TEEMU Pukki’s hat-trick inspired Celtic to a 5-2 victory against LASK Linz to maintain their unbeaten run on their tour of Austria.
Scorers: LASK Linz - Vujanovic (21) Pellegrini (46); Celtic - Pukki (33 48 64) Balde (76) Griffiths (88)
Manager Ronny Deila rang the changes following Sunday’s share of the spoils with Rapid Vienna, a game played with the Austrian outfit in sweltering conditions that finished 1-1.
Celtic Youth Academy graduates Eoghan O’Connell, Stuart Findlay, Calum Waters, Liam Henderson, Bahurdin Atajic and Callum McGgreor all came into the starting XI, with Lukasz Zaluska retaining his place between the sticks.
However, Dragan Vujanovic stabbed the home side ahead just after the 20-minute mark, but Finnish striker Pukki replied with a fizzing finish before the interval as torrential rain pounded the pitch.
Although a defensive mix-up allowed Linz to retake the lead seconds into the second half through Tobias Pellegrini, Pukki swept home another equaliser just two minutes later from defender Adam Matthews’ well-placed cross.
Pukki then claimed his third of the evening before Henderson saw a second yellow to leave the Scottish champions a man down in the latter part of the match.
However, following some delightful set-up play from Dylan McGeouch, fellow substitute Amido Balde added a fourth before Leigh Griffiths sealed the victory in the closing minutes with an emphatic finish into the far corner.
Deila was more than content with his side’s showing in what were extremely difficult conditions for both sets of players.
He said: “The boys gave 100 per cent and there was tempo in the game.
“There were a lot of good performances tonight.
“People were more comfortable on the ball and the performance was what I wanted so I was happy with that.
“I got the changes I wanted from the Rapid game, especially the attitude. Over time we want to control games and this was a good start.”
Next up for the Deila’s men is a clash against Dukla Prague on Friday, their final fixture of the pre-season tour of Austria.
LASK Linz: Pervan, Blutsch, Neuhold, Takougnadi, Maria, Vujanovic, Obster, Kogler, Hieblinger, Hinum, Erbek.
Celtic: Zaluska, Matthews,O’Connell, Findlay, Waters, Biton, Henderson, Griffiths, Atajic, McGregor, Pukki.