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Men Against Bhoys

Written by Newcastle Utd

Magpies run-out 4-1 winners in Big Sam's first game at SJP against Celtic

St.James' Park
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Kick-off 7.45pm

Craig Hope reports from St.James' Park ...


A FIRST-half brace from Spaniard Albert Luque helped the Magpies to a 4-1 victory over Scottish champions Celtic in Sam Allardyce's first game at St.James' Park.

It was Nigerian hitman Oba Martins (11) who opened the scoring, finishing low past Artur Boruc with a first-time effort after Nobby Solano had picked out the Toon striker unmarked on the penalty spot.

Enter Albert Luque - making his first start in black and white since February, the former Deportivo forward volleyed home his first on the half-hour mark after James Milner crossed from the left-hand side.

And the Spanish international got his second and United's third just before the break, this time connecting left-footed with a Solano delivery at the far post to force the ball past Boruc.

Scott Brown (72) pulled one back for the visitors with a fine header, before Milner (90) wrapped things up with a low drive from outside the area.

Steve Harper made a cameo appearance in attack for the hosts after Nicky Butt was forced to leave the field because of injury late in the second-half.

SECOND HALF UPDATES (click refresh for latest)

The game doesn't restart and Mark Halsey blows for full-time with United running out deserved 4-1 winners.

91min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (4-1): It's Steve Harper who starts the move with a neat lay-off on the right-hand side, the ball is worked to N'Zogbia on halfway and he drives the Magpies forward before feeding JAMES MILNER on the left, the winger cuts in-field and fires low past Brown from 20 yards.

88min - Taylor leaves the field with what looks like a knock to his ankle. Big Andy Carroll goes to centre-back leaving Steve Harper to plough a lone furrow up front.

84min - Donati springs Miller clear, the forward needs too many touches and has to check his run with Taylor recovering, but Brown appears on the overlap and takes the shins of Shay Given to deflect the ball up and over the bar to deny the Celtic new boy a second from 12 yards out.

80min - Steve Harper comes on up front for United with Nicky Butt having failed to return to the action. The Toon Army are on their feet to welcome the Magpies goalie.

78min - Brown almost has a second flying in at the far post trying to connect with Naylor's cross-cum-shot, N'Zogbia does enough to distract the midfielder and the ball spins wide.

77min - Jiri Jarosik replaces Paul Caddis.

75min - There's another scare for the Magpies as Miller flashes a low ball right across the face of Given's goal, it's heart in mouths time but the ball luckily for United runs free. Nicky Butt has left the field and with all of the outfield subs having been used the hosts are down to 10 men.

72min - CELTIC GOAL (3-1): Naylor's cross lacks height but finds its way to McGeady unmarked on the edge of the area, the winger takes a touch and chips the ball onto the head of SCOTT BROWN who rises above Edgar to power his effort into the top corner and beyond a diving Shay Given.

70min - David Edgar makes his first appearance of the pre-season with David Rozehnal making way on what was his first game at Gallowgate.

67min - Scott Brown surges forward and makes inroads into United's area before squaring for Miller poised eight yards from goal, Rozehnal anticipates the pass however and arrives on the scene to clear.

66min - Kenny Miller replaces Jan Venegoor of Hesselink for the visitors.

65min - Oba Martins leaves to a standing ovation with James Troisi coming on.

61min - Butt feeds Milner with his back to goal 30 yards from goal, Milner spins clear of Naylor who was in close attendance and cracks an effort at goal, it has the fans on their feet but bounces in front of Brown's goal before going inches wide of the keeper's right-hand upright.

58min - Taylor and Hesselink challenge in the air on the edge of the area, the United defender lands the wrong side of the Dutchman and the ball drops kindly for the Celtic forward, his shot spins wide however with Taylor having done well to recover and put off the striker.

54min - Naylor's weak bacpass plays in Andy Carroll who had done well to anticipate the situation, Brown is equally as sharp however and races from his line to deny the United forward who had tried to poke the ball under the on-rushing stopper from just eight yards out.

48min - Hartley runs from halfway out to the left-wing but runs out of ideas and sends a weak shot wide of Given's near post from 25 yards.

The Magpies get the second-half underway with Steven Taylor, Andy Carroll, Charles N'Zogbia and Matty Pattison having replaced Paul Huntington, Nobby Solano, Albert Luque and Peter Ramage.


It's half-time at St.James' and the opening period has been all about one man - Albert Luque - the Spanish forward grabbing two goals with United fully deserving their 3-0 lead.

42min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (3-0): We said before the game that ALBERT LUQUE was looking to make the most of his first start of the pre-season and the Spaniard is certainly doing that. Nobby Solano is the provider with a trademark right-wing delivery which finds Luque at the far post, the former Deportivo man finishingleft-footed first-time from six-yards out before spinning away to enjoy the applause of the black and white fans.

40min - Ramage is United's saviour with a great, sliding intervention on the goal-line after Zurawski had nicked the ball clear of Shay Given, it ran kindly for Hesselink and it had looked certain the Dutchman would halve the deficit from close range until Rammy recovered to clear.

