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Celtic 1 Dundee United 0: Heartbreak for United as ten-man Celts net late winner

Benjamin Siegrist kept Celtic at bay for 89 minutes
Benjamin Siegrist kept Celtic at bay for 89 minutes

Tam Courts called on Dundee United to be brave at Celtic and they answered his call – only to lose heartbreakingly in injury-time.

United picked up their first point at Celtic in eight years with a 1-1 draw in September.

They followed that up by holding Rangers for 70 minutes at Ibrox with a Covid-hit squad.

This display was full of heart, composure and determination.

But ultimately, Liel Abada’s 90th minute effort denied them the Tangerines the chance to move into the top six.

Dundee United made five changes from the side that started against Ross County in midweek.

In came youngsters Lewis Neilson, Archie Meekison along with Nicky Clark and Ilmari Niskanen.

Out went skipper Ryan Edwards, Kieran Freeman, Marc McNulty and Peter Pawlett.

Jeando Fuchs, who started in the 2-1 win over County, was absent for the first time, having joined Peterborough United on Friday.

The changes meant United had a makeshift central defence of Calum Butcher and youngster Neilson.

Tony Watt led the United frontline against his old club.

Tony Watt led the Dundee United attack at Celtic

Dundee United looked very comfortable early on as they went toe-to-toe with Celtic.

Sporle had the first crack on goal in six minutes as he curled a right foot effort wide from 15 yards.

But Celtic were always going to carry a major threat going forward and they almost opened the scoring in 27 minutes.

A dazzling run by Liel Abada saw him leave Sporle in his tracks only for the Israeli star to have his close range effort blocked by Benjamin Siegrist.

Dundee United keeper Benjamin Siegrist struggling with injury at Celtic

Siegrist then survived an injury scare as he clashed with Giorgos Giakoumakis as he blocked an effort from the Greek striker.

But the Swiss stopper recovered well and made a superb save to turn away a low Matt O’Riley effort.

O’Riley then missed a golden chance to open the scoring for the hosts as he sliced a James Forrest cutback wide.

Dundee United impress at Celtic Park

For all Celtic’s flair, United looked very comfortable, going in 0-0 at the break.

But Celtic beefed up their attack in the second half by bringing on Jota for James Forrest.

The Portuguese star almost made an immediate impact as his clever cross set up O’Riley to head wide.

And Siegrist made a stunning save with his right boot to deny Giakoumakis from close range.

Then came late drama as Celtic were reduced to ten men in 81 minutes.

Nir Bitton walked after picking up a second booking for his foul on Declan Glass.

But with Celtic chasing the title, they won it heartbreakingly late for United when Abada stroked home Jota’s cross.

Teams for Celtic v Dundee United

Celtic: Hart, Starfelt, Scales (Juranovic 46), Carter-Vickers, Ralston (Doak 67), Bitton, O’Riley, Hatate (Taylor 67), Giakoumakis, Abada, Forrest (Jota 46). Subs: Bain; Jullien, Soro, McCarthy, Welsh.

Dundee United: Siegrist; Neilson, Sporle, Butcher, McMann (Ross Graham 49), Harkes, Meekison (Glass 78), Levitt, Clark (McNulty 61), Watt (Pawlett 78), Niskanen. Subs: Eriksson; Freeman, Mochrie, Appere, Graham, Cudjoe-Anim.

Referee –Β  Euan Anderson

Dundee United boss Tam Courts urges his players to ‘be brave’ at Celtic Park

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