Scottish Premiership
Dundee Utd2Celtic1

Dundee United 2-1 Celtic

  • United win to go second in Premiership
  • Ciftci and Armstrong score goals for hosts
  • Griffiths nets for Celtic
  • Leaders' third league defeat of campaign

Dundee United beat Celtic to go second in the Premiership and move to within four points of the league leaders.

Nadir Ciftci held off the challenge of Efe Ambrose to fire United into an early lead.

Celtic hit the frame of the goal twice before Stuart Armstrong got the hosts' second by nodding in Ciftci's cross.

Leigh Griffiths finished well to reduce the visitors' deficit and came very close to an equaliser when his low strike came back off the post.

Jackie McNamara's side went ahead of Aberdeen on goal difference, while Ronny Deila's team, who had won their previous eight league games, suffered their first top-flight defeat since early October and their third overall this season.

Ciftci had an eventful opening to the match, getting booked in the first minute for a clumsy tackle on Scott Brown before finding the net.

Armstrong's deflected pass evaded Ambrose and Ciftci's close control and strength allowed him to brush off the Nigerian defender's attempt at a recovery and lift the ball past goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Nadir Ciftci celebrates after scoring for Dundee United against Celtic
Ciftci scored his eighth goal of the season to give United the lead

Celtic's response was to stretch United on the flanks and both James Forrest and Stefan Johansen troubled the home defence without achieving a telling delivery.

However, Johansen was in on goal after playing a one-two with John Guidetti and goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak was quick off his line to make the block.

United remained dangerous in attack, though, and Conor Townsend drew a save from Gordon after venturing forward from left-back.

Guidetti went down in the box after being closed down by Sean Dillon - prompting loud shouts for a penalty from the travelling fans - but referee Steven McLean said Dillon's challenge was a legitimate shoulder charge.

United's resistance was further tested when Cierzniak's attempted clearance from a Johansen corner ricocheted on to the crossbar off Nir Bitton's head and Virgil van Dijk's rebound header was cleared off the line by Jaroslaw Fojut.

Ambrose continued to struggle with the threat of Ciftci in the second half and conceded possession too easily on one occasion, leading to the striker testing Gordon with a low shot.

Dillon almost scored an own goal when his header from Anthony Stokes's cross looped up and bounced off the right-hand post, Forrest unable to convert the rebound.

Stokes then headed off target moments before he and Guidetti were replaced by Kris Commons and Stefan Scepovic.

However, it was United's attackers who made the most impact in the wake of the double change with Ciftci's perseverance again proving crucial.

This time, the Turkish forward held off Emilio Izaguirre on the right and dinked the ball to the back post for the unmarked Armstrong to head off Gordon and into the net.

Scepovic thought he had reduced Celtic's deficit when he finished crisply from Izaguirre's chested pass, but the offside flag cut short the substitute's celebrations. However, television replays showed the Serbian had been onside.

Izaguirre cleared Chris Erskine's header off the line moments later and the end-to-end nature of the contest continued when Bitton's replacement, Griffiths, ran on to Commons' pass and placed the ball firmly past Cierzniak for Celtic's goal.

The visitors hit the woodwork for a third time when Griffiths' effort from around 20 yards struck Cierzniak's left-hand post in stoppage time.

Nadir Ciftci scores for Dundee United against Celtic
Ciftci netted his eighth goal of the season to put United ahead
Dundee United and Celtic players
Van Dijk's header was cleared off the line
Dundee United players celebrating
United were celebrating again when Armstrong (left) notched their second
Celtic's Stefan Scepovic has a goal ruled out for offside against Dundee United
Celtic substitute Scepovic had a goal controversially disallowed for offside
Leigh Griffiths scores for Celtic against Dundee United
Griffiths netted Celtic's consolation and was then inches away from scoring an equaliser


Dundee Utd

  • 1Cierzniak
  • 2Dillon
  • 14Morris
  • 5Fojut
  • 3Townsend
  • 20Butcher
  • 8Rankin
  • 24Spittal
  • 10Armstrong
  • 17Erskine
  • 7CiftciBooked at 1minsSubstituted forDowat 82'minutes


  • 16Wilson
  • 18Dow
  • 21Telfer
  • 26Szromnik
  • 33Spark
  • 43Coote
  • 49Adeyemo


  • 26Gordon
  • 2Matthews
  • 4Ambrose
  • 5van Dijk
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 49Forrest
  • 6BittonSubstituted forGriffithsat 78'minutesBooked at 80mins
  • 8Brown
  • 25Johansen
  • 9GuidettiSubstituted forScepovicat 60'minutes
  • 10StokesSubstituted forCommonsat 60'minutes


  • 12Scepovic
  • 15Commons
  • 24Zaluska
  • 28Griffiths
  • 32Wakaso
  • 41Fisher
  • 53Henderson
Steven McLean

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamCeltic
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dundee United 2, Celtic 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Dundee United 2, Celtic 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Emilio Izaguirre.

  4. Post update

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

  5. Post update

    Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

  6. Post update

    Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) hits the right post with a left footed shot from outside the box.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Dow (Dundee United).

  9. Post update

    Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Goal!

    Goal! Dundee United 2, Celtic 1. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kris Commons.

  11. Post update

    Calum Butcher (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jaroslaw Fojut (Dundee United).

  15. Post update

    Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Chris Erskine (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Stefan Johansen.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Dundee United. Ryan Dow replaces Nadir Ciftci.

  19. Booking

    Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

  20. Post update

    Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 21st December 2014

As It Stood

2Dundee Utd17111530201034
5Inverness CT1710252418632
6St Johnstone178271517-226
9Partick Thistle175572320320
11Ross County1723121737-209
12St Mirren1722131131-208
View full Scottish Premiership table

Top Stories