Gary Hooper was the hero again as Celtic moved 12 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a comfortable victory over Dundee United.

Hooper put his side in front, finishing a superb counter-attack in a hectic opening period.

Victor Wanyama made it two with a close-range header and Hooper killed United off with a deft flick past Radoslaw Cierzniak.

Substitute Scott Brown rounded off the scoring with a left-foot curler.

Other than an utterly breathless opening 10 minutes in which both sides created a number of clear-cut chances, United rarely threatened to take anything from the game.

Celtic barely moved out of cruise control despite notching four goals for the second time in four days, with Hooper grabbing a double again and showing just why Neil Lennon is so keen to keep hold of him.

Prior to him getting off the mark though, Georgios Samaras should have hit the target with a header before United's Gary Mackay-Steven slipped a shot past Lukasz Zaluska but also past his right-hand post.

Hooper put a couple of efforts off-target, with Willo Flood flashing a shot wide at the other end and Zaluska got lucky when his attempted clearance cannoned off Jon Daly's back before bouncing precariously close to goal.

So when the deadlock was broken after 18 minutes, the only surprise was that it had taken that long.

Victor Wanyama

Victor Wanyama heads the second goal past Dundee United keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak

When it came, it was a thing of beauty. A United corner kick was knocked out of the Celtic box allowing Lassad Nouioui to break at pace over the halfway line.

With only two defenders back, his superb ball into the path of Samaras was matched by the Greek's first-time pass to the unmarked Hooper, who slotted under the diving Cierzniak.

The game hit something of a lull after the goal, but Celtic Park came to life again in the 34th minute.

Gavin Gunning did well to block Lassad's shot away for a corner, but when it was laid back to Mikael Lustig, the Swede swung the ball to the back post where Wanyama headed across Cierzniak and into the far corner of the net.

Wanyama almost had a second just before half-time when he headed a Mulgrew corner off the frame of the goal, with United only just scrambling the rebound away as Celtic exerted their authority on the match.

United clearly needed the next goal if they were to make a game of it, and they almost had it on the hour-mark.

Barry Douglas swung a corner outwards from the left and Daly met it powerfully, only to see his headed effort swept off the line.

Cierzniak saved from Samaras as the game began to become stretched but United looked incapable of stepping up their efforts and they were killed off altogether when Hooper scored his second - a lovely near-post flick from Samaras's low cross.

Celtic carved out a fourth through their captain, who picked the ball up from Hooper, turned the ball onto his left foot and curled a shot high past Cierzniak.

The scoreline was not a flattering one as Celtic again highlighted the disparity between themselves and the competition.

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (5)

Celtic

  • 24 Zaluska
  • 03 Izaguirre
  • 21 Mulgrew
  • 23 Lustig (Matthews - 73' )
  • 25 Rogne
  • 16 Ledley
  • 33 Kayal (Brown - 61' )
  • 67 Wanyama
  • 09 Samaras
  • 11 Nouioui (Stokes - 82' )
  • 88 Hooper

Substitutes

  • 35 Thomson
  • 02 Matthews
  • 05 Gershon
  • 08 Brown
  • 46 McGeouch
  • 10 Stokes
  • 32 Watt

Dundee Utd

  • 01 Cierzniak
  • 02 Dillon
  • 03 Douglas
  • 05 Gunning
  • 12 Watson
  • 06 Flood Booked
  • 08 Rankin
  • 11 Mackay-Steven (Skacel - 71' )
  • 14 Millar Booked (Armstrong - 51' )
  • 07 Russell
  • 09 Daly

Substitutes

  • 13 Banks
  • 04 McLean
  • 10 Ryan
  • 16 Armstrong
  • 51 Skacel
  • 15 Gardyne
  • 18 Dow
Ref: Norris
Att: 42,596

Match Stats

Shots

22 6

On target

10 1

Corners

11 3

Fouls

15 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:01 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +0:47

Effort from inside the area by Anthony Stokes misses to the left of the target.

90:00 +0:01

The referee blows for offside against Jon Daly. Indirect free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.

89:08

Gary Hooper challenges Sean Dillon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Gavin Gunning takes the free kick.

