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  • Dominant Celts dispatch Dundee to book Hampden date

    Dominant Celts dispatch Dundee to book Hampden date

    By: Tony Connelly on 20 Sep, 2017 21:49

  • League Cup quarter-final
    Dens Park, Dundee
    Wednesday, September 20, 2017


    (Sinclair 24, Forrest 42, 90+2, McGregor 87)

    CELTIC took a huge stride forward towards the defence of the League Cup after seeing off a dogged Dundee side 4-0 at Dens Park to progress to the semi-finals of the competition.

    The Hoops found the back of the net four times as Brendan Rodgers' side extended their domestic unbeaten run to 56 games with a convincing and dominant performance.

    Scott Sinclair put Celtic ahead midway through the first half with a coolly converted penalty, before James Forrest doubled the lead with an instinctive finish just before half-time.

    Substitute Callum McGregor then grabbed a third moments from the end before Forrest scored again as the clock ticked down.

    Brendan Rodgers made six changes to the side that beat Ross County 4-0 at Paradise on Saturday, with Dedryck Boyata coming in to make his first start of the season for Celtic.

    The Belgian internationalist had been absent since sustaining a knee injury in the pre-season friendly against Slavia Prague in early July, and he was stationed at the centre of a defensive back-three alongside Mikael Lustig and Nir Bitton.

    Kieran Tierney returned to the side after being rested at the weekend and took up a midfield position on the left, where he troubled the Dundee reaguard all night with his strength and pace down the flank.

    Patrick Roberts started in a more central midfield position with Forrest playing out wide on the right.

    Olivier Ntcham and Scott Sinclair also returned to the starting XI, which took to the field wearing black armbands in memory of former Celt, Paul Wilson, who passed away earlier in the week at the age of 66.

    Neil McCann’s side tried to contain Celtic during the first half but sustained wave after wave of attack from a composed and proficient Hoops team, who were able to exploit weaknesses both down the left and the centre of the Dundee defence.

    Ntcham almost put Celtic in front within the first few minutes after receiving the ball from Roberts on the edge of the box. With his back to goal the Frenchman spun round and fired off a low shot which flashed just wide of Bain’s left-hand post.

    Scott Brown had an outstanding game and he showed a great burst of pace in the 18th minute when A-Jay Leitch-Smith was through on goal and charging towards Craig Gordon’s box. The Celtic captain read the danger and was able to sprint back and make a crucial tackle before the Dundee forward pulled the trigger.

    Celtic got off the mark in the 24th minute thanks to a trademark Sinclair run. The forward’s explosive pace and nimble footwork saw him drive into the Dundee box, where he was brought down by Jack Hendry for a penalty. Sinclair then waited to see which direction Bain went before calmly placing the ball in the bottom right corner of the net.

    Ten minutes later and he almost helped Celtic double their lead. With space out on the left he skipped past a helpless Cammy Kerr and fired a dangerous low ball across the Dundee six-yard box - but there were no takers for the Bhoys. 

    Dundee were most troubled down the left flank all night with Sinclair and Tierney linking up well and feeding some threatening crosses into the box. Such was the case three-minutes from half time when Tierney read Forrest’s run into the box and picked out the winger with a flashing cross, which Forrest slid in to score his fourth league goal of the season.

    In the second half Dundee stepped up their attempts to stifle Celtic’s attack, while Leigh Griffiths intensified his attempts to get on the scoresheet. The Scotland internationalist came close two minutes after the break when a drop of the shoulder created just enough space for him to fire off a powerful shot which was deflected out for a corner.

    Boyata was replaced by 18-year-old Anthony Ralston after getting a valuable 67 minutes of action under his belt, which will go some way to helping the 26-year-old return to full match sharpness. Ralston slotted into right-back, with Lustig taking up the central position in defence.

    Five-minutes later McGregor came on for Roberts as Celtic went in search of a third and the substitute almost found the back of the net moments after coming on. Tierney and Sinclair continued to link-up well and the young full-back picked out McGregor on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked. Forrest then showed great control to collect the loose ball in the box but his half-volleyed attempt was saved by Bain.

    McGregor put the tie beyond any doubt in the 87th minute with a ruthless finish into the bottom corner. The substitute burst forward alongside Sinclair, who teed him up on the edge of the box with a great ball which McGregor then fired into the back of the net.

    Forrest then scored in added on time with a great shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner as the Hoops finished with a flourish. 

    Having booked a date at Hampden in October, Celtic will now turn their attentions back to the Scottish Premiership where they will travel to Ibrox on Saturday (September 23) to face third-placed Rangers.

    CELTIC (3-4-2-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata (Ralston 67), Bitton; Forrest, Brown, Ntcham, Tierney; Roberts (McGregor 72), Sinclair; Griffiths (Edouard 84)
    Not Used: De Vries, Armstrong, Hayes, Rogic,

    DUNDEE (4-5-1) Bain; Kerr, Holt, O’Dea, Hendry; Leitch-Smith, Kamara, O’Hara, Wolters (Deacon 63) Spence (McGowan 72), Bakhtaou
    Not Used: Parish, Williams, Aurtenetxe, Waddell, Henvey

    Website Man of the Match: James Forrest



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