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  • Celtic on the edge of title triumph after victory over Dundee

    Celtic on the edge of title triumph after victory over Dundee

    By: Jo Hendry on 19 Mar, 2017 14:45

  • SPFL Premiership
    Sunday, March 19, 2017

    (El Bakhtaoui 75)

    (Simunovic 45, Armstrong 51)

    Celtic are on the verge of a sixth successive league title following a 2-1 win against Dundee at Dens Park this afternoon. Jozo Simunovic put the Hoops ahead just before half-time with his first goal of the season while Stuart Armstrong doubled Celtic’s lead six minutes after half-time.

    Dundee substitute Faissal El Bakhtaoui reduced the deficit with 15 minutes of the match remaining with a wonder strike, but Brendan Rodgers’ side showed great determination to see out the match and take all three points. It now means that victory at Tynecastle against Hearts in two week’s time will confirm Celtic as champions again.

    It’s now 36 domestic games unbeaten for the Hoops who had two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Rangers last weekend. Jozo Simunovic came into Celtic’s starting XI in place of Erik Sviatchenko whilst Nir Bitton dropped the bench to make way for Callum McGregor who made his 100th appearance for the Hoops.

    And it was the league leaders who got the game underway in the Dundee sunshine following a minute’s silence impeccably observed for Lisbon Lion and former Dundee player and manager Tommy Gemmell, who sadly passed away recently.

    Century Bhoy McGregor and James Forrest put the home team on the back foot inside the first minute with some great play on the right side, McGregor delivered the ball into the 18-yard box but Scott Sinclair couldn’t get the ball under control.

    Celtic enjoyed the majority of possession inside the opening 10 minutes of the game as they searched for a third victory over the Dens Park side this season, and Stuart Armstrong came close with a free-kick after 12 minutes following a foul on Scott Sinclair. Moussa Dembele went even closer minutes later, heading just wide from an Armstrong corner.

    After comfortably controlling most of the opening 30 minutes, Sinclair was through on goal again just before the half-hour mark but Bain rushed out to smother any chance the Englishman had of adding to his goal tally.

    Dundee had the chance to take the lead in the 33rd minute with a corner swung in from the right side by Tom Hateley which was turned round the back post for another corner. Hately again put the ball in from the left this time but the threat was cleared from inside the six-yard box by Mikael Lustig.

    Celtic were relentless as half-time approached with a flurry of corners, and Dedryck Boyata came closest when his header was cleared off the line by Paul McGowan. But the goal came with the last kick of the first-half.

    The ball found its way to Simunovic who slotted into the bottom corner of the net to send Brendan Rodgers’ men into the half-time break 1-0 up.

    It was Dundee with the first chance of the second half when Simunovic fouled Kevin Gomis just outside the box on 46 minutes. The free-kick was taken low and hard by Holt but was straight into the arms of Celtic keeper Craig Gordon.

    And in the 51st minute Armstrong doubled Celtic’s lead to 2-0 after he headed home a superb ball into the box from Forrest on the right side. It was the perfect reward for some brilliant build-up play which saw the move started by Craig Gordon before Lustig, Dembele, McGregor and Forrest all got a touch before Armstrong headed home.

    Marcus Haber came close in the 60th minute for Dundee, his shot flashed wide of Gordon’s post, but the home side did manage to reduce the deficit when El Bakhtaoui, on as a substitute, skipped past Boyata and unleashed a powerful shot that Craig Gordon could do nothing about.

    Dembele had a chance to make it three for the Hoops a couple of minutes later but the low drive was straight at keeper Bain and as the game entered the closing stages both teams fought hard to find another goal.

    However, Brendan Rodgers’ side held firm to take all three points and move within one win of becoming champions.

    CELTIC (4-3-3): Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Simunovic, Tierney; Brown, McGregor (Kouassi, 68), Armstrong; Forrest (Roberts, 70), Sinclair (Sviatchenko, 83), Dembele.
    Subs: Bailly, Sviatchenko, Griffiths, Gamboa, Roberts, Bitton, Kouassi.

    DUNDEE: Bain; Holt, Vincent, O’Dea, Hateley, O’Hara, McGowan, Haber, Ojamaa, Kerr, Gomis
    Subs: Mitchell, Williams, Ross, El Bakhtaoui, Klok, Gadzhalov, Wighton

    Website Man of the Match: Stuart Armstrong


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