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  • Hoops held by Dundee as Gordon reaches personal milestone

    Hoops held by Dundee as Gordon reaches personal milestone

    By: Mark Henderson on 04 Apr, 2018 21:42

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Wednesday, April 4, 2018

    CELTIC...0

    DUNDEE...0

    CELTIC were held to a goal-less draw by Dundee on a frustrating evening in Paradise, though they still increased their lead at the league summit over second-placed Aberdeen to 10 points.

    The Hoops controlled possession and had a number of attempts on goal, but they couldn’t fashion the winner their dominance deserved and had to settle for a share of the spoils.

    On an otherwise disappointing night, there was a milestone moment to savour for Craig Gordon, who made his 200th appearance for the club after completing his comeback from a knee injury, which had sidelined him since the end of January. By shutting out the Dens Park side, he also reached a century of clean sheets in the Hoops.   

    The Scotland internationalist had replaced Scott Bain between the sticks, with the on-loan 26-year-old ineligible to play against his parent club. There was one other change to the team that cruised past Ross County at the weekend as Jack Hendry started against his former employers in central defence at the expense of Kristoffer Ajer.

    It was all Celtic in the opening exchanges, the hosts zipping the ball around the pitch with pace and purpose. In the third minute, they carved out their first chance. Moussa Dembele met James Forrest’s return pass with a first-time shot which drew a smart save from Elliot Parish.   

    Such was the home side’s superiority, Gordon didn’t touch the ball until the 11th minute when he tipped over Simon Murray’s shot from the edge of the box, a reminder of the goalkeeper’s shot-stopping skills.  

    Normal service soon resumed, however, as Tom Rogic had a shot charged down and Armstrong fired over from distance after prolonged periods of possession.

    With the visitors defending in depth and in great numbers, Celtic’s next opportunity came on the counter after some fantastic work from Forrest.

    Showing great turn of foot and skill, the winger danced past one defender, drove into the box and saw his powerful effort pushed around the post by Parish. From the resultant corner, Scott Sinclair headed over after Dedryck Boyata had flicked the ball on.  

    Brendan Rodgers’ side were having to be patient in their quest to unlock the defensive Dens Park side. A slick passing move did give Forrest a sight of goal five minutes before the interval but he was unable to keep his shot down.

    And they could have found themselves trailing at half-time. From an aimless ball over the top, Roarie Deacon managed to get in behind the Hoops defence. Boyata’s last-ditch tackle denied Dundee forward but sent the ball on to the inside of the post and then along the line, where it was grabbed by a grateful Gordon.

    Stung into action by that close escape, the Celts upped the tempo as they remerged for the second period, and Sinclair almost found a way through after a marauding run into the box from the left, only to find himself crowded out when he attempted to pull the trigger.

    Undeterred, the Bhoys continued to probe for the breakthrough, with Forrest, Armstrong and Dembele all having efforts. Rogic then picked out Sinclair in the box but the winger couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and generate sufficient power to trouble Parish.

    As the midway point of the half approached, Brendan Rodgers introduced all three substitutes – Olivier Ntcham, Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard – in attempt to provide fresh impetus and creative spark.

    Edouard was the first of the subs to try his luck, firing straight at Parish from an acute angle, with McGregor well placed. As the champions piled on the pressure, Edouard had a shot deflected wide following a corner and Ntcham brought out a comfortable save from Parish from the edge of the area.

    In the closing stages, Hendry almost grabbed the winner against his former club, heading inches wide from Armstrong’s free-kick, while Griffiths blasted narrowly over as the contest ended in stalemate.

    CELTIC (4-1-2-3) Gordon; Lustig, Hendry, Boyata, McGregor; Brown; Rogic (Ntcham 66), Armstrong; Forrest, Dembele (Griffiths 66), Sinclair (Edouard 66)
    Not Used: De Vries, Roberts, Ajer, Musonda

    DUNDEE (5-3-1-1) Parish; O’Hara, Caulker, Kasunga, Meekings, Holt; Kamara, McGowan (Wighton 87), Spence; Deacon (Moussa 66); Murray (Leitch-Smith 77)
    Not Used: Ferrie, Kerr, Aurtenetxe, Wolters

    Website Man of the Match: Callum McGregor

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