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STALEMATE AT DENS PARK

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DUNDEE 0 CELTIC 0

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CELTIC fired blanks for the second consecutive game against Dundee at Dens Park tonight and failed to take full advantage of their game in hand over Aberdeen.

Ronny Deila’s side were held to a goalless draw in Glasgow last month and Paul Hartley guided his team to an identical scoreline on a frustrating evening for the Hoops on Tayside.

With six games to go, the champions are five points ahead of the Dons who have a dangerous trip to Tynecastle to face Hearts coming up on Friday as the title race continues to twist and turn to its eventual conclusion.

The Dens Park outfit once again set up to frustrate their visitors and, by gaining a point, they will say it worked. For entertainment value purposes, though, it flopped although they are hardly likely to be complaining.

Thirty-five goal Leigh Griffiths failed to get on the scoresheet for the third successive encounter and that will be a worry for striker, his manager and the fans.

Patrick Roberts, the two-goal star of the show in the 3-1 weekend win over Hearts, tried his best to help out and was the first to try his luck, but his finishing effort flew over the bar from the edge of the penalty box.

Griffiths, though, had a chance when he squeezed between ex-Celt Darren O’Dea and Julen Etxabeguren, but keeper Scott Bain was alert to the danger and sprawled low to thwart the frontman.

Dundee broke to keep the Celtic back lot on their toes and Craig Gordon made a fine save from Nick Ross’ angled volley.

Scotland No.1 Gordon was again called into action again when he saved low down from Rory Loy’s powerful effort.unspecified-10

Erik Sviatchenko should, have hit the target when he headed a corner-kick over the the crossbar before Gary Mackay-Steven lashed an 18-yard effort high and wide.

Two minutes from the break, it looked as though Stefan Johansen had broken the dark blue barrier. Kieran Tierney’s cross found him in space, but his shot took a deflection before hitting the upright. It was cruel luck on the Parkhead men and good fortunate for the hosts.

But it was Celtic who got a break on the hour mark when Loy hit the post after Gordon had pushed away a fierce volley from Paul McGowan.

There were some frantic scenes in the Dundee penalty area as the Hoops surged forward and Ross was forced to clear off his line while O’Dea nodded over his own bar after substitute Charlie Mulgrew, on for the injured Sviatchenko, had headed goalwards.

Skipper Scott Brown had tounspecified-2 take over at right-back when Mikael Lustig went off in the 64th minute and Deila threw on Colin Kazim-Richards to add more firepower to the attack.

Alas, the frontman, signed on a two-and-a-half year deal from Feyenoord in January, is still searching for his first league goal for the club and looks well off the pace.

Two points dropped? Or one point gained? Only time will tell, but manager Deila has much work to do to prepare his team for the game against rejuvenated Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig (sub: Kazim-Richards 64), Sviatchchenko (sub: Mulgrew 60), Boyata, Tierney; Brown, Johansen; Roberts, Bitton, Mackay-Steven (sub: Armstrong 88); Griffiths.

 

 
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