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Found 96 results

  1. andrak

    Enough Is Enough

    That they were, again, so comprehensively thumped by one of the bigger boys in the CL playground saddens me a little more. But something about the other night made me angry writes Andrew Keith. That they were, again, so comprehensively thumped by one of the bigger boys in the CL playground saddens me a little more. But something about the other night made me angry. Not the players, their effort, or even the schoolboy defending. Not the semi-ritualistic way these games are presented on TV or the ludicrous hype that is generated by the commentators and pundits. What offends me is the casual referencing of the weakness of the game and players in Scotland as a key reason why Celtic struggle against the best teams, and the implicit suggestion that if only their domestic opponents were more skilful, Celtic’s Champions League training friendlies schedule, aka the SPFL Premiership, might prepare them better for these big games. Pat Bonner said it outright. The weakness of the SPFL is the problem. Several others made the point that Celtic defenders never get the chance to play against top strikers in their own league and are, therefore, somehow unable to cope with it when they do. Others claim that Celtic are so used to being in possession of the ball and winning games easily at home, that when they face a top-quality opponent, they are suddenly caught like a rabbit in headlights without the faintest clue what to do. I don’t know enough about the tactics of modern football or the language used to describe systems of play to critique that in footballing terms, but I do have a reasonable grasp of what constitutes bullshit. And so much of what our journalists, TV commentators, and pundits say, on occasions like this, is definitely it. I blame Celtic for their own failings and the executive branch of Scottish football for facilitating that failure. Here’s how. In my opinion, professional football in Scotland has been organised around a single goal. To generate Scottish success in the Champions League. A good way to achieve that is to ensure that Scottish teams get plenty exposure to that league. The best way to ensure that is to make sure that the same team, or teams, gain regular entry into it. The way to make that happen is to organise the league such that it is unthinkable that any other team could win it. How might you do that without making it obvious what your intentions are? Well, first, you lay the financial ground. Allow teams to keep their home gate receipts. That way, clubs are kept in their place, the big two stay big, the middle six to eight, not so big, and the rest, remain almost irrelevant. To further entrench the financial status quo, you need to ensure that income from domestic sources (particularly TV money) is kept low enough to stop any other club paying for a team above their station, but not so low that mid-sized clubs go out of business. Next, you would have to ensure that the rules stay in place long enough for the plan to work. Give the two big clubs the right of veto over rule changes. The masterminds of the plan have to be kept in office for as long as possible and committee members must be carefully selected. A generous portion of executives from the big two, and a fair sprinkling of others too afraid of their own clubs going to the wall to bother about grand generation-long master-plans, should guarantee no one rocks the boat too much. Allow a rogue committee member to challenge things every now and again to make it look good for the punters, safe in the knowledge that no permanent damage can be done to the plan. But what if something unexpected happened to one of the big clubs? That could be tricky, right? The whole plan could be put in jeopardy. On the other hand, what is there to worry about when you have ensured that the decision makers are either on message or too concerned about their own teams’ survival to get in the way of a stitch up. Sure, we lost a few years, but it’ll soon get back on track. Journalists would get wind of this surely, or even be able to work it out for themselves, right? Well, in a profession that seems to have lost most of its towering intellects to be replaced by either agenda driven zealots or barely literate fan bloggers (like me, I suppose), we might be asking a little too much of them. In any case, the overwhelming coverage of the big two in the national media and the simple fact that promoting Celtic and Rangers sells advertising space means that they are, more or less, complicit, even if they don’t always realise it. At this point I’m beginning to sound like a mad conspiracy theorist, but as Spock would say “When all logical explanations have been discarded, the illogical explanation must be true.” Pat Bonner and those other pundits and commentators are right of course. Celtics failure against the big teams is the fault of the rest of Scottish football. Our players and teams aren’t good enough. But fault is a convoluted thing. It is not our fault because we are not good enough. It is our fault because we are not brave enough. Not brave enough to stand up to the powers running our game and put a stop to this madness. I have absolutely no evidence that there is such a master-plan, or that anyone at the SFA or SPFL has even considered any of these points or the consequences that might flow from them. I even have serious doubts that any of the current leadership have the intellectual capacity to dream up such a Machiavellian plot, let alone execute it. But one thing I do know is that Scottish football is not in a healthy place. Not even the handing over of Celtic’s next Champions League win bonus to Ross County, for giving them such a good run out the week before, would fix it. How glorious would it be for the other Scottish teams to be credited for Celtic’s CL victories (especially the big ones)? I imagine the words would get stuck in plenty of throats. Celtic win CL games despite Scottish Football and lose them because of it. That, in a nutshell, is where we are right now. All that is likely to change any time soon is that Rangers will join them again. Something has to change, if only because my TV won’t survive another shoe being thrown at it and my dog’s wee heart will surely give up if I’m incited to scream excitedly at some Celtic minded blowhard telling the world that my team is partly to blame for Celtic’s defence not being good enough to stop Neymar or Lewandowski, or some other top player. Next up, my thoughts on how to fix Scottish football in the shape of a ten-point plan. Ten Point Plan for Scottish Football Share gates 50/50. This is an essential first step in reversing the years of financial genocide that has been committed on all but two of our professional clubs in the last 30 odd years. Bring in a proportional voting system (based on a combination of league placing, number of professional players signed, average home attendance as a percentage of the population within 10 miles from the home stadium, and percentage of fan ownership) to stop the two richest and the next three or four richest clubs rigging things in their financial favour. Introduce financial fair play rules much stronger than UEFAs. Let’s punish clubs proportionately for being financially reckless so we don't have to completely crush them when it goes too wrong in the end. A crime of attempted administration or reckless endangerment towards a football club would do here. Encourage clubs to move to the German model of club ownership and operation, or at least limit ‘single investor’ ownership to 49%. Encourage local councils to get involved in club or facilities ownership (stadium, training facilities, parking, etc). I would ideally love to see wholly or partly council-owned sporting areas in towns and cities that contain facilities for all sports from beginner up to professional level. The proposed Caird Park development and the New Campy plans that will see football and ice hockey side by side are examples. Invest massively in several SFA run regional youth academies. Raise the age that children can be signed by club academies to 14 and make school marks a significant performance measure. Force clubs to guarantee academy players a minimum number of first or second team games before they are released. To give other clubs a chance to see them perform before they are dumped. Do you imagine that Celtic have such a large academy (http://www.celticfc.net/team/academy) only to produce one or two future Celtic players, could it be to stop other teams getting to them? Introduce international standard treatment and rehabilitation centres funded by the SPFL or SFA. Just like the NHS, in principle at least. Treatment costs or the insurance premiums must be crippling for most clubs and will stop them signing injury prone players or risking highly skilled players in games against 'industrial' type opponents. Consider withdrawing from European club competitions for a few years. The damage that regular failure against apparent European minnows inflicts on our young players season after season must be deep and painful. Consider introducing some kind of handicapping system based on income in cup and league competitions. The greater the income the lower the handicap that is reduced from your points or goals total, like golf, although not quite as brutal. Enough to give smaller clubs from the lower divisions a non-financial reason to want to get into the top league, but, sadly, not enough on its own to stop the ugly sisters from winning it anyway. OK, the last two are a bit far-fetched. But, if we are to move football into a new dawn, we need to have radical ideas and proposals that challenge the complacent and narrow-minded approach of our current football leadership. If our primary measure of success for Scottish Football is little more than how far Celtic get in the Champions League, then we are in big trouble. Celtic don’t share their wealth with other clubs except in their away support for matches. We all subsidise Celtic (and no doubt soon to be again, Rangers) to one degree or another: by the low fees they pay for our best players, by the priority they get over TV revenues, by the hoovering up of the best young talent in the country, by the way the football authorities allow them to act with near impunity when other clubs would be and are punished severely, by their near total domination of column inches in the sports pages of our national newspapers (and sometimes our local ones too). by the lack of respect for Scottish football resulting from the bigotry displayed by fans of both clubs. I could go on……… Let’s hope we can find leaders who are prepared to tackle the underlying issues. So far, all I have seen or heard, is a few calls for changing the menu in the restaurant and adding a few more deck games as our Scottish Football Titanic steams, still, towards colder waters where there be icebergs.
  2. TheDarkBlues

