‘If I score I won’t cheer as a sign of respect for my old club,’ Van Hooijdonk declared going in to the game. The big man held his word as he guided his umpteenth freekick into the net early on to give Feyenoord the lead. The home fans rose to applaud Van Hooijdonk as he trotted back to the centre circle, his career another goal richer.
The early opener gave Feyenoord more confidence and that was reflected in the relaxed manner in which the visitors played. The second goal was a good example of that. Kalou danced past some static defenders on the right and ended with a rasping drive that found the far corner of the goal just past the quarter hour mark.
Hartson replied for Celtic within five minutes, but the home goal didn’t appear to shake Feyenoord. De Nooijer played a solid first forty-five after a wobbly start; Paauwe was excellent in the unfamiliar leftback spot. Emerton also put in a good performance, continuing his recent rich seam of form.
Feyenoord capped a dazzling first half with a third goal, when Kalou laid the ball off for an unmarked Shinji Ono, who rifled first time into the net to give the Rotterdammers a healthy lead going into the break.
Van Marwijk brought on Van Persie for Buffel at the start of the second act. Despite the new blood the visitors found things getting gradually tougher against an all-change Celtic team. Tiredness or nonchalance threatened to undermine the Rotterdam effort. So it was no surprise when Sylla grabbed a goal back for the Glaswegians, after good work from Sutton in the box.
Not until the final fifteen did Feyenoord start to create chances again, as Van Persie went close, Pardo went closer and Van Hooijdonk went closest. But in the end coach van Marwijk can be happy with another win on foreign soil.
Celtic 2-3 Feyenoord (1-3)
13’ 0-1 Van Hooijdonk
16’ 0-2 Kalou
21’ 1-2 Hartson
38’ 1-3 Ono
53’ 2-3 Sylla
Celtic: Marshall; Agathe, Mjallby, Balde, Crainey; Malony, Healy, Lambert, Petta (46’ Guppy); Hartson (46’ Sutton), Larsson (46’ Fernandez).
Feyenoord: Lodewijks, Emerton, Van Wonderen, De Nooijer, Paauwe; Kalou, Acuña, Ono, Pardo; Buffel (46’ Van Persie), Van Hooijdonk.