Paul Scholes scored twice as an under-strength United comfortably beat Celtic 3-0 on Wednesday night. And it was the stand-in skipper's shot which led to the first goal for the Reds after just eight minutes.
The former England midfielder's 25-yard blast was tipped over by Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc and when Kieran Richardson swung in the resulting corner, 18-year-old Jonny Evans was the unlikely scorer, smashing in a volley from close range.
Evans was making only his second start for the first team, having kept his place alongside Wes Brown following Saturday's final tour match in South Africa. The duo were joined in the back five by full-backs Phil Bardsley and Patrice Evra and goalkeeper Ben Foster.
Scholes started in central midfield alongside Darren Fletcher while Lee Martin and Chris Eagles lined up on the left and right flanks respectively. In attack, Giuseppe Rossi was partnered by Kieran Richardson and the pair linked up well in the 6th minute when the latter leaped to win a header and flick the ball on. Rossi received but was diverted off course by Boruc racing from his line.
United's wide-boys sometimes switched sides to good effect - Eagles attemped to score from the left wing in the 17th minute but could only sting the palms of Boruc who collected the ball safely. Then Martin was put through on the right when Richardson picked another hole in the shaky Celtic defence. The former Wimbledon player failed to make the most of his time and space, firing a poor shot across the face of goal.
Foster made a great save in the 25th minute after Scotland striker Kenny Miller showed good strength to tee up former Bolton winger Alan Thompson. The big United keeper blocked the resulting shot with his legs.
Good wing-play was a real feature of the first half and United's Martin produced another example in the very next attack. Back on the left side, he beat the full-back and whipped in a great cross for Rossi. A second goal seemed certain but the American-born striker headed over with only Boruc to beat.
Aiden McGeady missed Celtic's best chance of the first half, in the 40th minute. Maciej