    Celtic FC

    The Celtic Football Club is a professional football club based in Glasgow, Scotland, which plays in the Scottish Premiership. The club was founded in 1887 with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the immigrant Irish population in the East End of Glasgow. They played their first match in May 1888, a friendly match against Rangers which Celtic won 5–2. Celtic established itself within Scottish football, winning six successive league titles during the first decade of the 20th century. The club enjoyed their greatest successes during the 1960s and 70s under Jock Stein when they won nine consecutive league titles and the 1967 European Cup. Celtic have won the Scottish league championship 49 times, most recently in 2017–18, which was their seventh consecutive championship. They have won the Scottish Cup 38 times and the Scottish League Cup 17 times. The club's greatest season was 1966–67, when Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup, also winning the Scottish league championship, the Scottish Cup, the League Cup and the Glasgow Cup. Celtic also reached the 1970 European Cup Final and the 2003 UEFA Cup Final, losing in both. Celtic have a long-standing fierce rivalry with Rangers, and the clubs are known as the Old Firm, seen by some as the world's biggest football derby. The club's fan base was estimated in 2003 as being around nine million worldwide, and there are more than 160 Celtic supporters clubs in over 20 countries. An estimated 80,000 fans travelled to Seville for the 2003 UEFA Cup Final.
  3. UWTB1893

    Dundee 1 - 2 Celtic

    Celts beat Dee to close in on title Jozo Simunovic and Stuart Armstrong scored as Celtic beat Dundee 2-1 at Dens Park in the SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership to stretch their unbeaten run to 36 matches and move to within one win of their sixth consecutive title. Faissal El Bakhtaoui scored a late stunner for the hosts but it wasn’t enough for Paul Hartley’s men, who remain in eighth position.
  4. TheDarkBlues

