Celtic 5 Dundee 0: Grim night for Dens men as Hoops home in on title

Scott Brown celebrates after making it 2-0 to Celtic.
Scott Brown celebrates after making it 2-0 to Celtic.

Celtic continued their march towards the Premiership title with a straightforward victory over a disappointing Dundee side.

Anything other than an Aberdeen win over Dundee United at Tannadice and the champagne corks will be popping in the living rooms of the Hoops players.

The scoring at Celtic Park was started by Leigh Griffiths when the former Dark Blue nodded home on 30 minutes then they extended their lead seven minutes later through captain Scott Brown.

Kris Commons made it 3-0 from the penalty spot on 71 minutes then sub James Forrest added another six minutes later. It got even worse for Paul Hartley’s side when Nir Bitton made it five with a minute left.

Sadly for the loyal band of Dundee fans who made the way through to Glasgow for this Friday night fixture, it was all too easy for Celtic.

The Dens men made four changes to the side that started against St Johnstone last Saturday.

Out went the suspended Greg Stewart and stay-at-home Paul McGowan, while David Clarkson and Paul Heffernan dropped to the bench.

In came Simon Ferry, Stephen McGinn, Alex Harris and Luka Tankulic, with the latter up front on his own.

As expected, the hosts were on the front foot from kick-off and Brown sent a shot right across goal before Griffiths also fired wide.

A great ball from deep within his own half from Commons reached Griffiths out on the left on 12 minutes and he played it inside to Gary Mackay-Steven. A first-time shot from the Dundee United player seemed certain but instead he played it on to Stefan Johansen, who sent it over the bar.

Dundee were creeping forward when they got the chance and Jim McAlister found himself in space until defender Virgil van Dijk ran back and took the ball off him.

On 23 minutes, an excellent tackle by Thomas Konrad stopped Griffiths’ progress 10 yards from goal then Celtic had a strong shout for a penalty when Kevin Thomson stuck a leg up to foul Johansen but nothing was given.

On the half-hour mark, dominant Celtic got the goal their play deserved.

In-form ex-Dee Griffiths punished his old club when he rose higher than Konrad to head a cross from Emilio Izaguirre past keeper Scott Bain, who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.

Tankulic battled his way through a sea of green and white to get a shot in as Dundee tried to hit back but they fell further behind on 37 minutes.

Brown finished off another fine move with a low shot past Bain from 12 yards after excellent play by Griffiths and Commons.

Commons sent the ball flying over the bar as the soon-to-be-champions continued to boss the game and the Dark Blues must have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle.

Dundee needed more attacking ambition in their play after the interval and, after Van Dijk missed with a header for the hosts, Alex Harris burst up the right flank only to lose possession once he got into the box.

Nice build up play by the visitors on 57 minutes saw the ball eventually get played out left to Willie Dyer, whose low 25-yard shot was firmly struck but held by Craig Gordon.

Calvin Colquhoun was handed his debut by Dundee when he replaced injured Harris on the hour mark then Johansen missed from the edge of the box before Bain had to race out of goal and save a toe-poke from Mackay-Steven.

The Hoops brought on Darnell Fisher and Forrest for Johansen and Efe Ambrose, while Paul Heffernan replaced Simon Ferry.

The Dark Blues fell three behind on 71 minutes, with Commons blasting home a penalty after Stephen McGinn was clumsy with his challenge on sub Fisher and referee Bobby Madden quickly pointed to the spot.

Forrest grabbed his team’s fourth on 77 minutes when he burst clear of the Dundee defence, veered to the right and then slammed a low shot back across Bain and into the net.

With three minutes to go Tankulic did well to squeeze in a shot that flew past Gordon’s post but the final say went to Bitton, who picked the ball up in midfield, looked up and then sent a superb shot past a rooted-to-the-spot Bain and into the net from 30 yards.

Celtic: Gordon, Izaguirre, Ambrose (Fisher 65), Van Dijk, Bitton, Brown, Commons, Mackay-Steven, Denayer, Johansen (Forrest 65), Griffiths (Scepovic 75). Subs not used: Zaluska, Guidetti, Stokes, Armstrong, McGregor.

Dundee: Bain, Dyer, Konrad, McPake, Thomson, Ferry (Heffernan 70 subbed by Clarkson 89), McGinn, McAlister, S. McGinn, Tankulic, Harris (Colquhoun 60). Subs not used: Letheren, Irvine, Gadzhalov, Harkins.

Referee: Bobby Madden.