Scottish Premiership
Celtic3Dundee0

Celtic 3-0 Dundee: Mikey Johnston scores twice in easy win

Media playback is not supported on this device

Highlights: Celtic 3-0 Dundee

Celtic will be top of the Scottish Premiership on Christmas Day after what Brendan Rodgers called one of the "most enjoyable performances" of his reign.

Teenager Mikey Johnston scored his second and third senior goals - four days after netting his first - as Celtic swept aside bottom club Dundee.

Playing as a lone striker, Johnston turned cutely before guiding in the opener, then headed in after the break.

Filip Benkovic added a third as Celtic won a ninth straight home league game.

"This time of the year the team can look a bit leggy and a bit tired and a bit loose with the ball but I thought the foundation of our game, our pressing, was very good," Rodgers told BBC Scotland.

"We didn't give Dundee the opportunity to build any sort of sequence of passes or any threat and that was because the players' reading of the game and brilliance of their counter-pressing."

Defeat means Dundee have lost their last three games - all away from home - conceding 11 goals.

Jesse Curran had their only attempt on target - a tame shot that was saved by Scott Bain - as they slip three points behind St Mirren at the bottom of the division.

Johnston no flash in the pan

All the focus had been on the problems Celtic had up front, with Odsonne Edouard injured and no other recognised striker available. But problems for some often present opportunities for others, and this opportunity would be taken by Johnston.

The 19-year-old scored his first Celtic goal in midweek against Motherwell and he would underline his huge promise by taking his chance against Dundee.

Just as it looked like the visitors had managed to secure an unlikely scoreline of 0-0 at half time, there was Johnston showing sharpness to fire low into the corner past Jack Hamilton to give Celtic the lead.

It was clearly no flash in the pan, as right after the break Johnston effectively sealed the win with a header in off the bar. That would have completed his hat trick had an early effort not come back off the bar.

Celtic utterly dominated and from there it was just about damage limitation for Dundee, but they were just unable to stop the returning Ryan Christie - on as a sub for James Forrest - from cutting in from the right and firing a shot which Hamilton saved but spilled for Benkovic to make it 3-0. Anthony Ralston also hit a post.

From the moment Dundee left Kenny Miller on the bench, it was evident that the Dark Blues would try to grind out a point. Apart from Martin Woods low effort in the early stages wide of a post it was chance after chance for Celtic throughout.

Filip Benkovic's second goal of the season clinched Celtic's win
Filip Benkovic's second goal of the season clinched Celtic's win

'More important games to come' - analysis

For both sides there are more important assignments on the horizon.

A Celtic victory always looked likely. This game was all about keeping the home fires burning and staying top at Christmas. Rodgers will hope the likes of Edouard and Kieran Tierney will make it back for the sterner tests of Aberdeen and Rangers away.

As for Dundee, their priority now shifts to Livingston on Boxing Day and St Johnstone just before Hogmanay - two home games which offer a better chance of collecting the points they desperately need.

'Mikey was such a threat' - reaction

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: "It was so enjoyable some of our play, the youngsters just come in and play with that confidence within our structure.

"Mikey has got that instinct to score a goal. His run and skill for the first was absolutely brilliant, but his second is one you probably wouldn't expect - a running diving header. He was such a threat."

Dundee manager Jim McIntyre: "Celtic's movement, at times, was sensational. We struggled to cope with it.

"For the first half hour, we made sure that our lines were good and made it difficult. Conceding the goal right before half-time was a sore blow."

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 29Bain
  • 56Ralston
  • 5SimunovicSubstituted forAjerat 58'minutes
  • 32Benkovic
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 42McGregor
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forChristieat 62'minutes
  • 21Ntcham
  • 18Rogic
  • 11Sinclair
  • 73JohnstonSubstituted forHayesat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gordon
  • 8Brown
  • 12Gamboa
  • 15Hayes
  • 16Morgan
  • 17Christie
  • 35Ajer

Dundee

  • 1Hamilton
  • 2Kerr
  • 15Inniss
  • 23Boyle
  • 3Ralph
  • 8Kamara
  • 27Curran
  • 4WoodsBooked at 26mins
  • 18McGowan
  • 14NabiSubstituted forLambertat 62'minutes
  • 19KallmanSubstituted forMillerat 54'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Mendy
  • 12Parish
  • 20Miller
  • 28Spence
  • 45Moore
  • 47Lambert
  • 58Bradbury
Referee:
Euan Anderson
Attendance:
57,234

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamDundee
Possession
Home76%
Away24%
Shots
Home27
Away3
Shots on Target
Home14
Away1
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home6
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 3, Dundee 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 3, Dundee 0.

Attempt saved. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) left footed shot from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal.

Dangerous play by Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic).

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

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Andrew Boyle.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Ryan Inniss.

Attempt missed. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Anthony Ralston (Celtic) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.

Jonny Hayes (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Inniss (Dundee).

Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jesse Curran (Dundee).

Foul by Anthony Ralston (Celtic).

Martin Woods (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Jonny Hayes replaces Michael Johnston.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Nathan Ralph.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 3, Dundee 0. Filip Benkovic (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner.

Attempt saved. Michael Johnston (Celtic) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Ryan Inniss.

Attempt saved. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Ryan Christie replaces James Forrest.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee. Jack Lambert replaces Adil Nabi.

Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

Glen Kamara (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Anthony Ralston (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Kristoffer Ajer replaces Jozo Simunovic because of an injury.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Cammy Kerr.

Attempt saved. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Jack Hamilton.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee. Kenny Miller replaces Benjamin Kallman.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Andrew Boyle.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 2, Dundee 0. Michael Johnston (Celtic) header from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Scott Sinclair.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Ryan Inniss.

Second Half

Second Half begins Celtic 1, Dundee 0.

Half Time

First Half ends, Celtic 1, Dundee 0.

Attempt saved. Jesse Curran (Dundee) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 1, Dundee 0. Michael Johnston (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Callum McGregor.

Anthony Ralston (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic18123342103239
2Aberdeen19113529191036
3Rangers18105339142535
4Kilmarnock19105429191035
5Hearts199372326-330
6Livingston198562517829
7Hibernian197752920928
8St Johnstone178452122-128
9Motherwell1953111831-1318
10Hamilton1942131339-2614
11St Mirren1933131436-2212
12Dundee1923141544-299
View full Scottish Premiership table

Top Stories