    Celtic 2 - 1 Dundee

    Celtic maintain winning run with victory over Dee Goals from Leigh Griffiths and Nir Bitton earned all three points for Celtic and extended their winning run to 11 games as they beat Dundee 2-1 at Celtic Park in the SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership. Marcus Haber’s second half goal for the visitors set up a frantic finish but Paul Hartley's men couldn't find the equaliser.
  5. TheDarkBlues

    Dundee 0 - 1 Celtic

    Scott Brown gets Celtic a win at Dundee Inspirational skipper Scott Brown's second-half strike gave Celtic a narrow but deserved 1-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win over Dundee at Dens Park. Brendan Rodgers side went into the game on the back of an epic 3-3 home draw with Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday night and unsurprisingly they dipped below that level on Tayside.
  6. UWTB1893

    Celtic 1 - 0 Dundee

    Olivier Ntcham's second-half strike was enough to give Celtic a 1-0 over Dundee at Celtic Park.
  7. Neill McCann is looking to strengthening his squad in time for tomorrows game against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park and is looking to Celtic Youngster Calvin Miller to provide cover for Nathan Ralph. The 20 year old left-back signed a new two year contract with the Hoops earlier this week and looks to be joining The Dark Blues on a season long loan. Miller signed for Celtic at the age of 12, he was in the squad which won the Scottish Youth Cup in 2015 and scored in the composition's 2017 final. The Celtic youngster made his league debut against Partick Thistle on 20th December 2016, but did not feature again for the Hoops until August 2017 when Celtic played Kilmarnock in a 5 - 0 win. Miller who was considered more of a winger/forward, was played as a left-back during this game by Brendon Rodgers, who now hopes the youngster will 'flourish' in this new role of left-back. He went on two play another two times in this position against St Johnstone and Kilmarnock. With the return of Emilio Izaguirre on a one year deal, Celtic Manager is looking for the youngster to go out on loan and get more game time. Miller has played for the Scottish under 15's, 16's and 17s, playing a total of 25 games and scoring on three occasions. Last year the Dark Blues loaned Scott Allan from Celtic on a seasons loan. However, Scott Allan's time at Dens was spent either injured or mostly on the bench, and in January window he made the switch to Hibernian, with Simon Murray coming the other way.
  8. The scene was set. Blizzard conditions had laid siege to Scotland in the days leading up to this final and with the national energy crisis that stemmed from the miners strike, it was agreed that the kick-off time would be brought forward to 1.30pm in case the match went to extra-time and would need the extra daylight. In all, it took the teams coach three hours to reach Glasgow and there was even reports of Dundee supports busses being sent back by the Police who told them the game had been called off. Thankfully for the Dee, this would not be the case. The 70's would often see Dundee drawn against Celtic in the cup competitions, with the Glasgow club coming out on top in near enough all of them. In the League Cup we seen Celtic eliminate Dundee in the Quarter Finals in 1970, 72 and 78. While in the Scottish Cup, we would fall to them in the Semi-Final in 1970, 73, 74, 75 and 77. An exit to them would also occur in the fourth round in 1972. 1973 would however have a different ending, much to the delight of the Dark Blues. Despite neither club wanting the match to go ahead, Bobby Davidson would give the tie the green light to kick off in what would be his fifth League Cup Final to officiate in. His last came in 1967 when Celtic beat Dundee 5-3 which was looked upon as one of the best games of that season. So the game kicked off in front of a crowd of 29,974, the lowest ever for a final in this competition, with the conditions worsening. The pitch had took a battering and this effected the way Celtic played and by half time, Dundee were the ones who had created the better and more chances. It was in the second half that we would see one of the clubs make the breakthrough and that club would be Dundee! There was only fourteen minutes left to play when Bobby Wilson took a free-kick from the halfway line which landing at Gordon Wallace who had his back to the Celtic goal. With Celtic shirts surrounding him, the striker took the ball on his chest, before turning and placing the ball behind Ally Hunter. The Dark Blues would hold out and when the final whistle went, players and supporters would forget all about the appalling conditions surrounding them and start celebrating the club lifting it's first piece of silverware since Dundee won the league in 1961-62. It was the fifth major honour the club had won and also the third time they have came away celebrating success in this tournament. Gordon Wallace was asked about his goal and his reply was: "Ach, I just turned and hit it!" The players would celebrate the night away in the old Angus Hotel but a few of them would sneak away from the reception to secretly visit former coach Jim McLean who they feel, helped improve the team. McLean had of course took over the hot seat at rivals Dundee United in 1971. Unsurprisingly, Dundee manager Davie White wasn't impressed at all with this and fined each player. None the less, it was a great achievement for the club but it would also be the clubs last so far. Trips to Hampden have been few and far between and with no major silverware lining the cabinets of Dens Park since, fans like myself often look back at this victory with immense pride but with even more frustration that the club has been starved of any success since. Still, that Dundee team of Allan, Wilson, Gemmell, Ford, Stewart, Phillip, Duncan, Robinson, Wallace, J. Scott, Lambie will be fondly remembered.
  9. After grabbing a point against Hearts on Easter Sunday, the Dee travelled to Glasgow with a spring in their step and managed to capitalise on it by producing a solid display that resulted in an unlikely, yet thoroughly deserved, clean sheet and point at a venue we haven't been victorious at since 2001. Manager Neil McCann was ecstatic with his players 'exceptional' performance and was quick to praise everyone of them. “To a man we were exceptional and the willingness to work for each other was great, we had a huge trust in the game plan and followed up on a terrific performance against Hearts, even though we had to alter how we approached the game, but I thought we were well worth a point tonight. “Mark O’Hara has a great performance out wide, and it’s a great chance at the end where you hope one of your strikers might get a toe on it, but I can’t be too unhappy with a point. “There’s not many teams that will come here and get that. Brendan made all 3 subs and went for it but we stayed organised. “It’s a great point. If you look at how structured and solid the team was, we should be coming here confident and believing in the work we put in, they never really cut us open and Elliot pulled some great saves off. “I’m delighted that Steven is still here, and it’s a big accolade that he wants to stay here after the offer. He said he wasn’t interested and I daresay that’s had a positive effect in the dressing room. “I’m so happy for the team and the fans tonight!”
  10. When Glen Kamara walked through the doors of Dens Park last summer, he was a virtual unknown with the Dark Blue faithful and Scotland in general. However, he very quickly won over the supporters and has become a fans favourite due of his silky football skills on the park. The former Arsenal player went on to win 'The Players Player award' and the 'Andrew De Vries Player of the Year' last Sunday, at the annual DSA Player of the year awards last Sunday. His skills have not gone unnoticed by other clubs either, the Sun newspaper has reported that a number of clubs, including Celtic and Rangers are apparently after his signature. There also have been rumours that clubs South of the border are expected to table a bid for the 22 year old. Dundee are currently in talks over a new contract and Neil McCann has stated that he 'doesn't want him going anywhere' and that Dundee FC are doing everything they can to tie the in demand midfielder to a longer deal at Dens Park. The Dundee manager stated at a 'Fans Q&A' that Dundee FC won't accept anything but a 'serious cash offer for the midfielder and are in talks to extend his contract at Dens Park. “Glen hasn’t gone under the radar so we’re not ignorant to the fact he will attract attention. “So I am not in a position to say he won’t go because if a big bid comes in for him the club can use that to make itself better. “But I don’t want Glen to go anywhere and he won’t be going anywhere unless it’s right for this club. “It will need to be some serious cash. Glen won’t walk out of Dens Park unless this club gets a very big deal. We are currently speaking to Glen and have been for a wee bit now. “I met him the other week for breakfast before he went on holiday because he’s been called up to the Finnish squad again. That’s another feather in the club’s cap because he’s become a full international here at this club, not Arsenal. I’ve spoken to him and he’s loved his time here, so he’s not in any rush to get away and those talks will continue.”
  11. The ref against Motherwell was Nick Walsh. How did you rate his performance in this game?
  12. TheDarkBlues

