Celtic down Dundee to extend Scottish Premiership lead

Celtic down Dundee to extend Scottish Premiership lead

© AFP 2022
December 26, 2023 at 5:50 PM
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP
Source: AFP

Celtic defeated Dundee 3-0 on Tuesday to move five points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Paulo Bernardo broke the deadlock early in the second half with his first goal for the Scottish champions before substitute Michael Johnston's late double at Dens Park wrapped up all the points for the visitors.

Second-placed Rangers, however, have two games in hand over their arch Glasgow rivals and will play one of those matches before Saturday's Old Firm derby at Parkhead.

"I thought we played very well," said Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. "It was an outstanding team performance. The ambition of the players was great. We controlled the game, controlled the rhythm.

"Anything we had to do defensively - -long throws, long balls -- we dominated that moment and kept the clean sheet, which is also important," the Northern Irishman added.

Defeat left Dundee seventh in the table ahead of Wednesday's fixtures, with manager Tony Docherty insisting: "That (loss) won't define our season, our reaction to it will define our season.

"It is important we bounce back from today, it's difficult for the players but they've shown us a real consistent level of performance this season."

Celtic had suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time in a decade prior to Saturday's 2-0 victory over Livingston.

And they were in control from the start against Dundee, with Bernardo, Liam Scales, Kyogo Furuhashi, Matt O'Riley and Luis Palma all going close for the Hoops.

It looked like it would be a frustrating afternoon for Celtic when Greg Taylor was unable to convert a chance at a corner after the interval.

But the goal Celtic had been threatening arrived in the 52nd minute when Palma's through ball sent Bernardo clear, with his deft touch sending the ball between Trevor Carson's legs into the net.

Celtic substitute Oh Hyeon-gyu tried to swerve a shot into the right corner but was unable to get sufficient bend on the ball before Brendan Rodgers' men did make it 2-0.

Johnston, on for Palma, beat Carson from the left before the Dundee goalkeeper denied him a second goal by tipping away a fierce shot.

But Johnston had his second goal and Celtic's third in stoppage time with a close-range effort, with the winger then going close to a hat-trick when he shot just wide.

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© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022