01192018

Celtic go 11 points clear with win over Dundee

Leigh Griffiths scores

Former Dundee striker Leigh Griffiths marked his return to the Celtic line-up with a goal

Celtic moved 11 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with victory over Dundee at Dens Park.

James Forrest converted Kieran Tierney’s low cross to give the reigning champions an early lead.

Both teams then lost a player to injury after Dundee’s Josh Meekings and Celtic’s Jonny Hayes came together in a tackle.

Leigh Griffiths fired Celtic’s second before the break and Dundee could not recover in the second period.

They remain in 10th place, three points above Ross County – who host St Johnstone on Wednesday – and two ahead of Partick Thistle, who travel to Aberdeen.

Celtic’s performance in the opening stages had everything. From the off they looked sharp, hungry and likely to damage Dundee with every foray forward.

Celtic celebrate<!–

The opening goal from Forrest settled the visitors into a dominant first-half display

Forrest dragged one early effort narrowly wide before the visitors spurned a magnificent chance, following an incisive move that tore the home side apart.

Paul McGowan lost possession cheaply allowing Forrest to break. The ball was switched eventually to Mikael Lustig, who found Callum McGregor. His side-footed shot looked in but hit the base of the post.

It was a warning and a let-off but Dundee looked unable to address what was coming.

Tierney escaped down the left after another excellent passage of play, cut back for Forrest and the winger’s first-time finish was emphatic.

Forrest’s burgeoning confidence was reflected in the manner of the strike and his scoring statistics this term reflect the impression he is in the form of his career – his 12th goal this season also his 50th for the club.

He then clipped a superb left-footed cross to the back post which Hayes directed off target.

Play was halted for some time when both Hayes and Meekings had to be replaced after a crushing midfield collision, the former going off on a stretcher.

Jonny Hayes<!–

Hayes’ participation was cut short after 28 minutes

That injury interruption seemed to allow Dundee to regroup and they momentarily began to gain possession in midfield.

Their improvement was almost undermined when Meekings’ replacement Darren O’Dea inadvertently played in Griffiths, who could not get around goalkeeper Elliot Parish.

Griffiths did not have to wait long, though. Scott Brown won the ball from a weak-willed Faissal El Bakhtaoui, fed Olivier Ntcham, who in turn played the striker in. Griffiths motored towards goal before thrashing home his 10th of the season.

Hayes’ replacement Michael Johnston then came close with a darting run and shot before Forrest stretched to test Parish from an angle when he seemed to be crowded out.

The threat continued in the second half, albeit at a more leisurely pace as Celtic dictated play. When they did lose possession, they won it back promptly.

They did offer Dundee a glimmer when firstly A-Jay Leitch-Smith went down in the box under Brown’s clean-looking challenge.

McGowan then fired narrowly over from the edge of the box before Forrest produced a stunning run around various defenders only to finish with a less than stunning shot.

Dundee’s biggest moment fell to Sofien Moussa, who misdirected a header from a great position to leave the hosts looking nervously over their shoulder at the bottom.

Live Text

Match ends, Dundee 0, Celtic 2.

Second Half ends, Dundee 0, Celtic 2.

Sofien Moussa (Dundee) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Sofien Moussa (Dundee).

Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Darren O’Dea (Dundee).

James Forrest (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Sofien Moussa (Dundee).

Foul by Darren O’Dea (Dundee).

Moussa Dembele (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Cammy Kerr (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Michael Johnston (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Substitution, Celtic. Moussa Dembele replaces Leigh Griffiths.

Substitution, Dundee. Matthew Henvey replaces A-Jay Leitch-Smith.

Cammy Kerr (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Celtic).

Glen Kamara (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Celtic).

Attempt saved. Mark O’Hara (Dundee) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Mark O’Hara (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Attempt missed. Sofien Moussa (Dundee) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left following a set piece situation.

A-Jay Leitch-Smith (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Paul McGowan (Dundee) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Substitution, Celtic. Stuart Armstrong replaces Olivier Ntcham.

Attempt missed. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Foul by Mark O’Hara (Dundee).

Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Darren O’Dea.

Attempt blocked. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution, Dundee. Jack Lambert replaces Faissal El Bakhtaoui.

Cammy Kerr (Dundee) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Michael Johnston (Celtic).

Attempt missed. Callum McGregor (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Paul McGowan (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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