    Celtic 0 - 0 Dundee

    There is no match report yet. Please come back later.
  13. Who was your man of the match against Celtic in today's game?
  14. The ref against Celtic was Alan Muir . How did you rate his performance in this game?
  15. UWTB1893

    Celtic: The View From The Opposition

    It's been a while since we last took on Celtic so there is no better time to catch up with Focus On Celtic to hear what they had to say. After taking a 1-0 lead to Russia, Celtic would be eliminated 3-1 on aggregate in the Europa League. No doubt you would be disappointed in the exit for the competition but was it much of a surprise considering Celtics away form on the continent? Celtic don’t have a great record on the road in Europe, so the result wasn’t a surprise in that sense. What has surprised the fans is that the same line up that beat Zenit could play so badly the next week. Each goal came from individual errors too. You bounced back with a victory over Aberdeen and even managed to double your lead while down to ten-men. A defeat here would have made the top of the table a bit more compact so it must have been a bit of a relief to keep the nine-point gap? A relief might be a bit strong. I was already comfortable that we could win the league, especially with the European distraction out of the way, but it was nice to bounce back with a good win, even if it wasn’t pretty at times. The big talking point this transfer window involved both clubs and Jack Hendry. It went down to the wire but the transfer that involved Scott Bain, Scott Allan, Simon Murray and Jack Hendry went through with minutes to go. Were you happy with the purchase? Dundee fans were ultimately disappointed but when you consider he had only been with us for 6 months, I guess the club couldn’t turn down that type of money. He’s been handed the No.4 shirt so Rodgers clearly thinks he will be a mainstay in the defence. How has he played so far? I have seen very little of Hendry to be honest. I have seen him play in perhaps two Dundee games that weren’t against Celtic. From what I have seen he is comfortable on the ball, but could probably learn a lot with an experienced head next to him. I think he’ll be on the fringes of the first team for the rest of the season, but he’ll play a big part next season. Rodgers clearly rates him, and identified him as a target fairly early on, so I’m not sure why it took until the last few hours of the window to sign him. The treble is still very much. How confident are you that Rodgers can make it another clean sweep this season? On paper Celtic are in with a very good chance of winning the treble, and I’m quietly confident of doing that. Trebles are very difficult though, and not many have been won, so I’m not counting my chickens. Celtic are more than capable of an off day this season, but I’m hoping that no more European football this season means less rotation, and more of a settled side. Dundee will visit Parkhead with only one defeat on the road since the end of December. Can we come away with a result on Wednesday or will Celtic prove to be too much for the Dark Blues? Dundee Played very well at Celtic Park last time out and could have nicked a point if it wasn’t for de Vries. I expect Dundee to be very disciplined and will try and contain Celtic, then perhaps try and nick a goal from a set piece or counter-attack. I just think that Celtic will have too much for you, so I’m going for a 2-0 Celtic win.
  16. TheDarkBlues

