DUNDEE UNITED 0 CELTIC 3
SCINTILLATING Celtic shredded United during a totally lopsided encounter in the winter sunshine at Tannadice this afternoon.
Strikes from Tom Rogic, David Turnbull and Liam Scales, on the pitch six minutes as a substitute for Greg Taylor, settled the argument with Ange Postecoglou more than satisfied.
If there was a complaint after such an overwhelming display it would be that the Hoops did not pile on the goals. Kyogo Furuhashi could have had a double hat-trick, but the ball just refused to run for him on what must have been a personally frustrating day. Credit, however, must go to the attacker for non-stop endeavour from start to finish.
Overall, though, it was an eye-catching 90-plus minutes from the Hoops and Joe Hart was up for the task on the only time he was called into action late in the second-half when he dived superbly to his left to push away a drive which would have halved the visitors’ advantage.
ONE…Tom Rogic sweeps in a left-foot effort with ex-Celt Charlie Mulgrew too late to intervene.
TWO…David Turnbull prepares to fire the ball into the net with keeper Benjamin Siegrist looking on helplessly.
THREE…Liam Scales prepares to celebrate in front of the fans as Benjamin Siegrist sits this one out.
Celtic were already in control when Rogic merrily danced and weaved his way in from the right as he left three defenders in his slipstream as he scored the breakthrough effort in the 19th minute.
The cultured midfielder supremely set himself up with a sight of the goal and he swept a measured left-foot drive beyond the diving Ben Siegrist low to his right from 14 yards.
It was a piece of soccer sorcery that illuminated a little corner of Tayside on a chilly day.
Turnbull doubled the advantage when the outstanding Callum McGregor, so impressive throughout, flighted over a delicate chipped pass into his path.
The hard-working midfielder lifted the ball over the outrushing Siegrist, raced round the stranded shotstopper and rammed in an effort from close range.
The Hoops should have been well out of sight by the time Scales, making his Premiership debut, nonchalantly swept in a superb shot from just inside the box. Nir Bitton clipped a ball forward to Liel Abada who wasted no time in flighting the ball into the box.
The £600,000 summer recruit from Shamrock Rovers arrived right on schedule and did waste a moment in perfectly striking a low drive away from the sprawling Siegrist at his right-hand post. It was a wonderful piece of orchestration and excellent finish.
NET PROFITS…David Turnbull and Mikey Johnston celebrate the second goal as Kyogo Furuhashi retrieves the ball.
Celtic were two goals ahead at the interval which was scant reward for dominating an amazing 75 per cent of the play in a one-sided opening half.
Rogic proved he was worthy of his Wizard of Oz status with his mesmerising barrier-breaking goal and Turnbull, after two misses, finally doubled the advantage five minutes from the turnaround.
Worryingly, though, was the procession of missed opportunities which should have seen this game out of sight and the second period a total irrelevance.
Kyogo, of all people, was the first to let United off the hook in only five minutes when he headed over the bar from four yards when it looked impossible not to score.
The Japanese striker was left totally unmarked smack in front of goal after Greg Taylor had head-flicked on a Turnbull right-wing corner-kick.
Keeper Siegrist must have had that sinking feeling when Kyogo came on his radar, but, remarkably, he nodded his effort about two yards too high.
HAVING A BALL…Dundee United’s Jeando Fuchs pushes Kyogo Furuhashi away.
It was a genuine let-off and the home side realised it and they rode their luck again when Kyogo set up Rogic for a good opening, but, on this occasion, the Aussie got his angles all wrong and launched the ball over the bar from 16 yards.
However, the stylish playmaker more than atoned with the first goal and Johnston came so close to a second in the 28th minute when he worked a one-two with Taylor before flashing in a low drive which took a deflection and nudged past the left-hand post with Siugrist beaten.
From the corner-kick, delivered with accuracy by Turnbull from the right wing, the keeper made an instinctive save from a flick by Cameron Carter-Vickers at the expense of another set-play.
Carl Starfelt then saw an effort deflected off target for the visitors’ sixth corner inside half-an-hour.
NO WAY THROUGH…keeper Benjamin Siegrist clears from the menacing David Turnbull.
In the 33rd minute, Turnbull passed up a reasonable opportunity when he headed wide from eight yards after a good cross from Taylor on the left and then the midfielder had a glaring miss from eight yards when it looked he had to score after Kyogo had set up the chance on a plate.
He got caught in two minds and allowed Siegrist to fire the ball against him and it ricocheted over the bar to safety.
Abada replaced the toiling Forrest at the start of the second-half and, as the game wore on, Bitton took over from Rogic in the 70th minute to allow McGregor to move into a more attacking role and then Scales was introduced for the tiring Taylor with 15 minutes to go.
After the interval, normal service was resumed with the Hoops taking control and they should have gone further ahead when Carter-Vickers released Abada on the right with a neat slide rule through pass. The winger picked out Kyogo with a superb cross, but the fans’ favourite’s accuracy was out and his header was too close to the keeper who managed to claw it to safety.
OOPS…Kyogo Furuhashi failes to make contact with a low cross from Liam Scales as a great chance is missed.
OOPS…Liel Abada lifts the ball over the grounded keeper – and, astonishingly, past the post.
A minute later, United substitute Calum Butcher, returning from suspension, should have seen red after a dangerous and reckless challenge on Turnbull. He caught the Celt on the shin as he launched himself into a tackle with both feet off the ground.
Match official Don Robertson saw it merely as a yellow card, but it must be said that in most other countries such a wayward assault would have brought an instant dismissal. Thankfully, the Hoops star was not severely injured.
In the 70th minute, Kyogo, not enjoying his best day in the green and white jersey as far as finishing was concerned, contrived to miss TWO opportunities within moments of each other.
The energetic frontman was picked up with a glorious raking pass from McGregor. He tried to lob the keeper with the first, but Siegrist managed to paw it out of the air and the ball rebounded back to him. Kyogo tried again from a tight angle and on this occasion his drive cannoned off the Swiss No.1 and ricocheted to safety.
Three minutes from time, Kyogo failed to knock in a sweeping left-wing cross from Scales and the ball was returned by Turnbull from the right and this time it was Abada’s turn to squander a chance with a half-hit shot from six yards that was scrambled away.
SCARF ACE…a delighted Ange Postecoglou holds aloft a Celtic fan’s scarf at full-time.
In the fading moments, the Israeli raider had an even more alarming miss when he was sent clean through by Kyogo with only the netminder to beat.
Siegrist came off his line and must have been expecting his next task would be to pick the ball out of the net, but Abada managed to screw the ball wide of the target.
It was the sort of opening he would have tucked away at the start of his Hoops career.
Chances came and chances went, but the main thing is another three points from a ground that may have been viewed as a potential banana skin by many at the start of the day.
TEAM: Hart; Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor (sub: Scales 75); Turnbull, Rogic (sub: Bitton 70), McGregor; Forrest (sub: Abada 46) Kyogo, Johnston.