Sunday, 13 February 2011

Match Report: Dundee Utd 1 Celtic 3

Another game, another happy Sunday lunch for Neil Lennon as Celtic came through a tricky test at Tannadice to win 3-1.

Anthony Stokes, Mark Wilson and Daniel Majstorovic got the goals for the visitors. David Goodwillie with United’s response.

Lennon made one change from the side that had impressed last weekend in the 2-2 draw at Ibrox. The formidable partnership of Stokes and Gary Hooper restored after the Irishman had missed out last time out; Ki Sung-Yeung made way.

The most striking feature of Lennon’s line-up was the positioning of Hooper. The Englishman playing much deeper than Stokes in a 4-4-1-1 formation and constantly linking the play to good effect.

But it was his strike partner who got the opening goal on 16 minutes. After collecting a loose ball in midfield Stokes surged in the box and saw his shot across goal deflect in off Gary Kenneth.

Deflections were to play a big part in the result and came to Celtic’s aid again for the second goal. More good work from Hooper and Scott Brown in the build-up found Wilson free in the area to fire in his second goal in three games. The final touch this time coming off United’s other centre-back, Shaun Dillon.

The visitors could have extended their lead before half-time. After another wicked delivery in from Hooper, Stokes appeared to be felled before Dusan Pernis parried Joe Ledley’s effort and Stokes’s second attempt was deflected wide.

After the break the home side fought back with Celtic unable to retain possession in the same manner they had in the first period on a deteriorating pitch.

And on 64 minutes they were back in the game. Wilson was lucky not to see a second yellow card for a foul on Craig Conway. But from the resulting free-kick a deflection off Emilio Izaguirre forced Forster into a fine reaction save before Goodwillie fired in the rebound. It was the first time the Rangers target had scored at home since 12th January.

And he nearly had an equaliser minutes later when his powerful low shot was wonderfully saved by Forster. Ki at fault for losing the ball cheaply in midfield.

Hooper nearly restored the two goal advantage when his scuffed shot struck the base of the post before Lennon’s nerves were calmed by the arrival of a third goal.

Charlie Mulgrew’s free-kick bulleted home by Majstorovic’s header.

Celtic should have added to their lead in the final minutes. Firstly, Hooper fell over his own feet with the goal at his mercy and then was unlucky to have a goal disallowed after slick build-up play from substitutes Freddie Ljungberg and Georgios Samaras.

All in all, a satisfactory afternoon for Lennon as his side extended their lead over Rangers to five points with the two to meet next Sunday at Celtic Park.

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