    Celtic V Dundee Ticket Information

    Tickets are available from the ticket office in person, by phone on 01382 767039 or via the Dundee Football club official website (booking fees apply) Prices as follows: Prices for this match are £27.00 (Full View), £24.00 (Restricted View) Under 16s and over 65 are £17 (Full View), £14.00 ( Restricted View) Under 13s are £10 (Full View), £7 (Restricted View) Buy Tickets Online
  17. TheDarkBlues

    Dundee 0 - 2 Celtic

    There is no match report yet. Please come back later. Game is live on BT Sports
  18. UWTB1893

    Boxing Day Defeat for the Dee

    James Forrest gave Celtic an early lead and this was followed up with a Leigh Griffiths strike to all but seal the points for the Glasgow club before half time. “I thought we lacked a bit of aggression in our play, said McCann." “The application and workrate was there but we lacked bite and sat off Celtic too much. When you do that, they are a real dangerous side. “I thought after we lost the first goal, which disappointed me because we talked about how Celtic launch their attacks, we had a little spell. “We passed the ball and Celtic were off it again but then we lost a sloppy second goal, it was a terrible one actually. “Faissal (El Bakhtaoui) needs to be stronger, it wasn’t a good pass and we give possession away. “Celtic then hit us on the counter-attack. “We needed to up the aggression levels in the second half but we didn’t really do that, we maybe lacked a wee bit of belief that we could get into the game. “I won’t be too hard on them because we have had three tough games lately. “We have one more then we will get in to the winter break.”
  19. TheDarkBlues

