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  • Frustration as Celts draw with Dundee

    Frustration as Celts draw with Dundee

    By: Martin Dalziel on 02 Mar, 2016 21:41

  • SPFL Premiership
    Celtic Park
    Wednesday, March 2, 2016



    CELTIC were held to a frustrating stalemate at Paradise tonight against a well-drilled Dundee team in the SPFL Premiership.

    Young Patrick Roberts was a bright spot on an evening of disappointment for Ronny Deila’s side as he made his first start for the Hoops but the Bhoys will look back on the match as a missed opportunity to maintain their six-point lead at the top of the league after Aberdeen overcame Dundee United 1-0.

    The champions will now turn their focus to Sunday’s clash against Greenock Morton in the Scottish Cup quarter-final where they will bid to return to winning ways.

    Celtic made five changes for the game, with the manager giving Charlie Mulgrew a rare start in midfield alongside Scott Brown, allowing the Hoops veteran to make his 200th appearance for the club in place of Stefan Johansen.

    Craig Gordon returned in favour of Logan Bailly and Patrick Roberts won his first start for the Celts on the right of the attacking three along with the returning Tom Rogic and Stuart Armstrong, while Kris Commons, Scott Allan and Gary Mackay-Steven dropped out of the starting XI.

    Roberts’ inclusion in the line-up drew the biggest cheer from the home crowd before kick-off and the diminutive attacker almost repaid that backing immediately when he effortlessly ghosted in from the right flank past two Dundee defenders and aimed a shot at the far post, but Julen Etxabeguren got the block in for the visitors.

    Leigh Griffiths shot over from the resultant corner before the striker pulled another effort wide from outside the box as the Celts heaped the pressure on Paul Hartley’s side in the opening 15 minutes.

    Griffiths won another sight of goal with a first-time volley after Roberts supplied an inviting cross from the right but the striker fired wide. The on-loan Manchester City winger then set up Mikael Lustig to cross for Mulgrew in the area but Scott Bain gathered the ball to thwart the chance.

    The pressure continued to mount as the champions pushed Dundee back before Mulgrew gave Bain his first real work over the evening by testing the keeper with a swerving free-kick from 20 yards out. He parried it wide but the Bhoys did not relent as Rogic forced the keeper into another smart save at his near post with a shot on the turn.

    Paul McGinn then saved Etxabeguren’s blushes just before half-time when he and Bain misjudged a ball over the top, allowing Griffiths to gather in the box but McGinn came across to clear the danger.

    There was concern for the Celts when Griffiths had to go off for treatment following a heavy fall but he soon returned and forced Holt into a last-ditch clearance at the back post, before Sviatchenko headed over from the resultant corner.

    Craig Wighton’s mazy run before half-time gave the home defence their first and only scare of the half but the Bhoys cleared the danger to go in at the break level, and largely frustrated.

    James Forrest’s half-time introduction in place of Stuart Armstrong sought to inject more pace into the Celtic midfield, but the champions’ feeling of frustration from the first-half remained as the second period got underway.

    Celtic had upped the tempo after but the game very quickly took on a frustrated feel to it as the opener continued to evade Ronny Deila’s side, and the visitors grew in confidence as the match wore on.

    With Hartley’s side continuing to fight and scrap for every ball, the champions brought on Colin Kazim-Richards for Rogic to add a bit of bite to their attack, but it was the visitors who went closest to taking the lead with Wighton’s shot on the turn saved by Gordon before Kevin Holt flashed a header over on the hour mark.

    Dundee then introduced Rory Loy and Gary Harkins with 20 minutes left and the game still finely poised at 0-0 before Greg Stewart also joined the action, completing the Dark Blues’ familiar attacking trio.

    As the visitors adjusted to their new line-up Celtic almost took the lead, and it was Roberts who was involved again, bursting into the area on the right before cutting it back for Mulgrew, who forced Bain into an excellent save.

    The Hoops’ final throw of the dice came in the shape of Kris Commons who replaced Mikael Lustig, but the change in the backline almost caught the Bhoys out at a Dundee corner as Kostadin Gadzhalov was gifted space to get a clear header at goal but he conspired to send his effort wide from six yards.

    The match closed out with Celtic defending against the fresh legs of the Dundee attack, who cleverly wasted time by keeping the ball at the corner flag, frustrating the Bhoys and earning themselves a valuable point, much to the chagrin of the Hoops support.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig (Commons 80), Boyata, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Brown, Mulgrew; Roberts, Rogic (Kazim-Richards 61), Armstrong (Forrest 46); Griffiths.
    Not used: Bailly, Allan, Ambrose, McGregor

    DUNDEE (4-1-3-2) Bain; McGinn, Etxabeguren, Gadzhalov, Holt; Ross; Low (Harkins 70), McGowan, Kerr; Wighton (Stewart 76), Loy (Hemmings 68).
    Not used: Mitchell, Meggatt, Arturo, Black

    Website man of the match: Kieran Tierney


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