Celtic collected all three points in one of their most comfortable away performances of the season at Dunfermline this afternoon. Anthony Stokes and Victor Wanyama gave them a half time lead before a Charlie Mulgrew free kick completed the rout in the second half.
Mulgrew set pieces, the source of four consecutive goals, have become important to Celtic recently and could have led to an opener in 12 minutes when Thomas Rogne was wrestled to the ground inside the Dunfermline by Barrowman, who used both arms to prevent the Norwegian getting on the end of the corner, but referee Ian Brines, who had a particularly poor game, along with his assistants, missed the incident.
Five minutes later Celtic were in the lead when Mulgrew’s short corner was worked out to Anthony Stokes who shot from the 18 yard line into the postage stamp corner, giving goalkeeper, Chris Smith no chance.
Moments later Stokes, Hooper and Forrest combined well before Stokes tried a cheeky shot to Smiths’ near post. Celtic were now in full flow and Wanyama saw his shot from 25 yards tipped over by Smith. Five minutes from half time Celtic were in easy street. Charlie Mulgrew free kick from 28 yards was met inside the six yard box by Victor Wanyama who volleyed into the net.
Dunfermline almost caught Celtic snoozing within 60 seconds of the second goal when Barrowman knocked a through ball onto Burns but his shot was saved by Fraser Forster.
11 minutes after the break a Mulgrew free kick made its way left to Ledley who clipped a cross for Hooper but the strikers’ header went narrowly wide. On the hour mark James Forrest ran at Dunfermline from 50 yards but his cutback from six yards didn’t find a taker in the middle and slipped past the post.
High winds played their part today and almost caught out Rogne and Forster who struggled with a high ball that held up but Dunfermline couldn’t profit.
Charlie Mulgrew completed the scoring on 69 minutes with a free kick from 28 yards. Dunfermline keeper, Smith, should have done better as the ball went into the middle of the goal just under the bar.
Samaras linked with Brown to carve an opening but his shot was blocked. The ball broke to James Forrest who shot from outside the box but Smith made no mistake this time, turning the ball over for a corner. Mulgrew fired in the resulting corner and Ki found a yard of space 11 yards out but his shot went narrowly wide.
Ki Sung-Yueng made no contact in a tackle with Paddy Boyle, the Dunfermline player hurdled his challenge, but then grabbed and threw Ki by the throat. Ki never retaliated, no doubt expecting the referee to show Boyle a red card, but instead Brines booked both players. It was perhaps the most ridiculous refereeing decision of the season.
Emilio Izaguirre made his long-awaited return from breaking his leg at Pittodrie in August but almost marked his performance with a negative contribution. Having controlled the ball he then tried to dribble out of his own six yard box but was fortunate not to be punished.