    Dundee 1 - 2 Celtic

    The Dark Blues made two changes to the team that lost in Perth; Kevin Gomis and Tom Hateley came in for Kosta Gadzhalov and Craig Wighton, who were on the bench. Celtic also brought in two fresh faces, with Jozo Simunovic and Callum McGregor replacing Erik Sviatchenko and Nir Bitton. Celtic looked dangerous right from the start and dominated possession throughout the first half. The visitors’ movement, passing and control constantly threatened Dundee who had to be at the top of their defensive game to keep Celtic at bay. The Dark Blues stuck manfully to their task, keeping their concentration, staying organised and preventing Celtic from turning domination into goalscoring chances. Celtic won a succession of free kicks around 30 to 40 yards from Scott Bain’s goal, in prime Leigh Griffith’s territory but happily the former Dee was on the bench. Celtic couldn’t exploit any of these free kicks, or make anything of their many corners until the very end of the first half. As the clock ticked into injury time Celtic won three corners in quick succession. From the second Paul McGowan stopped Dedryck Boyata’s header on the goal-line. But when the third corner was cleared, Stuart Armstrong found James Forrest, wide on the right. Forrest recovered from Cammy Kerr’s challenge to cross for Jozo SIMUNOVIC, whose slightly mishit half volley from 12 yards deflected off Kevin Gomis and Scott Bain couldn’t re-adjust quickly enough to keep the ball out. Dundee started the second half with a 25 yard free kick from Kevin Holt that evaded the defensive wall, but was easily saved by Craig Gordon. Following that brief threat to their goal Celtic resumed their smooth dominanation of the game. Six minutes after the break they extended their lead with a goal of beautifully executed simplicity. James Forrest jinked past Kevin Holt to reach the byline and his perfect cross to the near post was glanced home by Stuart ARMSTRONG’s header. The game seemed to have slipped beyond the Dark Blues, but to their great credit the players battled their way back into contention. Craig Wighton came on for James Vincent as Dundee started to exert pressure on Celtic’s defence for the first time. Dundee were aided by slackness from Celtic’s defence who were guilty of some careless passing as they tried to play their way up the field in the face of fierce Dundee pressing. Kieran Tierney gifted possession to Paul McGowan who raced forward and set up Marcus Haber, who had only Gordon to beat. From 16 yards the Canadian international sent his shot narrowly wide with the whole crowd expecting the net to bulge. For the next 15 minutes play swung from end to end in exciting fashion. Celtic tried to kill the game off and the Dark Blues fought hard to claw their way back into the match. The visitors reached the byline twice in quick succession, but neither Tierney nor Sinclair could find a teammate with their cutbacks. After 74 minutes Faissal El Bakhtaoui replaced Henrik Ojamaa, and within a minute he scored a goal of stunning quality. Mark O’Hara took a quick free kick on the half way line. He played it short to EL BAKHTAOUI, who spun away from Boyata and raced for goal. Before the Celtic defence had the chance to close him down he hit an unstoppable shot over Gordon and into the top corner from 25 yards. The goal briefly silenced the away fans, injected life into the home support and transformed the match. Celtic had looked capable of coasting to the final whistle. It was now crystal clear that coasting was no longer a viable option. The last 20 minutes, including injury time, were an enthralling spectacle. Moussa Dembele had a fleeting moment of space in the Dee’s penalty area, but Darren O’Dea flung himself into the path of the shot, which ended up bouncing gently into Bain’s hands. Marcus Haber headed wide from 10 yards when Cammy Kerr lofted a high ball into the penalty area. After his spectacular goal El Bakhtaoui was desperate to get on the ball at every opportunity and he posed Celtic some tricky problems with his pace, control and sheer enthusiasm. The visitors tried to slow the pace of the game down and irritated referee Willie Collum with some timewasting that eventually brought a booking for Dembele. Celtic manager Brendan Rogers paid Dundee the compliment of removing an attacking player, Scott Sinclair, and sending on a defender, Erik Sviatchenko, for the last 10 minutes. In injury time Celtic managed to keep at bay a Dundee team that was down to 9 fit men by this stage. Both Kevin Holt and Marcus Haber were limping and unable to run, but with all the substitutes used they had to stay on the park. Celtic have been utterly dominant in domestic football this season, undefeated and having drawn only two games. Although Dundee have lost all three games there has been only a single goal in each match. The Dark Blues have made a thorough nuisance of themselves each time and Celtic have had to work hard to earn wins that were never certain till the final whistle. The last half hour today allowed the players and supporters to leave the ground with their heads held high and their pride intact. As with the other teams in the bottom six Dundee’s season has been blighted by inconsistency. That final 30 minutes set the standard that the Dee must try to emulate in the remaining nine games of the season. Dundee FC 4-5-1 Bain Kerr, O’Dea (c), Gomis, Holt O’Hara, McGowan, Vincent (Wighton 59), Hateley (Ross 68), Ojamaa (El Bakhtaoui 74). Haber Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Williams, Klok, Gadzhalov. Goal: El Bakhtaoui (75). Booked: McGowan (foul on McGregor), Gomis (foul on Dembele), O’Dea (foul on Sinclair), Holt (foul on Roberts). Celtic 4-2-3-1 Gordon Lustig, Boyata, Simunovic, Tierney McGregor (Kouassi 68), Brown Forrest (Roberts 72), Armstrong, Sinclair (Sviatchenko 83) Dembele Unused subs: Bailly (gk), Bitton, Griffiths, Gamboa. Goals: Simunovic (45+1), Armstrong (51). Booked: Brown (foul on McGowan), Dembele (timewasting), Kouassi (foul on Kerr). Attendance: 8,968 (3,999 away supporters). Referee: William Collum. Assistants: Douglas Ross, Frank Connor. Fourth official: Colin Steven. Report: James Christie.
  20. TheDarkBlues

