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Celtic's James Forrest celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game.
Celtic's James Forrest celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game.
Image: Andrew Milligan

Watch: Celtic down Dundee to go 11 points clear

Leigh Griffiths then staked his claim for a starting slot in the Old Firm derby with a goal.
Dec 26th 2017, 4:04 PM 3,391 1

CELTIC EXTENDED THEIR lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to a gaping 11 points with a comfortable 2-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park on Tuesday.

James Forrest handed the Hoops an eighth-minute lead as he fired home his 50th goal for the Glasgow giants.

Leigh Griffiths then staked his claim for a starting slot in the Old Firm derby as he grabbed a second for Celtic in the 43rd minute.

The win means the Hoops have opened a 14-point gap over rivals Rangers, who host Motherwell on Wednesday, ahead of their second meeting of the season at Celtic Park on Saturday.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers praised the desire his side showed as they won their third game in a row for the first time since September.

“This was the type of game that you need to have a hunger to go and win in the midst of a very busy schedule,” the Northern Irishman said.

“You saw from the goals we scored that hunger was there.”

There were not many positives for his Dundee counterpart Neil McCann to take from the game.

“Our play was really disappointing,” he said. “We were a wee bit tentative in possession of the ball and we took the easy option too many times.”

Despite an impressive performance against title challengers Aberdeen on Saturday, Celtic made three changes for their third game in seven days as Griffiths replaced Moussa Dembele — linked with a move to Brighton — up front while Callum McGregor and Forrest came back into midfield.

The new faces freshened the Hoops up as they started the match sharply, with Forrest flashing an effort wide almost immediately.

A clever move then saw McGregor get on the end of Mikael Lustig’s cut-back, but the midfielder’s effort from 12 yards cannoned back off the base of the post.

The Dundee defence failed to heed the warnings and just a minute later Celtic were in front. A fine passing move ended with Kieran Tierney swinging the ball in from the left and Forrest got in front of two Dundee defenders to guide home a first-time shot for his 50th goal for Celtic.


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- Injury blow -

Both sides were dealt a blow when Celtic’s Jonny Hayes and Dundee’s Josh Meekings were stretchered off midway through the half following a crunching challenge on the half-way line.

The enforced substitutions disrupted the flow of the match before a Dundee blunder saw Darren O’Dea’s short back-pass intercepted by Griffiths, but goalkeeper Elliot Parish came to the rescue as he made a good double save at the feet of the striker.

However, Dundee were their own worst enemy again moments later as they helped the Hoops to a second before the break.

Source: Celtic Goals/YouTube

Scott Brown robbed Faissal El Bakhtaoui of possession just inside the Dundee half and sent Olivier Ntcham charging forward. The French midfielder then picked out Griffiths just inside the box and he drilled a low angled drive into the far corner.

Parish then saved from substitute Michael Johnston and Forrest as Celtic finished the half strongly.

The second half began in a similar fashion with Ntcham firing a long-range effort just wide while at the other end Paul McGowan was not too far away with a shot that dipped over the bar.

Source: Celtic Goals/YouTube

Celtic came close to a third when on-form Forrest’s rampaging run saw him dance round four Dundee defenders on his way into the box, but the winger lacked the end product and he sent his effort wide of the target.

© AFP 2017

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