22 Aug Dundee United 1-3 Celtic: Hoops warm up for Malmo with win
By Des McKeown at Tannadice
Ronny Deila’s Celtic secured three Premiership points ahead of their Champions League Qualifier in Sweden on Tuesday night in this lunch time kick-off.
The Celtic manager made nine changes to the side that faced Malmo in midweek with only Emilio Izaguirre and Leigh Griffiths retaining their places – the latter asking not to be rested.
That was a decision that paid dividends on only 17 minutes when the red-hot hit man capitalised on slack defending by United to latch onto a long ball and easily round home keeper Zwick before sliding into the net.
The visitors then laid siege to the home goal with Kris Commons asking questions of Zwick on four occasions with the big keeper answering with aplomb.
However, on 44 minutes he was undone by one of his own players, Mark Durnan, who diverted a Commons pass to Griffiths into his own net.
Just as Celtic thought that was game, set and match United raced up the other end and Scott Fraser was crudely upended by Efe Ambrose to win a penalty in first half stoppage time. Chris Erskine coolly slotted home sending Logan Bailey in the visitor’s goals the wrong way.
The second half was much better from Dundee United and home manager Jackie McNamara will take plenty of positives from his young side’s performance.
But, just as they were pushing for an equaliser they were caught on the counter attack on 75 minutes when a Callum McGregor strike was deflected into the net.
Scott Allan received a fantastic ovation from the Celtic support when he came off the bench on 67 minutes to make his Hoops debut and he immediately started to dictate play with creative, composed possession.
The Celtic manager now has some decisions to make for Tuesday night after a few of today’s starters certainly laid claim for a starting position in Sweden.