March 27, 2023

Jota heads Celtic's opening goal
Jota headed in Aaron Mooy’s deep cross to open the scoring

Celtic restored their nine-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership as they ground down Dundee United’s stubborn resistance after the break.

The Glasgow side recorded the biggest away league win in the club’s history with a 9-0 thumping of United on their last visit to Tannadice in August.

A more resilient United held out until Jota headed home an Aaron Mooy cross.

Five minutes later, Mooy slotted home a penalty after Jota’s flick struck Kieran Freeman’s hand.

Celtic’s fifth game in a row without conceding means they have scored 18 times and lost just one goal in their last five visits to Tannadice.

It leaves United third bottom on goal difference, tied on points with Motherwell, Ross County and Kilmarnock, and without a win against Celtic in 19 games since a 2-1 win at Tannadice in December 2014.

Both managers agreed pre-match that United are a different beast since that August humiliation.

Not surprisingly, though, Mark Birighitti was the busier goalkeeper, the Australian being fortunate not to see a clearance charged down by Kyogo Furuhashi nestling behind him before blocking at the Japan striker’s feet after also saving low from a Jota drive.

Craig Sibbald blocked from midfield counterpart Mooy in front of the United goal before Birighitti bravely punched clear off the head of Kyogo only to see referee Don Robertson point to the penalty spot after the striker was also caught by the goalkeeper as he came for the ball.

Robertson was instructed to have a check on the screen and reversed his decision.

However, there was no reprieve shortly after half time when Birighitti appeared to lose his bearings as Mooy launched a deep cross and Jota headed in precisely from a difficult angle.

Celtic ensured the victory soon after as Freeman stuck out a hand and Mooy was given the opportunity from the penalty spot to slot his third goal in two games as the visitors could comfortably afford a close-range miss from Daizen Maeda in the dying seconds.

Player of the match – Jota (Celtic)

Celtic's Aaron Mooy and Jota celebrate
Aaron Mooy set up the opener and scored the second while Jota did the reverse – and the winger was a constant menace to United’s defence

Numbers add up in Celtic’s favour – analysis

There was no record scoreline this time, but it was still a game of big numbers at Tannadice.

Celtic have gone 19 domestic games unbeaten since their one defeat of the season away to St Mirren in September, with a draw away to second-top Rangers being the only time they haven’t won.

It was a 50th win in 61 Premiership games under Ange Postecoglou, reaching that landmark in the same number of games as Brendan Rodgers – only Martin O’Neill has done it quicker, by two games.

Captain Callum McGregor was faultless in midfield on his 400th Celtic appearance and there was a debut off the bench for Oh Hyeon-gyu, the South Korea striker signed in midweek from Suwon Samsung Bluewings and the latest addition to a squad that is already looking incredibly strong domestically.

United captain Ryan Edwards suffered defeat as he returned to the starting line-up to make his 100th club appearance, but his side look to have continued the improvement suggested by their November visit to Celtic Park, where they only lost courtesy of two stoppage-time goals.

They could not match their own two goals this time and rarely troubled visiting goalkeeper Joe Hart, but they have still only lost three times in nine outings and their gritty performance will give manager Liam Fox grounds to believe they can move clear of relegation trouble.

What they said

Dundee United head coach Liam Fox: “I can’t take positives right now, I’m sore and disappointed. We’ve got a huge game on Wednesday so we have no time to feel sorry for ourselves.

“I was pleased to get in at 0-0 at half-time – I thought in the last parts we were just surviving. We had to be braver on the ball, better in possession, because we didn’t threaten enough for my liking. We conceded two quick goals and the rest of the afternoon becomes very difficult.”

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: “I thought we handled it well, difficult conditions. They were really disciplined in their structure, particularly the first half. Having said that, we still got behind them on a number of occasions.

“We missed that final touch and quality, but we started the second half really well, scored a couple goals and could have scored a couple more. A really strong performance.”

What’s next?

United visit relegation rivals Kilmarnock as Celtic host in-form Livingston on Wednesday (both 19:45 GMT).

Player of the match


Dundee United

  1. Squad number9Player nameFletcher

  2. Squad number3Player nameMcMann

  3. Squad number16Player nameBehich

  4. Squad number19Player nameLevitt

  5. Squad number14Player nameSibbald

  6. Squad number23Player nameHarkes

  7. Squad number22Player nameFreeman

  8. Squad number2Player nameSmith

  9. Squad number12Player nameEdwards

  10. Squad number15Player nameMiddleton

  11. Squad number1Player nameBirighitti

  12. Squad number18Player nameMcGrath

  13. Squad number44Player nameMacleod

  14. Squad number8Player namePawlett

  15. Squad number10Player nameDjoum


  1. Squad number17Player nameJota

  2. Squad number13Player nameMooy

  3. Squad number19Player nameOh

  4. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor

  5. Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers

  6. Squad number41Player nameHatate

  7. Squad number38Player nameMaeda

  8. Squad number8Player nameFuruhashi

  9. Squad number2Player nameJohnston

  10. Squad number11Player nameAbada

  11. Squad number4Player nameStarfelt

  12. Squad number3Player nameTaylor

  13. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull

  14. Squad number33Player nameO’Riley

  15. Squad number9Player nameHaksabanovic

  16. Squad number1Player nameHart


Dundee Utd

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Birighitti
  • 22FreemanBooked at 51mins
  • 2Smith
  • 12Edwards
  • 3McMann
  • 16Behich
  • 23HarkesSubstituted forMcGrathat 60′minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 14Sibbald
  • 19LevittSubstituted forDjoumat 74′minutes
  • 9FletcherSubstituted forMacleodat 74′minutes
  • 15MiddletonSubstituted forPawlettat 74′minutes


  • 4Mulgrew
  • 6Graham
  • 7Niskanen
  • 8Pawlett
  • 10Djoum
  • 18McGrath
  • 28Anim Cudjoe
  • 31Newman
  • 44Macleod


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Hart
  • 2Johnston
  • 20Carter-Vickers
  • 4Starfelt
  • 3Taylor
  • 13MooySubstituted forTurnbullat 67′minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 41HatateSubstituted forO’Rileyat 67′minutes
  • 11AbadaSubstituted forHaksabanovicat 82′minutes
  • 8FuruhashiSubstituted forOhat 82′minutes
  • 17Neves FilipeSubstituted forMaedaat 67′minutes


  • 9Haksabanovic
  • 14Turnbull
  • 18Kobayashi
  • 19Oh
  • 24Iwata
  • 29Bain
  • 33O’Riley
  • 38Maeda
  • 49Forrest

Don Robertson


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