through his grasp and over the line.

Undeterred, Cole went some way to atoning for his error three minutes later, diving full stretch to tip round Kenny Miller's right foot curler.

There was nothing the R's custodian to could do about Celtic's second goal, which arrived seven minutes before the break though.

Aiden McGeady's lay-off fell perfectly into the path of the roaming Brown, who fired past Cole from 15-yards.

The R's finished the half in the ascendancy though, with the lively Martin Rowlands curling a 30-yard free-kick inches wide of Boruc's right hand post.

Gregory rang the changes at the break and it was one such substitute, Blackstock, who should've opened the R's account in the 47th minute.

Barker's neat one-two with Rowlands saw him get to the by-line and deliver an inch-perfect cross onto the head of R's front-man, who glanced wide from four yards.

At the other end, Cole saved smartly from the impressive Donati, before Venegoor of Hesselink made it three with a powerful drive from the right hand edge of the penalty box on 54 minutes.

Celtic were orchestrating proceedings by now and Venegoor of Hesselink was in the right place at the right time to make it four two minutes later, smashing home from close-range after Rangers failed to deal with a Bhoys set-piece.

Undeterred, the R's gave the home faithful something to shout about in the 65th minute, when St Aimie bagged his first goal in QPR colours.

Picking up possession on the halfway line, the teenage midfielder tricked his way past Lee Naylor before cutting inside and unleashing an unstoppable 15-yard drive into the bottom corner.

That wasn't the end of the scoring though and on 73 minutes, MacDonald fired home into an empty net after Kenny Miller evaded the R's offside trap to play provider for the Bhoys' fifth and final goal.

QPR: Cole, Curtis, Barker, Shimmin, Stewart, Bailey, Bolder, Ward, Rowlands, Nygaard, Moore.

Subs: Thomas, Blackstock (46), Timoska (46), Nardiello (46), Cullip (59), Howell (69), Cochrane (69), Arthur (59), St Aimie (46), Rehman (59), O'Brien, Rose, Baidoo (69).
Scorers: St Aimie 65
Celtic: Boruc, Wilson, Naylor, McManus, Brown, Miller, Hesselink, Donati, Caponi, Kenneddy, McGeady.
Subs: Balde, Hartley (63), Riordan (78), Gravesen, Pressley, Jarosik (69), Brown, MacDonald (63), O'Brien (86), Irvine (63), Caddis, Bjarnason.
Scorers: Caponi 22, Brown 38, Venegoor of Hesselink 54 & 56, MacDonald 75
Referee: A P D'Urso
QPR Official SIte

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