    Celtic 2 - 1 Dundee

    Dundee had two changes, both in midfield. James Vincent and Danny Williams started instead of the suspended Paul McGowan and youngster Jesse Curran, who was on the bench. Celtic made five changes. Christian Gamboa, Emilio Izaguirre, Nir Bitton, Gary Mackay-Steven and Ryan Christie came in for Mikael Lustig, Darren McGregor, Scott Brown, Patrick Roberts and Moussa Dembele. The Dark Blues managed to keep Celtic away from Scott Bain's goal for the first few minutes, but soon the Hoops were attacking in waves. Dundee were being pushed back and forced to defend in depth, but for the most part they did so with composure. Celtic tried repeatedly to play their way round Dundee's wing backs, and did manage to work their way into dangerous positions a few times during the first half, but Dark Blue defenders were always able to reach the final ball first. Dundee had an escape after 10 minutes when Leigh Griffiths cleverly swapped passes with Tom Rogic before dinking the ball past Bain and against the post. Bain then had to beat away a curling 20 yarder from Stuart Armstrong as Celtic cranked up the pressure. Marcus Haber was usually left isolated as the Dee sat deep. It was hard for Dundee to break out of defence, and they struggled to hold onto the ball against Celtic's pressing when they tried to move forward. The Dark Blues had a more promising little spell in the middle of the first half. Tom Hateley was involved every time the Dee managed to build a move. After Celtic were casual in clearing a free kick he seized possession and drove a shot narrowly over the bar from 18 yards. Kevin Holt went equally close with a shot from similar distance, but his effort drifted just past the far post with keeper Craig Gordon at full stretch. The last 15 minutes of the first half were spent almost entirely in Dundee's half. Tom Rogic jinked into the penalty area before trying to bend his shot round Bain, who grabbed the ball at the second attempt. James Vincent almost scored what would have been an extremely unlucky own goal when Kosta Gadzhalov crashed a clearance against him and the ball ricocheted inches wide of the post. As the first half entered injury time Darren O'Dea fouled Tom Rogic 30 yards from goal in a position that looked ideal for the left foot of a certain ex-Dee. Sure enough Leigh GRIFFITHS stepped up to score with a sweetly struck shot over the wall that dipped just inside Bain's left hand post. There was barely time for Dundee to kick off before the half time whistle sounded, but there could be no begrudging Celtic a half time lead; they had been clearly the better side. The second half started in similar fashion and it looked like being a long afternoon for the travelling supporters. Celtic kept trying to work their way round Dundee's wing backs and twice they managed to spring Emilio Izaguirre free. The first time Kevin Holt managed to head clear, almost from under his crossbar. The second time the ball was scrambled clear only as far as Nir BITTON, 20 yards out, and he had space to send a curling shot around Bain for Celtic's second. With more than half an hour to go the outlook was bleak for the Dee. The Celtic fans were settling back waiting to be entertained as the Hoops put the Dark Blues to the sword. It certainly didn't pan out that way. Dundee dug deep and competed more than effectively for the rest of the game. After 63 minutes Mark O'Hara came on for Danny Williams, but playing a more central and attacking role. The Dark Blues were transformed and should have quickly pulled a goal back. Kevin Holt's dangerous low cross was scrambled clear for a corner. Tom Hateley swung the ball over to the far post where Marcus Haber headed against the post. Craig Wighton pounced on the rebound but didn't make a true enough connection with his shot and Stuart Armstrong cleared off the line. Dundee's goal was delayed only a couple of minutes longer. O'Hara ran through the midfield and hit a fine pass over the defence to Marcus HABER coming in from the left. The Canadian striker checked inside Christian Gamboa and his 12 yard shot took a deflection that left Gordon helpless. As the ball sailed into the net the small Dundee support celebrated, enjoying the delightful sound of silence from the rest of the ground. The Dark Blues were now pressing Celtic higher up the field and enjoying success from doing so. Celtic had lost a lot of their zip and were no longer pressing Dundee into losing possession, almost as if they had thought that the game had been won and they only had to charge forward to score more goals. Haber harried Bitton into losing the ball deep in the Celtic half, allowing Hateley to find O'Hara with a clever backheel. The substitute tried to curl his shot round Gordon from 18 yards, but the Celtic keeper saved comfortably. Faissal El Bakhtaoui replaced Tom Hateley for the last few minutes and should have equalised a minute from the end of normal time. Marcus Haber tried to burst through on goal on the end of an El Bakhtaoui pass and was tackled on the edge of the penaly area. El Bakhtaoui raced onto the loose ball and was clear, but from 12 yards he slipped his shot over the bar. That was the final chance of the match and a game that at one point had seemed out of Dundee's reach ended with the Dark Blues battling for an equaliser and Celtic happy to hear the final whistle. Celtic are by far the best team in Scotland these days and the Dundee players can take some satisfaction from giving them a tough game at their own ground. The defence in particular did very well and put in some excellent penalty box defending. The two goals that won the points for Celtic were well struck efforts from outside the penalty area. Once Dundee managed to press Celtic into mistakes and get forward to support Marcus Haber they did very well and clearly unsettled their hosts. A defeat is always disappointing, but this performance by the Dark Blues was a solid and respectable performance against the team that is threatening to run away with the Premiership title. Celtic 4-2-3-1 Gordon Gamboa, Simunovic, Sviatchenko, Izaguirre Bitton, Armstrong (c) Mackay-Steven (Sinclair 67), Rogic (McGregor, half time), Christie Griffiths (Dembele 78) Unused subs: de Vries (gk), Touré, Lustig, Roberts. Goals: Griffiths (45+2), Bitton (56). Booked: Simunovic (foul on O'Hara). Dundee FC 5-4-1 Bain Kerr, Gomis, Gadzhalov, O'Dea (c), Holt Wighton, Hateley (El Bakhtaoui 86), Vincent, Williams (O'Hara 63) Haber Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Loy, Etxabeguren, Ross, Curran. Goal: Haber (68). Booked: O'Dea (foul on Rogic). Attendance: to be announced. Referee: Bobby Madden. Assistants: Kylie McMullan, Gary Hilland. 4th official: Gavin Ross. Report: James Christie.
  21. TheDarkBlues

