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  • Disappointment for Celts after defeat to Dundee United

    Disappointment for Celts after defeat to Dundee United

    By: Martin Dalziel on 21 Dec, 2014 14:42

  • SPFL Premiership

    Tannadice Stadium, Dundee

    Sunday, December 21, 2014

    CELTIC...1

    (Griffiths 87)

    DUNDEE UNITED...2

    (Ciftci 4, Armstrong 64)

    A LATE strike from Leigh Griffiths was not enough to stop Celtic falling to their first league defeat in nine games at Tannadice today (Sunday).

    The Bhoys had the lion’s share of possession and created a plethora of chances throughout the 90 minutes but lost 2-1 to Dundee United after goals in either half from Nadir Ciftci and Stuart Armstrong.

    Celtic started on the front foot with Scott Brown taking the ball for a run deep into United territory but he was cruelly hacked down by Ciftci after beating the striker for pace on the touchline and the United player went into the referee’s book inside the first minute.

    The Hoops swung a ball into the box from the free-kick but the cross was cleared and the home side broke up the park.

    Sean Dillon did well to find Stuart Armstrong on the right but his pass through to Ciftci was blocked by Efe Ambrose. The Hoops defender could only partially clear the danger, however, which Ciftci capitalised on before placing a right-footed shot past Craig Gordon.

    The early goal stunned Celtic but they quickly found their composure. Izaguirre and Stokes linked up well down the left with the Honduran doing well to carve out some early crosses, but there were no takers in the box.

    Stefan Johansen had a chance to level the scores when he played a great one-two with John Guidetti on the edge of the box but Cierzniak came out quickly to close the angle.

    The Hoops were enjoying the majority of possession but United were potent on the break and won a corner after Matthews blocked Armstrong’s cross from the left.

    Van Dijk cleared the danger and set Celtic on the counter-attack. Stokes and Izaguirre linked up well on the left again but there was no one in the box to get on the end of the left-back’s cross again. Stokes then had a pop from distance after cutting in from the left but his shot went over.

    The Hoops then had strong claims for a penalty waved away when Guidetti was hustled to the ground in the box before the ball broke to Johansen, who shot off the post and was flagged offside.

    Guidetti then had another penalty claim denied on the left hand side of the box when he was tackled by Sean Dillon but the referee blew for a goal kick again.

    The Celts were in control of the game and almost levelled matters before half-time when Bitton headed towards goal from a Johansen corner but Cierzniak saved. The ball came back out to van Dijk who saw his header cleared off the line before the ball hit the bar and out to safety for United.

    Celtic continued to press and were in possession near the edge of United’s box but the referee stopped play with Dillon down in the box injured before signalling for half-time.

    As the game got underway again Celtic remained in control. Brown and Bitton dictated the tempo in midfield and both Forrest and Izaguirre supplied early crosses with overlapping runs.

    The Celts could have gone two down, however, when Ciftci stole the ball from Ambrose in a carbon copy of the first goal but his shot was saved by Gordon.

    United then had a nervy moment at the other end when Dillon deflected Stokes’ cross with his header and sent the ball off the bar, which then fell to Forrest at the back post but his shot hit the side netting.

    The home side were camping in well to soak up the Celtic pressure but, like the first half, were dangerous on the break.

    Izaguirre was forced to make a saving challenge on Blair Spittal when he collected a through ball into the box before Ronny Deila made a double switch, replacing Guidetti and Stokes with Stefan Scepovic and Kris Commons.

    The latter got involved in the play straight away after taking a series of corners from the left but the Hoops couldn’t carve out a chance.

    They were then made to pay when United made it 2-0 moments later. The hosts won a corner and the ball made its way to Ciftci at the back post. The striker worked his way inside past Izaguirre before chipping the ball to the back post where Armstrong was free to head home past Gordon.

    United retreated in the wake of the goal, inviting Celtic pressure but the Hoops still struggled to carve out goal-scoring chances, despite Commons and Forrest doing well to supply crosses into the box.

    The Hoops went close when Izaguirre found spaced on the left and curled in a great cross to the box but the ball was nicked away from Forrest at the back post.

    Celtic made their final change when Leigh Griffiths replaced Bitton and before Celtic looked to have pulled a goal back when Scepovic finished Izaguirre’s cross but the goal was harshly flagged offside.

    United went close to making it three when Izaguirre was forced to clear off the line from an Erskine header after an Armstrong corner but it was Celtic who scored next.

    A long ball was played up to Scepovic beyond the midfield and he cushioned a pass to Griffiths who collected well and finished low past Cierzniak. .

    Griffiths then almost won a share of the points for the Hoops when he struck the post after great play on the edge of the box but it was not to be and the referee blew the whistle for full time, condemning Celtic to defeat.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Matthews, Ambrose, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Bitton (Griffiths 79), Brown; Forrest, Johansen, Stokes (Commons 59); Guidetti (Scepovic 59).

    Subs: Zaluska, Wakaso, Fisher, Henderson.

    DUNDEE UNITED: Cierzniak; Dillon, Townsend, Morris, Fojut; Spittal, Armstrong, Rankin, Butcher; Erskine, Ciftci.

    Subs: Szromnik, Dow, Telfer, Wilson, Spark, Adeyemo, Coote.

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