It was a superb end to January for Celtic this day 23 years ago after a superb 5-0 win against St Johnstone at Paradise – including a hat trick for Norwegian striker Harald Brattbakk.
In front of a bumper crowd of 60,092, Jozef Venglos’ men aimed to continue their stellar unbeaten run which saw them lose just twice after the turn of the year, despite an abhorrent start which saw just two wins from a possible eight games at the start of the season.
At this point in the season, Celtic were 13 points behind city rivals Rangers, and needed every point possible if they were to have any chance of winning the title.
The Bhoys got off to a great start in just the sixth minute, when Brattbakk recieved the ball at the back-post after a mix up in defending by the St Johnstone defence.
The Norwegian talisman coolly switched the ball onto his right foot, bamboozling the defence and rifling the ball into the top corner via a deflection.
Things got better just 14 minutes later when Lubo got himself on the scoresheet after some nice work in the midfield from Larsson left him totally unmarked before bending a shot into the bottom right-hand corner from distance.
And it was three before half time, with King of Kings Larsson – of course – getting himself on the scoresheet, in strange circumstances.
31st January 1999, Celtic 5:0 St Johnstone.
Brattbakk(3), Lubo and Larsson. pic.twitter.com/8er6TWEuHA
— Li’l Ze (@LilZe_7) January 31, 2022
A superb ball from Stubbs found Brattbakk in the channel, and after beating his man found his shot denied by the legs of the Saints keeper. The ball fell to a Celtic player in the middle of the box, who’s shot was against saved by the keeper before the second rebound hit the bar – where Brattbakk headed the ball across goal into the path of Larsson, who at the fourth attempt finally stuck the ball in the onion bag with a superb diving header.
A relatively slow second half ensured, but with 15 minutes left Brattbakk doubled his tally with a well taken goal after a quick counter attack found him in space, before sliding the ball under the hapless Saints shotstopper.
And his hat-trick was complete just 120 seconds later with a tap-in; after Henrik Larsson took the ball round the keeper, he unselfishly squared the ball to Brattbakk to give Celtic a five-star end to January.
The team that day was: Gould, Boyd, Mahe, Stubbs, Mjallby, Riseth, O’Donnell, Lambert, Moravick, Brattbakk, Larsson.