88:39

Unfair challenge on Sean Dillon by Georgios Samaras results in a free kick. Radoslaw Cierzniak takes the direct free kick.

87:26

Rudi Skacel has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

85:28

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Charlie Mulgrew, Jon Daly makes a clearance.

83:52

Gary Hooper provided the assist for the goal.

83:52 Goal scored

Goal! - Scott Brown - Celtic 4 - 0 Dundee U Goal scored by Scott Brown from deep inside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Celtic 4-0 Dundee Utd.

81:26 Substitution

Substitution Lassad Nouioui leaves the field to be replaced by Anthony Stokes.

79:43

Assist on the goal came from Georgios Samaras.

79:43 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Celtic 3 - 0 Dundee U Gary Hooper scores a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Celtic 3-0 Dundee Utd.

78:50

Corner taken by Willo Flood, Charlie Mulgrew makes a clearance.

78:11

Stuart Armstrong takes a shot.

77:43

The ball is sent over by Barry Douglas, clearance by Charlie Mulgrew.

77:06

The ball is swung over by Gary Hooper.

76:00

The ball is crossed by Georgios Samaras, Barry Douglas makes a clearance. Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Charlie Mulgrew, Johnny Russell manages to make a clearance.

74:31

Barry Douglas challenges Georgios Samaras unfairly and gives away a free kick. Adam Matthews takes the free kick.

73:31

Free kick awarded for a foul by Scott Brown on Rudi Skacel. Free kick taken by Willo Flood.

72:53 Substitution

Substitution (Celtic) makes a substitution, with Adam Matthews coming on for Mikael Lustig.

71:58

Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Charlie Mulgrew.

70:34 Substitution

Substitution Rudi Skacel on for Gary Mackay-Steven.

70:19

Mikael Lustig produces a cross.

69:25

Georgios Samaras takes a shot. Keith Watson gets a block in. Corner taken left-footed by Charlie Mulgrew.

68:35

Emilio Izaguirre delivers the ball, Georgios Samaras has an effort at goal. Radoslaw Cierzniak makes a comfortable save.

65:39

Gary Hooper takes a shot. Barry Douglas gets a block in.

64:13

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Mikael Lustig, Gavin Gunning manages to make a clearance.

63:35

Inswinging corner taken by Charlie Mulgrew from the right by-line, save by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

63:09

Emilio Izaguirre sends in a cross, save by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

62:46

Thomas Rogne challenges Johnny Russell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Willo Flood takes the free kick.

61:57

Free kick awarded for a foul by Victor Wanyama on Gary Mackay-Steven. Free kick taken by Barry Douglas.

60:18 Substitution

Substitution Scott Brown joins the action as a substitute, replacing Beram Kayal.

59:59

Jon Daly takes a shot. Thomas Rogne makes a clearance.

59:40

Barry Douglas takes a outswinging corner to the near post.

59:28

Mikael Lustig challenges Gary Mackay-Steven unfairly and gives away a free kick. Barry Douglas restarts play with the free kick.

58:50

Centre by Emilio Izaguirre, comfortable save by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

57:05

Keith Watson fouled by Joe Ledley, the ref awards a free kick. Barry Douglas takes the free kick.

54:36

Free kick taken by Charlie Mulgrew.

54:36 Booking

Booking Willo Flood receives a caution.

54:29

Emilio Izaguirre fouled by Willo Flood, the ref awards a free kick.

52:38

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joe Ledley by Sean Dillon. Mikael Lustig takes the direct free kick.

52:12

Gary Mackay-Steven concedes a free kick for a foul on Mikael Lustig. Direct free kick taken by Mikael Lustig.

50:20

Barry Douglas restarts play with the free kick.

50:20 Substitution

Substitution Mark Millar leaves the field to be replaced by Stuart Armstrong.

50:20

Unfair challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven by Mikael Lustig results in a free kick.

48:33

Lassad Nouioui has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

46:09

A cross is delivered by Georgios Samaras, clearance by Barry Douglas.

45:01

The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.

45:00 +1:08 Half time

Half Time The match has reached half-time.

