Victorious Celtic manager Martin O’Neill praised his players for their performance against Boavista, claiming that his side deserved to reach the finals over the two legs.

“Over the two games we deserve it – they were so negative with their diving and time-wasting, and it came back to haunt them eventually,” said O’Neill.

“I’m delighted for everyone at the club, the players and the supporters. I’ve always said it’s about those who pay and those who play.

“We know it will be difficult against Porto but there’s no reason why we can’t win it.”

Goalscorer Henrik Larsson admitted the goal had an element of luck about it.

The Swede scored his 40th goal of the season to send Celtic into the UEFA Cup final with just ten minutes remaining, but admitted that there was an element of luck to the strike.

“I tried to slip the ball to John Hartson, but thankfully the defender slide-tackled and the ball came back to me,” said Celtic’s talismanic striker.

“I didn’t get much on it and it certainly didn’t go in the right direction, but it doesn’t matter, we got one in the end.”

The win takes Celtic through to their first European final since 1970.

A disappointed Boavista coach, Jaime Pacheco, said: “It’s the hardest day of my life. We tried everything and had the best chances, but luck was not on our side. I’ll be supporting Porto in the final and if they play to their ability they will win.”