Friday 19 January 2018

Van Dijk takes Celtic one step closer to league title

Dundee 1 Celtic 2

Celtic's Virgil van Dijk celebrates with Leigh Griffiths after scoring his side's winning goal against Dundee last night
Celtic's Virgil van Dijk celebrates with Leigh Griffiths after scoring his side's winning goal against Dundee last night
Gary Mackay Steven scores Celtic's first goal
Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre and Dundee's Paul McGinn in action during the Scottish Premiership match at Dens Park

Celtic discarded their treble disappointment to beat Dundee and go eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Former Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven opened the scoring in the 32nd minute and Virgil van Dijk doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when he fired in a wonderful free-kick for his 10th goal of the season.

Although Dees midfielder Jim McAlister pulled a goal back with three minute left, it was not enough to stop Celtic getting a tonic following their Hampden humbling against Inverness in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

Mackay-Steven and fellow former United team-mate Stuart Armstrong were drafted back after being cup-tied while Dundee midfielder Paul McGowan missed the match due to the curfew he is under following his recent conviction for police assault.

Striker Leigh Griffiths hit the side-netting with a close range effort on the angle before Celtic nudged ahead after referee Calum Murray belatedly awarded them a free-kick after Dens defender Thomas Konrad had crunched Mackay-Steven.

When Armstrong flighted the ball into the box Van Dijk's header at the back post landed at feet of Mackay-Steven who fired high into the net.

A minute before the break a mis-kick by Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton went straight to James Forrest, standing alone inside the Dees box and with time, but his drive sped straight to keeper Scott Bain.

There was time for Dundee fans to claim a penalty when Parkhead stopper Jason Denayer bumped Greg Stewart but to no avail.

The Hoops were coasting after James McPake was booked for a foul on Armstrong 25 yards from goal, providing the opportunity for Van Dijk to power the ball past Bain and high into the net. With minutes on the clock McAlister gave Dundee a glimmer of hope when he slid in a Paul McGinn cut-back but it was too little too late for the home side.

Irish Independent

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