45:00 +0:16

Barry Douglas fouled by Beram Kayal, the ref awards a free kick. Barry Douglas restarts play with the free kick.

43:46

Effort from inside the area by Georgios Samaras misses to the left of the goal.

42:36

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Charlie Mulgrew, Victor Wanyama takes a shot. Lassad Nouioui takes a shot. Keith Watson gets a block in. Corner taken short by Charlie Mulgrew.

39:48

Beram Kayal takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.

39:24

Thomas Rogne fouled by Johnny Russell, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Thomas Rogne.

38:33

Beram Kayal produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.

37:27

Effort on goal by Barry Douglas from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.

36:22

Foul by Victor Wanyama on Gary Mackay-Steven, free kick awarded. Gavin Gunning takes the direct free kick.

35:22

Shot by Victor Wanyama from outside the box goes over the target.

34:27

Johnny Russell crosses the ball, clearance by Charlie Mulgrew.

32:44

The assist for the goal came from Mikael Lustig.

32:44 Goal scored

Goal! - Victor Wanyama - Celtic 2 - 0 Dundee U Victor Wanyama grabs a headed goal from close range. Celtic 2-0 Dundee Utd.

31:58

Corner taken short by Charlie Mulgrew.

31:25

Lassad Nouioui concedes a free kick for a foul on John Rankin. Gavin Gunning takes the direct free kick.

31:00

Lassad Nouioui is ruled offside. Sean Dillon restarts play with the free kick.

29:41

Mikael Lustig takes the free kick.

29:41 Booking

Booking Booking for Mark Millar.

29:35

Free kick awarded for a foul by Mark Millar on Joe Ledley.

28:40

Centre by Emilio Izaguirre, Gavin Gunning makes a clearance.

27:57

Unfair challenge on Johnny Russell by Charlie Mulgrew results in a free kick. Sean Dillon takes the direct free kick.

27:50

Emilio Izaguirre produces a cross, Gavin Gunning makes a clearance.

25:29

Free kick awarded for a foul by Georgios Samaras on Barry Douglas. Radoslaw Cierzniak takes the free kick.

25:07

Emilio Izaguirre delivers the ball, Mark Millar makes a clearance.

23:04

Centre by Barry Douglas, clearance made by Emilio Izaguirre.

22:19

Victor Wanyama takes a shot from 20 yards. Save by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

21:43

Foul by Gary Hooper on Mark Millar, free kick awarded. Sean Dillon takes the direct free kick.

20:00

Unfair challenge on Gary Hooper by Mark Millar results in a free kick. Thomas Rogne takes the free kick.

18:26

Assist by Georgios Samaras.

18:26 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Celtic 1 - 0 Dundee U Gary Hooper gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Celtic 1-0 Dundee Utd.

17:49

Corner taken by Barry Douglas from the left by-line, Charlie Mulgrew makes a clearance.

13:28

Emilio Izaguirre produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.

12:48

Charlie Mulgrew takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by John Rankin.

12:17

The ball is delivered by Barry Douglas, Thomas Rogne manages to make a clearance.

11:09

Georgios Samaras handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Radoslaw Cierzniak takes the direct free kick.

10:34

Corner taken left-footed by Charlie Mulgrew from the right by-line, save by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

10:24

Georgios Samaras takes a shot. Blocked by Barry Douglas.

10:05

Beram Kayal produces a cross, Radoslaw Cierzniak makes a comfortable save.

9:05

Gary Hooper has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.

8:56

The ball is delivered by Emilio Izaguirre, clearance made by Keith Watson.

8:09

The assistant referee signals for offside against Georgios Samaras. Free kick taken by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

6:08

Mark Millar fouled by Georgios Samaras, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gavin Gunning.

5:40

Willo Flood has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

4:46

Close range effort by Gary Hooper misses to the left of the target.

3:32

Gary Mackay-Steven produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

1:49

Emilio Izaguirre fouled by Jon Daly, the ref awards a free kick. The ball is sent over by Charlie Mulgrew, Header by Georgios Samaras from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

0:54

Victor Wanyama has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

0:00

The game gets underway.

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