SPFL Matchday 13
Celtic 2 Dundee 1
Attendance around 35,000
Celtic stayed top of the SPFL Premierleague on goal difference against a resilient Dundee side, who fought right to the final whistle to get something out the match.
It was always going to be a hard match, coming straight after the international break and also without suspended Club Captain Scott Brown.
Celtic came out for the match, went into the huddle then kicked off.
Dundee were unlucky not be ahead within the first minute. The ball fell to Stewart in the Celtic box but he blasted his shot over.
Harkins then won a free-kick on the 4th minute. He took it and it came back off the Celtic wall, the ball was lobbed back into the box and Craig Gordon cleared the ball, it fell to Clarkson, whose lob was cleared off the goal line by Virgil van Dijk.
A minute later, McGowan then cut inside and shot over.
In the 9th minute, Celtic won a corner. Anthony Stokes picked out Kris Commons, who unmarked at the near post, put his header just wide.
Dundee then broke on the counter and Harkins’ shot went wide.
James Forrest then drove in from the right, skinned Irvine, got to the byline and crossed in, but there were no Celtic players in the box to get on the end of it.
Harkins then picked out McGowan on the 20th minute, who volleyed his chance across goal and out.
On the 26th minute, Forrest pinged a ball through to Guidetti that put him clear through on goal, but Bain got out to block his shot.
On the 30th minute mark, Izzy crossed to Commons in the box but he couldn’t make a connection, he then accidentally blocked a powerful shot from Virgil just outside the box, who had collected the ball after Kris’s earlier chance to run through and have a go.
Forrest then got into the box after skinning three defenders and shot, but his strike was blocked. Guidetti went for the rebound, but was crowded out by Bain.
Dundee then kept attacking and had a few chances which resulted in a corner. Harkins took it and sent the ball over to Clarkston, who headed the ball onto Konrad. He headed his chance point-blank over the bar, when it was easier to score.
Celtic, on the stroke of half-time, then opened the scoring. Forrest won a free kick up the right wing after being fouled by Harkins. Commons sent the free kick in and Stokes, at the near post, powered home a header past Bain into the Dundee net.
Celtic 1 Dundee 0
Efe Ambrose replaced Jason Denayer at half time, after he took a hefty knock in the first half.
McGinn came close for Dundee in the 48th minute, but his shot went just past the right post.
John clinically swept his shot under Bain’s body into the Dundee net.
He then wheeled away for a mental celebration in front of the Jock Stein Lower as the Celtic support sang his song.
Dundee’s head’s didn’t go down though as they went out to claw a goal back, bombarding the Celtic goal.
McPake had a header disallowed for offside, Stewart then attacked but had a shot deflected, before Clarkson scored his seventh in seven games on the 57th minute. He bundled in his goal in the Celtic box to keep them in the game and looking for an equalizer.
Biram Kayal replaced Commons a minute later as Celtic looked to shore up the midfield, pushing Stefan Johansen further forward in his preferred role to help defend from the front.
Guidetti was teed up for a volley on the 74h minute, but his shot was too powerful and it went just over the bar, Stokes then shot in the box, but his effort was blocked.
Callum McGregor replaced James Forrest on the 77th minute and was teed up by Stokes three minutes later in the box but he shot straight at Bain.
Guidetti and Izzy both came close in the last few minutes, as Celtic hung on to win all three points, before the crucial Europa League game against Salzburg at Paradise on Thursday.
Celtic 2 Dundee 1
LostBhoys Man of The Match Award goes to James Forrest
With Broony suspended Kris Commons came back into the team after injury.
Tactics: Deila went with a 4-2-3-1 formation, preferring not to replace the suspended Broony outright with another central midfielder, he instead used the formation he largely went with in the early part of the season to accommodate the returning Kris Commons.
He hoped to use Kris as another attacking option, to complement Stokes and Forrest on the wings and link up well with Guidetti up front.
The two-man central midfield played right into the hands of the fast counter-attacking game plan Paul Hartley favoured for his Dundee side, as they played through our midfield effectively and were unlucky not to take the lead in the first ten minutes after a succession of chances.
