Dundee suffered their third defeat in a row as they were well beaten 3-0 by champions Celtic at Parkhead.
You could have secured odds of 28-1 before kick-off for an unlikely Dark Blues victory but there would have been few takers for this clash between the two sides separated by the length of the Premiership table.
Dundee battled well but after going behind just before half-time, Celtic hit cruise control in the second 45 and it became an exercise in damage limitation for the visitors.
Dens boss Jim McIntyre made five changes from the team that was beaten by Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Tuesday night with Glen Kamara, Adil Nabi, Ryan Inniss, Benji Kallman and Andy Boyle coming in for the injured Darren O’Dea and Genseric Kusunga, Calvin Miller – who was not allowed to play against his parent club – Lewis Spence and Kenny Miller.
There was a place in the Celtic starting line-up for former Dark Blues keeper Scott Bain.
Not surprisingly, there was a flurry of early pressure from the home side with Anthony Ralston, Mikey Johnston and Scott Sinclair all having chances however Dundee held firm and had an opportunity of their own when Martin Woods sent a low, long-range effort fizzing just past Bain’s left-hand post.
The Hoops came agonisingly close to opening the scoring in the 18th minute when Sinclair burst into the Dundee box and set up Johnston but his effort cannoned back off the crossbar with Dark Blues keeper Jack Hamilton beaten.
After that, it was wave after wave of Celtic attacks but dogged Dundee continued to deny them.
Although it was astonishing that the home side did not take at least one of three chances that came their way just after the half-hour mark but Johnston, twice, and Sinclair passed up the opportunities.
It looked like McIntyre’s men would make it to half-time on equal terms but the deadlock was finally broken in the 43rd minute when Callum McGregor found Johnston in the box and he spun before drilling the ball past Hamilton with the Dundee players pleading in vain for offside.
The Dark Blues had a rare chance just before the break but Jesse Curran’s shot was held by Bain.
However, the home fans were celebrating their side’s second goal of the afternoon in the 50th minute when Sinclair crossed from the left with the unmarked Johnston heading home off the underside of the bar.
It was pretty much one-way traffic after that with Dundee struggling to break out of their own half and Celtic continuing to fashion chances.
The third duly arrived in the 70th minute when Hamilton parried an initial effort from sub Ryan Christie but Filip Benkovic followed up to fire the ball into the back of the net.
Celtic hit the woodwork once more when an angled Ralston shot came back off the inside of the post.
And just before the final whistle, Sinclair almost made it four but his audacious back-heeler was cleared off the Dundee goal line by Nathan Ralph.