If You Know The History: 24th April 2003 Boavista 0 Celtic 1

24th April 2003 Boavista 0 Celtic 1

In the spring of 2003, the legions of Celtic fans were beginning to believe that that particular season was turning out to be one of the more important ones. Domestic trophies were one thing but European success was quite another and Celtic were going well in the UEFA Cup, having already disposed of a number of well-known sides.

In the first round, 8-1 on aggregate against FK Sudova; in round two, 2-1 versus Blackburn; round three needed the help of the away goals rule to go through against Celta Vigo after a 2-2 draw; in round four, 5-4 over Stuttgart; that was followed by a 3-1 victory against Liverpool in the quarter-final; and then, in the first leg of the semi-final, they had held Boavista of Portugal to a goalless draw at Celtic Park.

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On this day in 2003, only 11,000 spectators were gathered in the Estadio de Bessa for the return leg, when the Celtic team was Rab Douglas, Johann Mjallby, Bobo Balde, Joos Valgaeren, Didier Agathe, Neil Lennon, Paul Lambert, Stilyan Petrov, Alan Thompson, Henrik Larsson and John Hartson.

Frankly, play was quite ragged all evening, with neither side making many chances. Eleven minutes from the end, though, the Celtic fans got what they had wanted. Henrik Larsson managed to guide a speculative shot into the corner of the net and his 39th goal of the season put Celtic into the final of the UEFA Cup.

Jim Craig

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