Scottish Premiership
Dundee1Celtic2

Dundee 1-2 Celtic

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Highlights: Dundee 1-2 Celtic

Celtic moved to within one win of their sixth straight Scottish Premiership title with victory at Dundee.

The hosts frustrated Celtic for most of the first half, Dedryck Boyata's header cleared off the line by Paul McGowan.

But Jozo Simunovic's flick towards goal deflected off Kevin Gomis to creep in, and Stuart Armstrong headed in a James Forrest cross to double the lead.

Marcus Haber missed two good chances for Dundee, but Faissal El Bakhtaoui's 25-yard stunner ensured a nervy finale.

Ultimately though, Brendan Rodgers' side extended their unbeaten domestic run this season to 36 matches.

With a 25-point lead over second-placed Aberdeen and nine games left, Celtic could clinch the title in their next Premiership match against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday, 2 April, although they would already be champions if the Dons fail to secure at least a point at Dundee on 31 March.

Paul Hartley's side remain in eighth place, four points off the top six.

We have witnessed many different types of performances from the Celtic juggernaut as it rolls relentlessly towards six titles in a row. This was a mixture of the good and the ugly - there is rarely bad.

When things are not going their way, they simply put their heads down and grind away at teams until they finally buckle.

It's not always pretty but it's usually positive, and so it was in the first half against a very well organised Dundee side determined to change their fortunes after two straight defeats.

Dundee's Darren O'Dea wrestles Celtic winger Scott Sinclair to the ground
Dundee's Darren O'Dea earned a booking after wrestling Celtic winger Scott Sinclair to the ground

Celtic dominated but despite trying to progress down both flanks and through the middle, and enjoying set-pieces galore, Dundee stood firm and looked likely to head into the break all-square.

But the buckle came just seconds before the whistle when - moments after McGowan cleared Boyata's header off the line - Simunovic fired in at close range, with a little help from a deflection off the back of Gomis.

The goal certainly fired Celtic up and took some of the wind out of Dundee's sails.

Rodgers' side flew at the Dark Blues from the restart and doubled their lead via a 12th goal of the season from Armstrong, who flicked his header expertly past Scott Bain after a fabulous run and cross from Forrest.

Most observers of Celtic this season would have bet their mortgage on that being game over. Ultimately that proved correct but the thanks for that went to the defence.

Hartley's side went into this fixture having failed to pick up a point or score a goal in March, following a productive February that featured an impressive 2-1 win over Rangers.

Faissal El Bakhtaoui celebrates scoring for Dundee
Faissal El Bakhtaoui scored only his third goal since joining Dundee last summer

The same spirit was evident at the start and end of this match as Dundee fought, pressed and harried Celtic all over the pitch and made life difficult for the visitors' flair players such as Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair.

Hartley once again showed his tactical prowess when he changed things in the second half and watched his side claw their way back through a spectacular solo effort from El Baktaoui.

The Moroccan striker came off the bench and skipped through the Celtic midfield before firing into Craig Gordon's top right-hand corner. It was simply stunning.

Haber should have scored before that but screwed his effort wide. It was a defeat for the Dee but far from a demoralising one.

Post-match reaction:

Jozo Simunovic steers the ball towards goal for Celtic's opener
Jozo Simunovic was falling backwards but managed to steer the ball goalwards for Celtic's opener

Dundee boss Paul Hartley: "I felt, especially in the second half, we were excellent.

"We knew they would have a lot of possession but even in the first half they never really cut us open, and it was a bit of sucker punch with the opening goal, where they got a bit of fortune.

"We conceded a poor second goal but we changed the shape to 4-4-2, Marcus Haber had an excellent opportunity and we scored an excellent goal. I'm pleased with the players' attitude - they never gave in, they kept believing.

"El Bakhtaoui has that in his locker, but he has just not been consistent enough. He has jumped up two leagues (after scoring 30 goals for Dunfermline in League One last season), and we knew it was never going to be easy for him. But he just needs to produce it more often."

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers: "Dundee have picked up of late, they make things very difficult and we knew it would be a tough game.

"But we deserved the victory, even if it was a bit closer in the end than it should have been.

"At times we played some fantastic football and had chances to make it more comfortable but we didn't make the final pass, and we gave away a poor goal on the defensive side, although it was a great finish.

"Then we had to show we could stand up to a lot of high balls coming into our box, but the players did magnificently to defend that.

"There is a different competition in itself, to see who can maybe be the first (domestic) team to beat Celtic. But we can only apply ourselves as well as we possibly can. I've told the players not to worry about headlines in terms of 'invincibles' or 'trebles'. My worry is just to play the best football we can, and if we do that, we will win games."

Line-ups

Dundee

  • 1Bain
  • 30Kerr
  • 55GomisBooked at 35mins
  • 6O'DeaBooked at 41mins
  • 3HoltBooked at 90mins
  • 14O'Hara
  • 4VincentSubstituted forWightonat 59'minutes
  • 18McGowanBooked at 21mins
  • 7HateleySubstituted forRossat 68'minutes
  • 21Haber
  • 22OjamaaSubstituted forEl Bakhtaouiat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Williams
  • 12Mitchell
  • 17Ross
  • 20El Bakhtaoui
  • 25Klok
  • 26Gadzhalov
  • 33Wighton

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 20Boyata
  • 5Simunovic
  • 63Tierney
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forKouassiat 68'minutesBooked at 74mins
  • 14Armstrong
  • 8BrownBooked at 62mins
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forRobertsat 71'minutes
  • 11SinclairSubstituted forSviatchenkoat 83'minutes
  • 10DembeleBooked at 87mins

Substitutes

  • 6Bitton
  • 9Griffiths
  • 12Gamboa
  • 26Bailly
  • 27Roberts
  • 28Sviatchenko
  • 88Kouassi
Referee:
William Collum
Attendance:
8,968

Match Stats

Home TeamDundeeAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home5
Away8
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away9
Fouls
Home8
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Dundee 1, Celtic 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Dundee 1, Celtic 2.

Foul by Nick Ross (Dundee).

Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Kevin Holt (Dundee) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Patrick Roberts (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kevin Holt (Dundee).

Booking

Moussa Dembele (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Patrick Roberts (Celtic).

Kevin Holt (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Craig Wighton (Dundee) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Erik Sviatchenko replaces Scott Sinclair.

Attempt missed. Marcus Haber (Dundee) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Attempt blocked. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Goal!

Goal! Dundee 1, Celtic 2. Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Kevin Holt.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee. Faissal El Bakhtaoui replaces Henrik Ojamaa.

Booking

Eboue Kouassi (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Moussa Dembele (Celtic).

Kevin Holt (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Patrick Roberts replaces James Forrest.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Eboue Kouassi replaces Callum McGregor.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee. Nick Ross replaces Tom Hateley.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Darren O'Dea.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Scott Bain.

Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Dedryck Boyata.

Booking

Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Paul McGowan (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Marcus Haber (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee. Craig Wighton replaces James Vincent.

Goal!

Goal! Dundee 0, Celtic 2. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) header from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by James Forrest.

Tom Hateley (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Mark O'Hara.

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tom Hateley (Dundee).

Attempt saved. Kevin Holt (Dundee) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Foul by Jozo Simunovic (Celtic).

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 19th March 2017

View all Scottish Premiership results

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Celtic2927205883
2Aberdeen2918472958
3Rangers291487950
4St Johnstone2912710243
5Hearts29118101341
6Partick Thistle2981011-334
7Kilmarnock2971111-1732
8Dundee298615-930
9Ross County2961013-1728
10Motherwell297616-2427
11Inverness CT2941213-2024
12Hamilton2941213-2124
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