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  • Six of the best for brilliant Bhoys

    Six of the best for brilliant Bhoys

    By: Mark Henderson on 16 Aug, 2014 14:50

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    (Denayer 4, Commons 28, Johansen 34, Stokes 54, Berget 62, 90 +1)

    (Rankin 71)

    CELTIC celebrated Flag Day in spectacular style as they ran riot against Dundee United, demolishing their shell-shocked opponents 6-1 to give Ronny Deila a performance to savour in his first game in charge at Paradise.  

    New Bhoy Jo Inge Berget bagged a brace for the Bhoys but before that fellow newcomer Jason Denayer, Kris Commons, Stefan Johansen and Anthony Stokes had put the champions in charge  

    John Rankin struck the consolation for the beleaguered visitors, who had come into this match on the back of two wins from their opening two games.

    Denayer made his Celtic bow following his season-long loan move from Manchester City on Monday. The Belgian stopper came in for Mikael Lustig in central defence as Ronny Deila made three changes from the team that put St Johnstone to the sword three days ago.

    Charlie Mulgrew returned from suspension to anchor the midfield, while Berget took up a left-wing berth. Nir Bitton and James Forrest dropped to the bench.

    And there was one further enforced alteration just before the game got underway. An injury to Adam Matthews in the warm-up saw the Welshman replaced by Efe Ambrose.

    Prior to kick off, Celtic’s 45th league championship flag was raised in Paradise by Fergus McCann to huge cheers, with ‘The Bunnet’ receiving a rousing reception from all corners of the ground on his return to Glasgow.

    And the crowd were soon on their feet as Callum McGregor struck the post inside the opening 60 seconds as the champions roared from the blocks.  

    Moments later, Anthony Stokes then dragged as shot wide, before Gary Mackay-Steven stole in at the other end but failed to find the target with only Craig Gordon to beat.

    It had been a breathless start to proceedings and with only four minutes on the clock, the Hoops made the breakthrough through one of their new Bhoys.

    McGregor earned a corner on the right and the visitors failed to deal with Commons’ delivery. Callum Morris’ header ricocheted into the path of Jason Denayer, who gratefully accepted the chance, emphatically thumping home from seven yards.   

    Craig Gordon had to react quickly to clear from Nadir Ciftci but the hosts quickly resumed the offensive as Stokes flashed a shot over. The Irishman then turned provider, his inviting, low cross coming within inches of the onrushing Berget at the far post.

    Celtic were dictating possession and unleashing wave after wave of attacks, but the Terrors continued to pose a threat on the break, particularly through the pace of Mackay-Steven, and Virgil van Dijk had to make a timely block to thwart the winger as he rounded Gordon.

    But the pressure was soon being exerted back on the Tannadice side’s backline as a clever touch from Stokes set up Commons, whose effort whizzed over the bar.

    A hanging cross from Izaguirre in the 24th minute was only partially cleared by Cierzniak and Stokes came close to capitalising with a first-time shot.

    Struggling to stem the tide, United’s resistance was soon broken again as the Hoops doubled their tally. Berget won a corner on the left and Commons glanced a header in at the near post from Stokes’ set-piece.

    Celtic’s energy and high-tempo was proving too much for Jackie McNamara’s men and a wonderful piece of pressing from Johansen delivered number three. Robbing Paul Paton of possession, he advanced on goal before burying a drive under Cierzniak.

    Brimming with confidence, the Hoops were playing some superb stuff, moving the ball around with pace and purpose as Stokes and Commons threatened with further efforts, before Berget nearly broke the crossbar with a ferocious shot on the stroke of half-time.

    If the interval brought some respite for the visitors it didn’t last long as Celtic continued where they had left off following the restart.

    Stokes quickly forced Cierzniak into action from an acute angle and Jaroslaw Fojut saw yellow for halting Commons in full flight.

    Gordon did have to make a superb stop to push Ciftci’s shot beyond the post, but his opposite number was by far the busier of the two. And just minutes after palming a shot away from Commons, Cierzniak found himself picking the ball out of the net again.

    After Izaguirre had been felled on the left, Stokes swung in the free-kick which ended up in the back of the net. Mulgrew claimed it had taken the slightest of touches off him, although replays suggested that it was the Irishman's goal.

    Celtic were cutting open the visitors’ defence at will now, with only the heroics of Cierzniak keeping the champions at bay as shots reined in on his goal from all angles, with one reaction save from Stokes particularly notable.

    But before the midway point of the half, the Bhoys bagged their fifth of  a fantastic afternoon. Stokes corner was knocked back across goal by Ambrose and Berget applied the finish from close-range.

    As the game entered its latter stages, and both sides made several changes, the pace naturally dropped but Celtic still fashioned chances, with Commons and substitute Leigh Griffiths trying their luck.

    And although John Rankin pulled one back for United with a deflected drive, Ronny Deila’s men finished with a flourish as Berget bagged his second at the death to cap off a dream start for the manager at Celtic Park.  

     CELTIC (4-4-1-1) Gordon; Ambrose, van Dijk, Denayer, Izaguirre; McGregor (Forrest 69) Johansen (Kayal 46), Mulgrew, Berget; Commons; Stokes (Griffiths 69)
    Not Used: Zaluska, Bitton, Boerrigter

    DUNDEE UNITED (4-3-3) Cierzniak; Watson, Fojut, Morris, Townsend; Paton, Armstrong (Bilate 40) Rankin; Dow (Erskine 57) Ciftci, Mackay-Steven (Spittal 75)
    Not Used: McCallum, Graham, Erskine, Telfer, Smith, Spittal

    Website Man of the Match: Jason Denayer

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