Match ends, Celtic 3, Dundee United 0.
- Celtic extend lead at top to 5 points
- Gary Mackay-Steven scores against his old club
- John Guidetti and Jason Denayer also score for Celtic
Celtic extended their lead at the top of the Premiership with a third successive win over Dundee United.
There was an air of formality about this one as soon as the former United star Gary Mackay-Steven had put his new club ahead.
John Guidetti and Jason Denayer added to the lead before the break.
Aberdeen's draw earlier in the day at Dundee means Celtic are now five points clear at the top and on this form a stick-on for the title.
The United manager Jackie McNamara admitted before the match he would be glad to see the back of Celtic and nothing he witnessed over the course of the afternoon would have given him cause to change that opinion.
Aside from highlighting an obvious inferiority to Celtic, the result extends United's winless streak to eight games, a run that will have to be arrested if they are to retain hopes of a top-three finish.
To rub further salt in United's wounds, Mackay-Steven was an influential figure, never more so than when he put his new club in front.
With time and space in the inside-right position, the winger collected the ball before firing an early strike through a crowd of bodies and low past the diving Radoslaw Cierzniak.
His lack of celebration would scarcely have eased the United fans' anguish and his hand in the second goal would've piqued it further.
He rolled the ball into the path of Guidetti whose shot from just outside the area took a deflection and looped over the goalkeeper.
Mackay-Steven was scythed to the ground by Paul Paton as United's frustration began to creep to the fore, but it was only increased as the resultant free kick by Stefan Johansen was met by Virgil van Dijk and though his shot was partially blocked, Denayer back-heeled past Cierzniak.
The visitors' attacking threat was virtually non-existent until well into the second half when Craig Gordon was at last brought into the action to tip over from Ryan Dow and gather a long-range drive from Paul Dixon.
Virgil van Dijk also had to show his defensive prowess to race back to deny Nadir Ciftci a shot on goal, but in truth the game had already been won by half-time.
There was no repeat of the nastiness that had been evident in the previous matches between the teams as United, instead, submitted meekly to the league leaders.
- 5van Dijk
- 6BittonBooked at 74mins
- 8BrownBooked at 86mins
- 16Mackay-StevenSubstituted forCommonsat 70'minutes
- 14S ArmstrongSubstituted forHendersonat 76'minutes
- 9GuidettiSubstituted forScepovicat 70'minutes
- 21TelferSubstituted forMuirheadat 78'minutes
- 6PatonBooked at 45mins
- 20ButcherSubstituted forDowat 45'minutes
- 24SpittalSubstituted forAnierat 78'minutes
- Kevin Clancy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Celtic 3, Dundee United 0.
Attempt missed. Kris Commons (Celtic) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Paul Paton.
Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).
Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Stefan Scepovic (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Jaroslaw Fojut.
Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).
Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Paul Paton (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.
Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).
Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Paul Dixon.
Substitution, Dundee United. Robbie Muirhead replaces Charlie Telfer.
Substitution, Dundee United. Henri Anier replaces Blair Spittal.
Stefan Scepovic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ryan Dow (Dundee United).