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  • Celtic cruise into Scottish Cup last eight

    Celtic cruise into Scottish Cup last eight

    By: Mark Henderson on 07 Feb, 2015 14:26

  • Scottish Cup fifth round
    Dens Park, Dundee
    Saturday, February 7, 2015

    DUNDEE...0

    CELTIC...2
    (Griffiths 6, Johansen 47)

    CELTIC cruised into the Scottish Cup last eight and kept their treble dreams alive after a dominant 2-0 victory over Dundee at Dens Park.

    Leigh Griffiths handed the Hoops the perfect start when he glanced home from Mikael Lustig’s cross as the visitors burst out of the blocks.

    The champions should have added to their tally before the break as they cut open the hosts time and time again.

    But Stefan Johansen sealed a one-sided win within moments of the restart, converting the rebound after Griffiths' header had been saved by Scott Bain.  

    And now Ronny Deila’s men can look forward to Monday’s draw for the quarter-finals as they close in on another domestic prize.

    James Forrest returned to the starting XI at the expense of Anthony Stokes as Ronny Deila made one change to the team that triumphed at Hampden last week in the League Cup semi-final.

    And the winger was soon in thick of the action, latching on to a pinpoint pass from Kris Commons inside the opening two minutes that took him inside the box.

    However, with his progress blocked, he teed-up up Commons on the edge of the box. His first attempt rebounded back into his path and then he volleyed over.  

    It had been a confident start from the champions and they duly broke the deadlock in the sixth minute.

    After another slick attacking move, Mikael Lustig scampered down the right and delivered an inviting cross towards the near post. Griffiths was there to meet it and guide a header into the far corner.

    Moving the ball around with pace and purpose, Celtic were looking a threat every time they ventured forward, and only a last-ditch challenge from James McPake denied Johansen after Commons had picked him out with a raking pass.

    The chances kept coming as the Hoops’ pressing and passing continued to dazzle Dundee, with Commons, Scott Brown and Forrest all trying their luck.

    And the scale of Celtic’s self-belief was underlined when defender Jason Denayer burst forward and took aim from 30 yards.

    Home shot-stopper Bain wasn’t troubled by the Belgian’s speculative shot but he was called into action midway through the half as the Hoops cut the hosts open once again.    

    Forrest stole possession on the halfway line and fed Johansen, before racing on to the return ball from the Norwegian. His angled drive was saved by Bain, with Griffiths and Johansen denied on the rebound by some desperate defending.

    It has been one-way traffic in the opening stages but the Dens Park side finally mustered a reply as Kostadin Gadzhalov volleyed wide from the edge of the box.

    Celtic responded with the move of the match, involving some delightful interplay between Commons and Johansen down the right. Griffiths came close to applying the finish touch but Bain thwarted him from close-range.  

    After a piece of pinball in the box, former Celt Gary Irvine blasted over, before Commons spurned an opportunity to double the lead, dragging a shot wide after a delightful dummy from Griffiths had opened up the space.

    The 31-year-old had another sight of goal six minutes before the break after tenacious play from Griffiths sparked a quick breakaway. Electing to shoot first time in the box, however, Commons failed to make a clean connection and Bain was able to make a comfortable save.

    The Dundee shot-stopper then denied Johansen after he had shrugged off the attentions of McPake and burst into the box.

    A deflected drive from Paul McGowan forced Craig Gordon into service but the final effort of the half fell to the visitors as Griffiths volleyed over.

    Ronny Deila’s men really should have been further ahead at this juncture, given their complete dominance of proceedings. But it only took 70 seconds of the second half for them to move further ahead.

    Lustig’s deep cross was met by Griffiths at the far post and, although Bain managed to get a hand to his header, Johansen was on hand to hammer home the loose ball.  

    Celtic certainly weren’t satisfied by their advantage as they went in search for more. Forrest found Johansen after an incisive run and he then supplied Griffiths, who couldn’t find the target from an acute angle.

    Even the loss of the impressive Lustig with a worrying injury didn’t diminish Celtic’s momentum as the home side struggled to maintain the tide of constant attacks.

    Luka Tankulic did draw a save from Gordon but only the width of crossbar saved Hartley’s from falling further behind when Johansen’s swerving cross caught out Bain.

    As the game entered the last 15 minutes, Stokes, on as half-time substitute for Commons, controlled a long pass, swivelled and shot narrowly over.

    Griffiths flashed a shot wide and Izaguirre scooped over as the Hoops coasted through the closing stages to take their place in Monday’s draw for the quarter-finals, much to the delight of a jubilant travelling support.  

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig (Matthews 53), Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton; Commons (Stokes 46), Johansen, Forrest (Guidetti 74); Griffiths.
    Not Used: Zaluska, Ambrose, McGregor, Henderson

    DUNDEE (4-2-3-1) Bain; Irvine, McPake, Gadzhalov, Dyer; Stewart, (P.McGinn 36), McGinn, McGowan, Stewart, Wighton (Clarkson 58); Tankulic (Black 89)
    Not Used: Lethern, Konrad, Black, Allan, McBride

    Website Man of the Match: Leigh Griffiths

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