Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic6Dundee UtdDundee United1

Celtic 6-1 Dundee United

By Alasdair LamontSenior football reporter, BBC Scotland at Celtic Park
Kris Commons and Virgil van Dijk
Kris Commons celebrates his goal with Virgil van Dijk

Celtic produced a performance full of drive, skill, belief and, most importantly, goals to end Dundee United's unbeaten start to the season.

First-half goals from debutant Jason Denayer, Kris Commons and Stefan Johansen put the result beyond doubt.

Anthony Stokes' strike and a double from Jo Inge Berget put a little gloss on a sublime afternoon.

John Rankin's consolation after Celtic's fifth barely tarnished the reigning champions' flag day.

It was the type of display Ronny Deila has yearned for since taking over and gives them the perfect platform for Wednesday's Champions League play-off against Maribor.

The build-up to the match had been dominated by the continuing debacle surrounding but Celtic quickly put that controversy behind them.

The mood inside the stadium was already buoyant as the former owner Fergus McCann, very much considered the club's saviour and the man who created the foundations for their more recent success, unfurled the league flag to mark last season's triumph.

That set the tone for a game that sparked into life from the off.

Callum McGregor had already rattled the post and Gary Mackay-Steven slipped a fabulous opportunity wide by the time Denayer found the net.

A Commons corner was dealt with poorly by Callum Morris and, when the ball fell to the feet of the young Belgian defender, he side-footed it into the top corner with all the aplomb of a top striker.

Celtic were moving the ball more slickly than they had done so far this season and Emilio Izaguirre stung the palms of Radoslaw Cierzniak, but the home side's desire to press the opposition high up the park left them vulnerable to precise counter-attacking.

Kris Commons rifles home for Celtic
Commons stooped to head Celtic's second

That was what United were offering on occasion and Mackay-Steven latched onto a swiftly-taken Rankin free- kick and rounded Craig Gordon, only for Virgil van Dijk to make a terrific saving tackle.

But United's downfall was slack defending and Commons was left unmarked at the near post to nod into the net from a Stokes corner.

Paul Paton was then caught out by Johansen - snapping at the United midfielder's heels - who robbed his opponent before slotting past Cierzniak.

Those goals bred confidence and Celtic turned on the style, Berget battering the ball off the bar and Stokes forcing a terrific save from Cierzniak before the half-time whistle sounded.

Much as the game looked beyond United, there was still a large sigh of relief from Charlie Mulgrew when Gordon got down superbly to tip Nadir Ciftci's shot round the post after the Turk had robbed the Celtic captain of possession.

Moments later Celtic's cushion was even more comfortable as Stokes' free-kick appeared to sail all the way across goal and into the back of the net, though Mulgrew claimed a touch.

Stokes was central, too, to Celtic's fifth. Cierzniak saved brilliantly from the striker's venomous drive, but when Stokes' resultant corner was headed back across goal by Efe Ambrose, Berget was on hand to head home his first goal for the club.

Gordon, who appears to have put his injury woes behind him, was unhappy to miss out on a clean sheet as Rankin's low shot from the edge of the box was deflected beyond him and into the net.

Berget added a sixth with the final kick of the ball, though that move was tinged with anxiety as substitute James Forrest pulled up with an injury.

But those were minor blemishes on an otherwise superb day for Celtic, while United will have to address the defensive frailties if this result is to go down simply as a blip in their quest to challenge for second place.

Fergus McCann
McCann addressed fans and unfurled the Premiership flag before kick-off
Anthony Stokes scores for Celtic against Dundee United
Stokes' free-kick found its way through a crowded area and into the net
John Rankin scores for Dundee United against Celtic
Rankin ensured Gordon would not get a shut-out
Celtic players Kris Commons and Jo Inge Berget
Commons and Berget were both on target ahead of Wednesday's trip to Maribor

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26Gordon
  • 4Ambrose
  • 5van Dijk
  • 22Denayer
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 25JohansenSubstituted forKayalat 45'minutes
  • 21Mulgrew
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forForrestat 69'minutes
  • 15Commons
  • 16Berget
  • 10StokesSubstituted forGriffithsat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Bitton
  • 11Boerrigter
  • 23Lustig
  • 24Zaluska
  • 28Griffiths
  • 33Kayal
  • 49Forrest

Dundee Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Cierzniak
  • 12Watson
  • 14MorrisBooked at 58mins
  • 5FojutBooked at 47mins
  • 3Townsend
  • 6PatonBooked at 16mins
  • 8Rankin
  • 11Mackay-StevenSubstituted forSpittalat 75'minutes
  • 10ArmstrongSubstituted forBilateat 40'minutes
  • 18DowSubstituted forErskineat 57'minutes
  • 7Ciftci

Substitutes

  • 9Graham
  • 13McCallum
  • 17Erskine
  • 19Bilate
  • 21Telfer
  • 23Smith
  • 24Spittal
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
44,484

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamDundee Utd
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home29
Away7
Shots on Target
Home14
Away3
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home8
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 6, Dundee United 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 6, Dundee United 1.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 6, Dundee United 1. Jo Inge Berget (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal.

  4. Post update

    Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Mario Bilate (Dundee United).

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

  7. Post update

    Jason Denayer (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Mario Bilate (Dundee United).

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jo Inge Berget (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kris Commons (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  12. Post update

    Kris Commons (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Jaroslaw Fojut (Dundee United).

  14. Post update

    Foul by Beram Kayal (Celtic).

  15. Post update

    Blair Spittal (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Celtic).

  18. Post update

    Mario Bilate (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Efe Ambrose (Celtic).

  20. Post update

    John Rankin (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.