Celtic grew into the game and had a few half chances, with Forrest’s pace hurting Dundee effectively and also helping to get the team up the park and while Dundee also had further chances in the first half, notably a point blank header before the opening goal, Celtic grabbed the lead through Stokes’s header on the stroke of half time.
All credit to Hartley’s Dundee side, as after going two down early in the second half, after Matthews excellent pass to set up Guidetti’s well-finished goal, they enjoyed their best spell of the game straight after, as they bombarded the Celtic defence, deserving the goal that Clarkston scored.
Deila immediately subbed the ineffectual Kris Commons straight after their goal for Kayal and thankfully, moved Stefan Johansen back to his favoured attacking midfield position, making the midfield more solid and helping the slow the pace of the game in Celtic’s favour.
While their have been a few comments that Celtic were below par today (especially from Deila) Dundee put in the best SPFL performance of an away side at Parkhead so far this season and were very unlucky, with their have-a-go attitude on the day, not to deservedly have taken something from the game.
Ronny will have been relieved with getting the three points, making it now five SPFL wins in a row and if the team win against Partick Thistle on Wednesday week, will find themselves three points ahead at the top of the table.
GORDON – Pulled off a few great saves and a big contributor to Celtic getting all three points. Solid as usual.
IZZY – Linked up well with Stokes on the left but struggled defensively at times, missed having a midfield beside him in the advanced formation today to help with the defensive side.
VIRGIL – Took a good booking for the team midway through the first half as Dundee attacked at pace, unlucky not to open the scoring, but struggled with the rest of defence during Dundee’s good spells in the game
DENAYER – Struggled with the pace of the Dundee attacks at times in the first half and went off at half time with a bad knock. Needs to get more physical at times and give what he’s getting back, which is a big part of the Scottish game.
MATTHEWS – Very Rusty in the first half with his defending and positional sense. Needs a few more consistent games to get up to speed. Just hope another injury isn’t round the corner. Grew into the game second half and set up Guidetti’s goal superbly.
MULGREW – Struggled in midfield without Broony as a bit one-paced at times to deal with the counter attacks. Settled better once Kayal came on.
JOHANSEN – Looked frustrated in the central midfield as he was largely nullified until Commons went off for Kayal. He was then pushed up one to his best position of Attacking midfield and continued his excellent form of the last month, pressing the Dundee defence high up the pitch and helped to slow the pace of the game for the last half an hour to help ensure the three points.
STOKES – Although not renowned as a great header of the ball, took his goal very well. Can cut in better at times from the left but helped Izzy while helping Izzy get forward, struggled to link up with Guidetti and Commons.
FORREST – The team have missed his pace terribly the last few months, evident today, where, in full flow, he continually glided past three defenders at a time, unlucky not to score and made it to the 80 minute mark as he continues to be managed with a view to getting him back to peak fitness without injuries hampering him.
COMMONS – Great set piece free kick which resulted in the opening goal, but apart from that, didn’t really contribute to the team going forward. A good few jinks but nothing came off. Now viewed more as a luxury as he doesn’t fit into Deila’s preferred 4-3-3 formation and takes away from Johansen’s performance, who is more solid and effective when playing a similar position.
GUIDETTI – Now Ten goals in eleven games and more impressive today as he only got five chances, three of them being half ones. Scored from his first real chance and unlucky with the volley he put two much power on later in the match.
AMBROSE – (For Denayer 45) Excellent Efe cameo of causing heart attacks amongst the support for, as usual, being too casual in defence. Couldn’t clear his lines at Clarkson’s goal and hopefully, we will have (and need) Denayer fit for Thursday night.
KAYAL – (For Commons 59) Usually supporters (including myself) moan about Kayal only being able to pass the ball sideways and being very very late in the tackle, but that was just the type of player we needed when he came on and he didn’t let us down as he got stuck right into the Dundee midfield and forward line, taking a good booking for the team, when usually it’s just a booking for himself.
MCGREGOR – (For Forrest 78) Unlucky not to score when he came on for Forrest, shot point blank at the keeper, when if he scored, it would’ve put the team out of sight.
Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Bitton, Berget, Scepovic
ON TARGET: 6
FOULS CONCEDED: 12
BOOKINGS: Van Dijk, Kayal
Stats supplied by www.bbc.co.uk
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