DUNDEE UNITED 0 CELTIC 2
ANGE POSTECOGLOU celebrated his FIFTIETH Premiership success with this well-merited win at Tannadice this afternoon.
The Celtic gaffer reached the landmark after 61 games to guide the champions to another victory as they maintained their nine-point advantage at the top of the league.
Filipe Jota and Aaron Mooy, with a penalty-kick, were the goalscorers and the Hoops fans celebrated another away day triumph with their first look at new signing Oh Hyeon-gyu who came on for Kyogo Furuhashi late in the game.
All in, it was a good day for the Parkhead men in windy Tayside on a difficult pitch.
HAPPY BHOY…Ange Postecoglou enjoys his 50th league win as Celtic boss at Tannadice.
VAR dominated the interval discussions after the Hoops were awarded a penalty-kick in the 43rd minute by referee Don Robetson after keeper Mark Birighitti came through Kyogo Furuhashi to get to a spinning ball in the box.
The Japanese striker was clattered from behind and the match official had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Amazingly, technical assistant Euan Anderson intervened to instruct his colleague to check the incident again on the touchline monitor.
Robertson had a quick look and wiped out the award with boss Postecoglou having a wry smile in the dug-out area.
It was a penalty all day long. The netminder did get his hand to the ball, but he had to clear out Kyogo to get there. Anywhere outside the box and that action will be deemed a free-kick.
However, the intervention of Anderson, who sent off Nir Bitton in the corresponding fixture at Parkhead exactly a year ago, persuaded Robertson there had been no infringement.
CRASH, BANG,WALLOP…Dundee United keeper Mark Birighitti clatters into Kyogo Furuhashi, but VAR over-ruled the referee’s penalty-kick decision.
The visitors, as anticipated, dominated proceedings and almost scored in 29 SECONDS!
Jota sent Kyogo clear with a superb through pass, but the pacy frontman rushed his shot and fired off target.
In the 22nd minute, the Portuguese flyer had a go from 25 yards, but Birighitti got down well to save at his right-hand post.
Moments later, Kyogo dummied a low cross from the right to leave Reo Hatate in the clear on the edge of the box, but the midfielder lashed the ball waywardly off target.
Just before the half-hour mark, Hatate and Mooy combined to set up Alistair Johnston. It looked as though the Canadian World Cup defender was about to have a go from distance, but he neatly slipped a pass into the tracks of Kyogo.
The darting raider steered the ball goalwards, but, unfortunately, the outrushing Birighitt spread himself and the attamept hit a boot and diverted to safety.
United got lucky again just before the penalty/no penalty furore when a cute effort from Hatate hit the keeper’s left-hand post.
It rebounded to Mooy whose netbound attempt was blocked by a frantic Craig Sibbald and once again the ball ricocheted to safety.
HEAD BHOY…Filipe Jota celebrates the opening goal with Alistair Johnston, Carl Starfelt and Aaron Mooy.
Then came the nonsensical interruption from VAR to prevent the Hoops from having the opportunity to take the lead just before the interval.
The inevitable happened in the 51st minute when the Hoops got the breakthrough goal their play deserved.
Abada sent Mooy clear on the right and the Aussie whipped over a tantalising high ball to the far post. Birighitti lost the ball completely in flight, but Jota was alert and arrived on time to nod home from the tighest of angles.
Five minutes later, the visitors doubled their advantage and this time it was Mooy from the penalty spot.
Incredibly, whistler Robertson, with a clear view, missed an obvious hand ball by Kieran Freeman who had just been booked for a foul on Greg Taylor.
The defender thrust his hand towards a flick from Jota and this time VAR had to intervene to tell the referee to have another look.
This time Robertson returned to the pitch to point to the spot. Freeman escaped a second yellow card and instant dismissal.
Mooy stepped up to confidently thrash the ball in at the keeper’s left as the United No.1 took off to his right.
SPOT ON…Aaron Mooy claims the second with a perfect penalty-kick.
In the 67th minute, Postecoglou made his usual triple substitutuion when he sent on Matt O’Riley, David Turnbull and Daizen Maeda for Hatate, Mooy and Jota.
Eleven minutes later, O’Riley came within a whisker of his first goal of the season with a clever first-timed left-foot effort from the edge of the box, but it swept just wide of the right-hand upright.
In the 82nd minute, new Bhoy Oh received a special welcome as he and Sead Haksabanovic came on for Kyogo and Abada.
It was clear the South Korean wanted to make an immediate impact. At first glance, he looks as though he will fit into the Postecoglou jigsaw.
VICTORY PARADE…Joe Hart, Carl Starfelt and Sead Haksabanovic salute the Celtic support.
He came so close to setting up Maeda with a third goal in the fading moments of five minutes stoppage time.
Oh sizzled over a superb cross from the right, but, mystifyingly, the Japanese forward missed with a header with the goal gaping.
Not quite the nine that we all enjoyed in August, but the three points were a prioroty and they are safely in the bag.
Next up, it’s Livingston in Paradise on Wednesday.
TEAM: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; Mooy (sub: Turnbull 67), McGregor, Hatate (sub: O’Riley 67); Abada (sub: Haksabanovic 82), Kyogo (sub: Oh 82), Jota (sub: Maeda 67).