39min - McGeady has had a lively opening period and wins a corner for Celtic as his 25-yard, low shot deflects off Ramage and behind. The flag-kick is worked short and it takes a well-timed header from Huntington to take the ball clear of Hesselink from Naylor's far post cross.

35min - A lovely first-time ball from Geremi springs Luque clear in the inside left channel, the Spaniard volleys goalwards and the Toon crowd are on their feet as the his effort dips just inches over Boruc's crossbar.

33min - Shay Given is called into action for the first time and he needed to make the save with Aiden McGeady's 25-yard shot heading straight for the top corner. The Irishman palms over the crossbar and from the resulting corner Carr clears first-time at  the near post.

30min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (2-0): ALBERT LUQUE is making a habit of scoring against Celtic after his goal in Alan Shearer's testimonial match last May. This time the Spaniard finishes from close range after James Milner picked him out unmarked just eight yards from Boruc's goal, his left-foot volley finding the back of the net and United have a two-goal lead.

28min - The Magpies have another corner, this time on the right-hand side, Geremi is again the taker but McManus heads clear at the near post.

25min - Naylor sends a whipped free-kick towards the far post, Kennedy climbs highest to head back across goal for centre-back partner McManus, the Bhoys skipper does well to re-position his body and attempts the acrobatic effort but his overhead shot is sliced and goes wide.

24min - A Martins' flick finds Geremi in space 25 yards out, the Cameroon star again has a crack but the low drive is going away from Boruc's goal and he watches it wide.

21min - Caddis is forced to concede a corner from Carr's deep cross when really he could have let the ball run for a goal-kick. Geremi swings over a deep delivery which is fisted clear by Boruc, Rozehnal chases after the loose ball and is scythed down by Naylor after a neat turn on the right channel. Albert Luque steps up and lashes goalwards, but it's high, wide and not very handsome, much to the travelling support's delight.

17min - Celtic have the first corner of the game as Naylor's cross from the left is charged down by Solano. Hartley's flag-kick is low but manages to find its way into the heart of the six-yard and only the bravery of Paul Huntington prevents the visitors levelling the scores as he hacks clear. The Magpies break and Geremi shoots from 25 yards after good work by Martins but his effort clears Boruc's crossbar.

15min - A ball forward is seized upon by Hartley on the edge of the area, Zurawski is supporting to his right and Celtic's right-winger tees it up perfectly for the Pole, unfortunately for the visitors his effort lacks direction and the ball drifts harmlessly wide.

11min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): It looks as though a promising forward is dead when McManus stops Stephen Carr in his tracks as he advanced into the penalty area, the ball runs free on the right channel and possession is quickly recycled by Solano who picks out OBA MARTINS on the penalty spot, the Nigerian does the rest with a first-time, right-footed finish which beats Borus low to his left. It's a very similar effort to Martins' strike against AZ Alkmaar at the same end last season.

8min - Hartley crosses from deep on the right flank and Stephen Carr manages to head clear, the ball drops kindly for Donati 30 yards from goal but his wild effort ends up high in the Gallowgate end amid cheers from the home crowd.

5min - United break and a prodded Nobby throughball almost puts Luque in but the Spaniard is unable to reach the pass and the ball runs through to Boruc.

5min - A hopeful pump forward looks like it's set Zurawski free, but Given is quickly off his line to hack clear the danger .

4min - Albert Luque's made a bright start and has already won warm applause from the home fans with a couple of neat touches.

Celtic get the game underway on a balmy night at St.James' with United wearing their new sky blue change kit.


ALBERT Luque is handed a starting place in attack as he makes his first pre-season appearance for the visit of Celtic in what is Big Sam's first game at St.James' Park. 

The Spaniard last figured for United as a second-half substitute at Portsmouth in April and will be looking to make an impression having been given a fresh start under the new regime.

There are Gallowgate debuts for David Rozehnal and Geremi, the Cameroon international partnering Nicky Butt in the centre of midfield.

James Milner starts his first pre-season fixture and will operate on the left flank with Nobby Solano down the right.

Shay Given has shaken-off a heel injury and returns to wear the captain's armband against his former club.

Peter Ramage will line-up alongside Rozehnal at the heart of the defence with 19-year-old Paul Huntington slotting in at left-back.

Steven Taylor returns to the Magpies bench following his ankle injury, and there's also a first inclusion for David Edgar after his participation in the Under-20 World Cup with Canada.


NUFC: Shay Given, Stephen Carr, Paul Huntington, David Rozehnal, Peter Ramage, James Milner, Geremi, Nicky Butt, Nobby Solano, Oba Martins, Albert Luque
Subs: Steve Harper, Tim Krul, Matty Pattison, Charles N'Zogbia, Andy Carroll, Steven Taylor, David Edgar, James Troisi

CFC: Artur Boric, Lee Naylor, Maciej Zurawski, Scott Brown, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Massimo Donati, John Kennedy, Stephen McManus, Paul Caddis, Paul Hartley, Aiden McGeady
Subs: Bobo Balde. Kenny Miller, Derek Riordan, Thomas Gravesen, Steven Pressley, Jiri Jarosik, Mark Brown, Chris Killen, Scott McDonald, Gary Irvine

Referee: Mark Halsey
Attendance: 30, 225

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