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JOHANSEN PRAISES DEFENCE

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STEFAN JOHANSEN yesterday scored the killer second goal against Dundee to send Celtic into the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.
And the Norwegian midfielder immediately thanked the Hoops defence for making it possible.
Comeback keeper Craig Gordon hasn’t conceded a goal in 10 hours and 55 minutes as the SPFL champions have bolted the back door. Indeed Celtic have yet to concede in either of the two domestic cup competitions this season.
Johansen, who put in a Man of the Match performance at Dens Park, said: “Craig, Virgil Van Dijk and Jason Denayer have a great understanding at the back.
“We haven’t lost a goal since before Christmas and that underlines how impressive they are.
“Craig, Virgil and Jason are so solid in the middle of our rearguard and are a great foundation for us.
“I’m delighted to say the midfield is doing its job, too.
“In fact, there are quality players throughout the team.
“Leigh Griffiths has started the last two games and scored in them both. He is in very good form at the moment.”
The former Hibs frontman is keeping the likes of John Guidetti, who has now gone 10 games without a goal, and £2.2million man Stefan Scepovic on the substitutes’ bench.
He added: “I just want to keep this run going. It was great to score the first goal again.
“It was a superb ball in from Mikael Lustig from the right.
“Manager Ronny Deila wants his strikers to get across to the front post.
“I did that and, thankfully, my header nestled in the back of the net.
“We knew Dundee would be dangerous on the counter-attack, but our defence handled that threat well.
“It’s another clean sheet, so I can only say well done to them.”
Ironically, the last player to put the ball behind Gordon is Stuart Armstrong when he scored the winner for Dundee United at Tannadice on December 21.
Gary Mackay-Steven played that afternoon, too, and, of course, both are now Celtic players after the transfer night double swoop by Deila.
Johansen added: “The manager has been talking about the Treble and he has let us all know that is what he wants.
“But that is what the players want, too. You play at Celtic to win trophies.
“The three domestic trophies are what we are going for.”
 
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