    Dundee 0 - 1 Celtic

    Paul Hartley made three changes from last week's defeat at Inverness. Mark O'Hara and Kevin Gomis returned from suspension while Danny Williams started after coming on as a substitute last Saturday. Nick Ross and Julen Etxebeguren moved onto the bench and Tom Hateley was injured. The Dee switched from their usual 4-3-2-1 to 3-5-2, with Kevin Holt joining Darren O'Dea and Kevin Gomis in the back line. Celtic's only change from last Saturday's win against Kilmarnock was Craig Gordon replacing Dorus De Vries in goal. Celtic were quickly onto the attack and forcing Dundee back. Tom Rogic had the first shot when his effort from 25 yards following a short free kick was deflected wide. The hard working Dark Blues were pressing Celtic high up the pitch, trying to force errors. Jordi Teijsse and Faissal El Bakhtaoui ran and challenged for everything. This always looked promising because the visitors' defence was often casual on the ball and liable to take unnecessary chances. After 13 minutes Scott Bain couldn't get enough of a touch when he punched Forrest's dangerous cross, but Scott Sinclair was crowded out before he could take advantage. That was the only slip from Bain in a match in which he was otherwise immaculate. The Dee keeper did well to pluck a Rogic free kick from just inside the angle of bar and post, making the save look easy. Celtic had ample possession throughout the first half, but struggled to find the final ball that would open up Dundee's well organised defence. Scott Brown went for the more direct approach, powering through the midfield before hitting a low shot narrowly wide. Aside from that Celtic lacked the sharpness we would normally expect from them, though the Dark Blues' defence deserved praise for the way they repeatedly foiled the visitors. Dundee's best moment was when El Bakhtaoui reached the byline with neat skill and dinked a cross to the near post where Teijsse, under pressure, couldn't get his header on target. The two big talking points of the first half were incidents in which both teams were relieved that referee Mr Dallas did not have a clear view. Cammy Kerr might have conceded a penalty for a challenge on Erik Sviatchenko, and Moussa Dembele would have been in trouble if an offical had spotted a silly swipe at Kevin Gomis's head. In the second minute of the second half another piece of forceful and direct play by Scott Brown created the opening from which Celtic scored the game's only goal. Brown started the move by running in from the left and switching the ball into the path of Dembele, whose shot was blocked by Darren O'Dea. The loose ball rebounded to BROWN and he calmly fired into the roof of the net from 10 yards. The first 10 minutes of the second half were a struggle for the Dark Blues as Celtic camped out in Dundee's half and there seemed a danger that the game might run away from the Dee. The players kept their heads, however, and dug their way back into the match. Dundee started to attack with more conviction but, frustratingly, none of the Dark Blues' attacks resulted in clear chances, though Celtic's defenders were often forced to clear desperately while under pressure. In the last half hour the game resumed the pattern of the first half, with Celtic having plenty of the ball, but unable to open up Dundee's defence. Former Dee Leigh Griffiths came off the bench, and his dummy opened up space on the edge of the penalty for Sinclair, but Bain saved comfortably. Jordi Teijsse continued to work and run tirelessly, creating constant problems for Celtic's defence with his physical presence, and taking a fair bit of punishment in return. He won more balls than he lost in the air. These rarely resulted in clean possession for the Dark Blues, but his efforts kept the ball in the danger area and stopped Celtic clearing easily. Midway through the half Craig Wighton came on as a straight replacement for Faissal El Bakhtaoui. In the last 10 minutes Nick Ross and Rory Loy replaced Nicky Low and Danny Williams as the Dark Blues switched to 4-3-3 to try to rescue a point. The Dark Blues' best moment of the second half came late on whem Cammy Kerr surged past two men in a race down the right. His low crossed flashed through the goalmouth with Mark O'Hara just unable to reach it, and that was as close as Dundee were to come. This was a big improvement on the lacklustre performance at Inverness last week. The champions were forced to battle right the way through the 94 minutes of the game to secure three points. Dundee were always competitive and there certainly can't be any faulting the efforts of the players who battled for everything, keeping their shape, concentration and discipline. Sadly they couldn't find the moment of inspiration or luck that would have brought some reward today. Dundee FC 3-5-2 Bain Gomis, O'Dea (c), Holt Kerr, McGowan, O'Hara, Low (Ross 80), Williams (Loy 83) El Bakhtaoui (Wighton 64), Teijsse Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Vincent, Etxabeguren, Quigley. Booked: Kerr (foul on Rogic), Williams (foul on Forrest). Celtic FC 4-2-3-1 Gordon Lustig, Sviatchenko, Simunovic, Tierney Brown (c), Bitton Forrest (Roberts 74), Rogic (Griffiths 64), Sinclair (Armstrong 84) Dembele Unused subs: De Vries (gk), Gamboa, Touré, McGregor. Goal: Brown (47) Booked: Bitton (foul on O'Hara). Attendance: 8,827. Referee: Andrew Dallas. Assistants: Willie Conquer, Gavin Harris. Fourth official: John McKendrick. Report: James Christie.
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