Match ends, Dundee 0, Celtic 3.
Dundee v Celtic: Champions win to move five points clear26 December 2023
Celtic overcame Dundee with three second-half goals to move five points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Liam Scales, Kyogo Furuhashi, Matt O'Riley and Luis Palma all went close for Brendan Rodgers' side during a profligate first half.
Paulo Bernardo nicked the ball past Trevor Carson to give the visitors the lead - a first Celtic goal for the midfielder - and substitute Mikey Johnston's late double made sure of victory.
Second-placed Rangers have two games in hand over Celtic and will play one of those matches before the second Old Firm derby of the season at Celtic Park on Saturday.
Dundee offered little in attack and remain seventh prior to Wednesday's five top-flight fixtures.
An early Cameron Carter-Vickers header then a Bernardo shot gave Dundee cause for concern and Palma pounced on a stray ball to curl an effort high and wide.
Scales went even closer when he nodded wide and Kyogo really should have broken the impasse when he ran on to O'Riley's excellent long ball and clipped wide.
O'Riley tried himself moments later, his shot narrowly missing the post, and another Carter-Vickers headed bounced out. Palma tried again with a header but knocked wide.
The pattern continued after the break with Greg Taylor unable to bury a chance at a corner.
But the deadlock would be broken. Palma's through ball sent Bernardo into the inside left channel and the slightest of touches took the ball between Carson's legs into the net.
Dundee had to get more bodies forward and Celtic survived faint penalty appeals for handball after ricochets off Greg Taylor and Carter-Vickers' replacement Stephen Welsh.
Luke McCowan was then unfortunate to see a shot deflect out.
Oh Hyeon-gyu tried to swerve a low shot into the right corner but the Celtic sub could not get the required bend.
However, any doubts over the outcome were extinguished when Johnston - on for Palma - struck from the left and Carson could not get enough of his body in the way.
Carson atoned for that somewhat moments later, tipping a fierce Johnston effort out for a corner, but he could do nothing as Johnston shot low from closer in on the left for Celtic's third.
And the winger may have had a hat-trick, a swirling shot flashing wide deep into added time.
Player of the match - Luis PalmaMost of Celtic's best moments came on Luis Palma's side, the left, and it was his pass that created the opening goal for Paulo Bernardo (right)
Persistence pays off for Celtic - analysis
The amount of chances the visitors carved, particularly on the left, encouraged them to keep at it and their persistence paid off with the Bernardo goal.
However, a second-half injury to Carter-Vickers will be a frustration given Rangers' impending visit.
Dundee's counter-attacking game did not create too many openings, though a looping Zak Rudden header forced Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart to retreat and catch in the opening half.
Defensively, the Dark Blues were often effective in getting in blocks to repel both shots and crosses and it's easy to see why Tony Docherty's side find themselves in a comfortable mid-table position.
What the managers said
Dundee manager Tony Docherty: "I was happy with the first-half performance. They made those runs down the side and we succumbed to that. When Celtic get their tails up like that it's difficult. You can see the quality they are bringing on off the bench.
"That won't define our season, our reaction to it will define our season. It is important we bounce back from today, it's difficult for the players but they've shown us a real consistent level of performance this season."
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: "I thought we played very well. It was an outstanding team performance. The ambition of the players was great. We controlled the game, controlled the rhythm.
"Anything we had to do defensively - long throws, long balls - we dominated that moment and kept the clean sheet, which is also important."
Celtic host Rangers on Saturday (12:30 GMT) with Dundee away to Kilmarnock later that day (15:00).
- 10CameronSubstituted forRobertsonat 73'minutes
- 23BoatengSubstituted forSyllaat 85'minutes
- 3BeckBooked at 86mins
- 9BakayokoSubstituted forRobinsonat 68'minutesSubstituted forHowleyat 84'minutes
- 20RuddenSubstituted forTiffoneyat 69'minutes
- 20Carter-VickersSubstituted forWelshat 55'minutes
- 5ScalesBooked at 13mins
- 28Gonçalves Bernardo
- 38MaedaSubstituted forYangat 66'minutes
- 8FuruhashiSubstituted forOhat 66'minutes
- 7PalmaSubstituted forJohnstonat 79'minutes
- Don Robertson
Second Half ends, Dundee 0, Celtic 3.
This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/67757155?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA