Two sides with contrasting fortunes met at Dens Park on Halloween with Dundee frightened to play Betfred Cup finalists Celtic. Both sides’ last matches coming against league leaders Hearts, Dundee being dismantled 3-0 at home in a game where Celtic loanee Calvin Miller missed a penalty.
Celtic were able to dismantle Hearts themselves by the same scoreline in the capital at Murrayfield to book a place in the Betfred Cup final. This is a competition which they’ve won two years on the bounce.
Dundee have won once in their last 11 games (away at Hamilton prior to Neil McCann’s sacking) and Jim McIntyre made two changes following the home loss to the Jambos. Calvin Miller was obviously ineligible to play against his parent club. Therefore he was replaced by Genseric Kusunga in the Dee defence, Roarie Deacon replaced Elton Ngwatala in midfield.
Celtic made four changes after their win over the capital club in Edinburgh. Their former keeper Craig Gordon returned in place of Scott Bain, with Dedryck Boyata starting in defence ahead of Kristoffer Ajer. Goalscorers that day Scott Sinclair and Ryan Christie were both handed a start here by Brendan Rodgers.
Celts in the ascendency
Celtic had scored 13 goals in their previous three domestic games heading into this one. It appeared they had found their domestic stride right from the off. Mikael Lustig was found by Tom Rogic and sent an awkward cross to defend for Ryan Inniss. It came out to Ryan Christie, who blasted over following a Jack Hamilton fingertip save.
The Hoops made this game look like it was men against boys. Boyata found Forrest who slipped inside to McGregor, finding Tom Rogic on the edge of the box with a patient build up. Space opened up to allow him to shoot and bend beyond Hamilton into the top right-hand corner with a left footed strike. 1-0 Celtic after 20 minutes, with Rogic’s fourth goal in 16 appearances for the Celts this season.
The Australian could’ve turned from goalscorer to provider as he dispossessed former Rangers and Celtic man Kenny Miller. He then sent a lobbed through ball for Odsonne Edouard to chase. And, as he nicked it past Hamilton, he was dispossessed by former Celtic defender Darren O’Dea to keep the scoreline at 0-1 for the time being.
Big referereeing decisions
Celtic were adamant they should’ve had a penalty from a clear O’Dea handball after Lustig struck against his arm. From the resulting corner, Callum McGregor found Filip Benkovic. The Leicester loanee should’ve double the Glaswegian side’s lead from all of six yeards as he headed wide.
They should’ve doubled their lead there but it wasn’t to be long before that was the case. Mikael Lustig going down under the challenge of Ryan Inniss after receiving from Rogic, probably less of a penalty than the O’Dea handball if the truth be told.
Scott Sinclair, who scored against Hearts last time out from the spot, would do so again here as he sent Hamilton the wrong way, guiding into the bottom right hand corner and Celtic went two to the good. Three shy of 50 now for Sinclair, his 47th goal for Celtic in 124 appearances. An excellent return as he, and his side, looks to be coming back to his and their best.
It was to be three before the clock hit 40 minutes
The one way traffic just kept on coming. Callum McGregor with the key pass to free Kieran Tierney, getting forward on the left hand side. The full back’s cutback was met by James Forrest who opened up his body to slot past Hamilton into the right hand corner. The type of goal that Celtic can produce time and time again when in full flow against anybody.
Odsonne him scoring are pretty much inevitable
Celtic would make it four without reply before half time. Again it was McGregor and Forrest at the heart of it, Sinclair receiving from Forrest who found Tierney. A triangle of passes was completed as Forrest scampered away before crossing for Odsonne Edouard to stab home and get his name on the scoresheet. The young Frenchman’s ninth goal of the season, fifth in the league and Celtic’s fourth on the night.
As the second half began, within three minutes Celtic made it five. Ryan Christie grabbing his second goal in as many games, set through by Odsonne Edouard. The former Inverness playmaker keeping his composure to tuck home with a left footed finish into the bottom right hand corner in front of the travelling fans, 0-5 Celtic.
Celtic’s swagger well and truly back
Edouard was to be denied Celtic’s sixth following Hamilton’s save from a free kick. Kieran Tierney also shanked wide following Daniel Arzani’s cross. This was the first real sighting of the substitute in the green and white of Celtic.
This was Brendan Rodgers’ 100th competitive win in charge of Celtic. And, despite their invincible treble-winning season, it’s fair to say he won’t have had many easier. Dundee appear doomed if this game is anything to go, by having conceded 12 in their first three under Jim McIntyre. They have yet to score at the beginning of his reign too.
Dundee next play Motherwell away at Fir Park, a big game between two of the bottom four. Celtic also have an equally large fixture as second meets first, the Hoops hosting Hearts at Parkhead.