0 - 2
0 - 2
Georgios Samaras (5)
Anthony Stokes (24)
1. Radoslaw Cierzniak
5. Gavin Gunning
2. Seán Dillon
26. Andrew Robertson
12. Keith Watson
10. Stuart Armstrong
6. Paul Paton
8. John Rankin
9. Brian Graham
21. Nadir Çiftçi
18. Ryan Dow
Virgil van Dijk
25. Marc McCallum
20. John Souttar
16. Mark Wilson
19. Ryan Gauld
27. Morgaro Gomis
11. Gary Mackay-Steven
29. Farid El Alagui
Gary Mackay-Steven for Brian Graham (46)
Ryan Gauld for Ryan Dow (65)
Farid El Alagui for Nadir Çiftçi (80)
Leigh Griffiths for Liam Henderson (52)
Amido Baldé for Georgios Samaras (88)
Steven Mouyokolo for Stefan Johansen (90)
John Rankin (11)
Nadir Çiftçi (28)
Keith Watson (55)
Liam Henderson (30)
Stefan Johansen (49)
Craig Thomson (Referee)
The Tangerines had gone into this one in good form, having lost only once in their previous nine league games.
But the visitors started brightly and, after popping the ball around at pace in the early stages, they were soon rewarded. Beram Kayal won a free-kick inside the United half and Commons' angled delivery was perfect for Georgios Samaras, who beat Gavin Gunning to the ball and volleyed into the top corner from 12 yards. Gunning had a great chance to level minutes later but the defender blazed over from 15 yards, following a cross from Ryan Dow. Celtic began to dominate and duly doubled their advantage midway through the half with a wonderfully-executed team goal. Watson tried to boost United's attack in the second but could not find the net. After an expansive passing move, Anthony Stokes played a one-two with Commons on the edge of the area and burst past two defenders before firing high past Radoslaw Cierzniak. Nadir Ciftci's name was taken by referee Craig Thomson for a foul on Kayal, and SPFL young player of the month Liam Henderson quickly followed him into the book for a foul on the Turkish hitman. Ciftci created a half-chance for the home side just before the break with a fine pass over the Celtic defence, but Dow could not sort his feet out on the edge of the area.
United made a change at the break with Gary Mackay-Steven coming on for Brian Graham. The home side threatened early in the second half but Keith Watson failed to keep his header down when he found himself free in the box. Dow then latched on to a delightful Mackay-Steven pass before finishing past Fraser Forster, but the flag was up for offside. Leigh Griffiths came on for Celtic with Henderson making way, and the striker forced Cierzniak into a decent save minutes after his arrival. Watson dragged an effort narrowly wide from inside the area and Griffiths went close for the visitors with a curling effort from 20 yards that dropped just wide. Cierzniak then made a great stop with his feet as Commons found himself through on goal after great work by Virgil van Dijk. Mackay-Steven tried his luck with a low drive that Forster turned away and the Celtic goalkeeper then saved from Stuart Armstrong's long-range effort, ending United's hopes of reducing their deficit.
|Radoslaw Cierzniak (GK)||30||39||-||85||-|
|Gary Mackay-Steven (sub)||23||35||9||100||21|
|Ryan Gauld (sub)||18||32||8||44||9|
|Farid El Alagui (sub)||28||12||2||12||2|
No league table has been added for this season.
As we come to the business end of the season we are in the middle of a very testing and crucial period. Having played Aberdeen last week we are about to face both members of the Old Firm. And we go into today's game with Celtic in a good run of form having lost only once in our last eleven outings. In our last home game with Inverness Caley Thistle our play lacked its usual fluency although there is no doubt we can play better. Even then I think we were worth our two goal lead, although when they pulled one back out of the blue we were a bit nervy but held on with a degree of cpmfort. However, there was no questioning the work rate of the players, which ultimately earned us three important points. It was one of those games where the result was better than the performance as above all else it is important that we keep winning at home. Clearly last Saturday's game at Aberdeen was going to be a very difficult fixture, particularly as Nadir Ciftci and young Andrew Robertson were both suspended. However it proved to be a cracking game which we started very well but over the 90 minutes I have to concede a draw was a fair result. After Pates terrific opener we had chances to add a second or third goal but unfortunately this didn't happen. To be fair, the longer the half went on the more Aberdeen came into it and they were better than us for most of the second half. When you've got a goal cushion, you always seem to get deeper and deeper and we paid the price for that. Once again though I must complement all of our fans who travelled north in numbers and were vociferous in their backing. But home or away that has been the case all season and long may that continue.
In welcoming Celtic I must first of all congratulate them on winning the title. To be crowned champions so early is a great achievement. In the aftermath of a terrific performance at Firhill when they clinched the title they fell a bit flat last week when being held at home by Ross County. However Neil Lennon has stated that he wants to win all of their remaining games to establish a record points total. I wouldn't suggest that last week's result has given us encouragement but rather take confidence from our own two performances against them this season. When they were here way back at the start of the season we lost a tight game because of a very late goal and were only denied victory at Parkhead because of a stoppage time equaliser. However, we all know that if we are to go one better this afternoon, all the players must be at the top of their game to get a result to set us up nicely for next weeks Scottish Cup semi-final with Rangers.