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  • Frustration as Celts held by Dundee

    Frustration as Celts held by Dundee

    By: Mark Henderson on 05 Apr, 2016 21:46

  • Scottish Premiership
    Dens Park, Dundee
    Tuesday, April 5, 2016



    CELTIC spurned the chance to go seven points clear at the top of the table after they were held to a goal-less draw by Dundee on a frustrating evening at Dens Park.

    The Hoops came close to breaking the deadlock on several occasions, with Stefan Johansen hitting the post and Mikael Lustig and Charlie Mulgrew having headers cleared off the line.

    But they couldn’t find a way past the hard-working home side, who also struck the woodwork through Rory Loy in the second half.

    Despite the disappointment, Ronny Deila’s side did increase their lead over second-placed Aberdeen to five points with six matches remaining in the title race.

    Nir Bitton was restored to the starting XI as the manager made one change to the team that put Hearts to the sword on Saturday. The Israeli internationalist replaced Tom Rogic in the Hoops midfield, the Australian having being forced from the fray with concussion just before half-time at the weekend.

    Patrick Roberts kept his place in the side following his impressive performance and double against the Tynecastle and the 19-year-old looked lively in the opening stages as the champions made a bright start.

    Following Kieran Tierney’s low cross, a sublime touch from the winger saw him leave marker Kevin Holt for dead but he was unable to keep his final shot down.

    Having not scored in his last two games, Leigh Griffiths looked like a man on a mission against his former employers, darting around the attacking third and searching for attacking opportunities.

    And he came close to opening the scoring in the 12th minute after reacting quicker than Julen Extabeguren to Stefan Johansen’s ball through the middle but goalkeeper Scott Bain stood up well to block the striker’s shot.

    Former Celt, Darren O’Dea also had to head narrowly past his own post from Lustig’s inviting centre as the Hoops continued to look menacing. Moments later, however, the Dens Park outfit had their first attempt of the game as Nick Ross flashed a first-time volley on target, forcing Craig Gordon into a smart save, with Dedryck Boyata completing the clearance.

    Kane Hemmings and Tierney fired wide at either end without really threatening as the stalemate continued beyond the half-hour mark.

    Although Celtic were enjoying most of the ball, they were being frustrated in their attempts to find a way through the well-organised home defence and they were almost caught out at the other end in the 34th minute. Fastening onto a long ball, Rory Low unleashed a low volley on target but Gordon was equal to the task, holding onto the shot.

    Stung back into action, Ronny Deila’s side embarked on another spell of pressure. Bitton saw a shot deflected over the bar after being teed-up by Griffiths, and from the resultant corner, Erik Sviatchenko headed over at the far post.

    Gary Mackay-Steven blasted high and wide from the edge of the area, before Johansen was left holding his head after coming agonisingly close to the opener two minutes prior to the interval.

    Tierney cut the ball back from the byline and Johansen managed to dig out a shot, the ball deflecting onto the post off a Dundee defender, with Roberts unable to capitalise on the rebound.

    The Hoops had the first effort of the second period, with Griffiths seeing a header saved by Bain after Johansen has picked out the forward at the far post with a driven cross.

    Paul Hartley had reshuffled his pack at the break, introducing youngster Craig Wighton in place of Hemmings and the substitute was presented with a sight of goal within four minutes as he raced onto a pass inside the box, but Gordon came to the rescue with a brilliant block.

    Back came the Bhoys – Brown fired over, Griffiths saw a dipping free-kick pushed away by Bain and Roberts waltzed his way past several defenders until a last-ditch tackle from Paul McGowan prevented him from pulling the trigger.

    Dundee were having withstand intense pressure, with Griffiths having two shots blocked at the far post in quick succession, but then they came within inches of taking the lead when McGowan’s shot was well-saved by Gordon and Low struck the post from the loose ball.

    Lustig and Mulgrew, on as a substitute for the injured Erik Svitachekno, had headers cleared off the line just past the hour mark as Celtic’s frustration continued.

    Bitton, Griffiths and Mackay-Steven all tried their luck in the closing stages but it was not to be the Hoops’ night as Paul Hartley’s side survived a late onslaught to claim a share of the spoils.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig (Kazim-Richards 64), Sviatchenko (Mulgrew 60), Boyata, Tierney; Brown, Bitton; Roberts, Johansen, Mackay-Steven (Armstrong 88); Griffiths
    Not Used: Fasan; McGregor, Commons, Forrest

    DUNDEE (4-2-3-1) Bain; Konrad, Etxabeguren, O’Dea, Holt; Kerr, McGowan, Ross, Stewart; Hemmings (Wighton 46), Loy (Harkins 61)
    Not Used: Mitchell, Meggatt, Perez-Reverte, Curran, Harkins, Waddell

    Website Man of the Match: Patrick Roberts

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