DUNDEE UNITED 0 CELTIC 9
SCINTILLATING Celtic demolished Dundee United in a breathtaking performance at Tannadice this afternoon.
Crackshot Kyogo Furuhashi and lethal Liel Abada both claimed hat-tricks in the team’s relentless drive in an unstoppable and irresistible performance with the title kings storming back to the Premiership pinnacle with two points to spare.
Poor Jack Ross and his players. They were simply pulverised as the champions swept their opponents aside with a mesmerising variety of attacks as they stormed down on helpless Carl Johan Eriksson and his overworked defenders in a punishing, eye-catching display.
HAT-TRICK HEROES…Liel Abada and Kyogo Furuhashi are acclaimed by the ecstatic Celtic travelling support after their three-goal shows.
It was an absolute delight to see Ange Postecoglou’s side click through the gears as they put on a Sunday best show to claim a record high scoreline for a Premiership away confrontation.
Filipe Jota and defenders Josip Juranovic and Carl Starfelt were the other marksmen as the Parkhead side came within inches of double figures minutes from time, but a 20-yard drive from Callum McGregor swept just a whisker wide of the left-hand upright.
Kyogo got the ball rolling in the 15th minute following a delay of almost seven minutes after keeper Joe Hart had been kicked on the head by rampaging Steven Fletcher after he had made a brilliant save to deny Glenn Middleton inside two minutes.
The Hoops rearguard switched off for a moment as United took a throw-in down at the corner flag on the left.
HART SCARE…grounded keeper Joe Hart has his head injury attended to by the Celtic staff.
The ball fell to the feet of the home forward and he spun before whipping in a netbound effort. Hart displayed astonishing reflexes to get down to his left to push the ball away.
As he pounced on the rebound, Fletcher flew in hoping to cash in on the ricochet. Unfortunately, he caught the netminder on the top of his head and was booked by referee Steven McLean for dangerous play.
Thankfully, Hart, with blood flowing from the wound, recovered after lengthy treatment.
The Hoops then took the game to the opposite end and there was no surprise when Kyogo struck for the opening goal of an extraordinary first-half hat-trick.
NUMBER ONE…Kyogo Furuhashi takes careful aim before whipping in a low shot for the opening goal.
Abada sliced open the United rearguard with a superb pass to Jota running free on the left. The Portuguese ace sized up the situation in the penalty box in a heartbeat and first-timed a perfect ball in front of his Japanese team-mate.
The frontman took a touch before flashing a low drive wide of the helpless Eriksson.
It got even better for the fans’ favourite in the 40th minute when he claimed a Goal of the Season contender.
The visitors were zipping passes around with crispness and accuracy as their opponents chased shadows.
NUMBER TWO…Kyogo is carried high by Matt O’Riley as Filipe Jota joins in after the Japanese striker’s astouding second strike.
Matt O’Riley put pressure on a defender as the ball rolled in front of Kyogo and from 25 yards he simply arced an unsaveable shot up and over the hands of the stranded United keeper.
It was a special goal from the Hoops star and his smile told everyone he knew it, too.
Kyogo celebrated a superb trio two minutes into first-half stoppage-time when O’Riley knocked over a delightful cross to Abada who set up the pacy attacker who made no mistake from close range.
NUMBER THREE…Kyogo shows a net profit as he signals his hat-trick to the supporters.
NUMBER FOUR…Filipe Jota leaves Dundee United keeper Carl Johan Eriksson helpless with a perfect finish.
Six minutes into added-on time, it was Jota’s turn to get on the scoresheet when O’Riley and Abada combined again to set up the opportunity and the Portuguese ace couldn’t miss from smack in front of goal.
Remorseless Celtic continued the second-half as they had finished the first and it was Abada’s turn to claim the strike with the fifth goal when he finished off an exquisite move between McGregor, Jota and O’Riley in the 50th minute.
Five minutes later, Eriksson was fishing the ball from the back of his net for a sixth time. O’Riley had a free-kick blocked, but the ball ricocheted to Juranovic who whipped a low right-foot drive into the keeper’s left-hand corner.
NUMBER FIVE…Liel Abada has lift-off from Matt O’Riley after claiming the first of his trio.
NUMBER SIX…Josip Juranovic sends a sweet right-foot drive through the United defence.
NUMBER SEVEN…Liel Abada knocks the ball into the net from close range.
Abada made it a magnificent seven four minutes afterwards when he materialised at the back post to tuck away a left-wing cross from Reo Hatate after some excellent work from Jota.
Postecoglou took the opportunity to make wholesale changes in the 62nd minute when he put on Aaron Mooy, David Turnbull, James Forrest and Daizen Maeda for O’Riley, Hatate, Jota and Kyogo.
Later on, Alexandro Bernabei made a little piece of history as the first Argentinian player to turn out for Celtic when he replaced Abada in the 78th minute.
NUMBER EIGHT…Liel Abada completes his hat-trick with a cheeky effort over the stranded United keeper.
NUMBER NINE…Carl Starfelt races away after his header had zipped into the net to bring down the curtain on a spectacular scoring spree by the Celts.
Only moments beforehand, the lively Israeli winger had completed his hat-trick with a clever dink over Eriksson after wonderful lead-up play from Mooy and Maeda.
And, with nine minutes to go, Carl Starfelt got in on the act with a perfectly-timed 10-yard header from a Turnbull right-wing corner-kick delivery.
The fans chanted: “We want ten.” And the champions did their best to comply with their wishes.
TAYSIDE TERRORS…Callum McGregor leads his Celtic players on a lap of honour after their irresistible display.
Turnbull saw a header over the keeper come down on the line and spin bizarrely to safety and then McGregor just missed the target with his scorching first-time effort.
It was a landslide on Tayside and just the preparation Celtic required for the Premier Sports League Cup-tie against Ross County in Dingwall in midweek and the first Glasgow derby of the campaign at Parkhead on Saturday.
Bring them on!
TEAM: Hart; Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; O’Riley (sub: Mooy 62), McGregor, Hatate (sub: Turnbull 62); Abada (sub: Bernabei 78), Kyogo (sub: Maeda 62), Jota (sub: Forrest 62).