Celtic left frustrated as plucky Dundee gain a point

The points were shared at Celtic Park on Wednesday night as the Scottish Champions came up against relegation threatened Dundee in this rearranged Scottish Premiership clash.

The hosts welcomed back Craig Gordon, with the Scotland international making his return from injury in place of on-loan Dark Blues shot-stopper Scott Bain, who was ineligible against his parent club.

Dundee, on the other hand were without captain and former Celtic centre-back Darren O’Dea, with the Irishman not recovering from injury in time to play against his former club.

Celtic started strongly as you’d suspect, with Moussa Dembele coming closest inside the opening 10 minutes, forcing Elliot Parish into a smart stop to keep the scores level in the early stages.

Simon Murray tested Gordon, with the ex-Hearts keeper showing no ill-effects following his layoff, as he flew high to his right to get a finger tip to the strikers effort which went over for a corner.

Tom Rogic saw a shot blocked while Stuart Armstrong struck his effort over the bar. Forrest forced Parish into another stop, but the former Aston Villa keeper wasn’t to be beaten on this ocassion.

Neil McCann would have been delighted with the opening 25 minutes but it was Celtic who nearly went ahead soon after when Dedryk Boyata flicked on a corner which landed over the bar via Scott Sinclair: the winger knew very little about his headed attempt as it hit the winger in the face as it looped behind for a goal-kick.

Dundee were defending strongly as the Celts struggled to break down the visitors back three, anchored by Rosenberg target Steven Caulker – who saw a £2m offer for his services by the Norwegian side turned down on Tuesday afternoon. Armstrong and Rogic were off-target while Mikael Lustig also failed to work Parish as Celtic went in at the break having failed to overly test the goalkeeper.

Home gaffer Brendan Rodgers wouldn’t be going in overly concerned with Murray’s attempt the only shot of note by the Dees; although, Gordon did have to scramble across his goal in agonising fashion as Boyata nearly scored an own goal. A long ball forward set Roarie Deacon free – the Belgian defender raced back and slid in with his tackle bobbling towards the net until it bounced against the post before Jack Hendry cleared the danger.

Once more, Dundee had to defend for their lives after the break as the hosts failed to let up. Armstrong knocked a left-footed shot wide before Lustig headed over from a corner.

Next, James Forrest fizzed in an effort but Parish saved comfortably in the centre of his goal. Then, Forrest saw a shot blocked before Armstrong had another two attempts, with his second effort being expertly saved by Parish as he tipped the ball round the post for a corner.

Dembele, Sinclair and Rogic all saw their shots fail to hit the net as Rodgers side continued to be thwarted. This saw the above three players being replaced as the former Liverpool boss brought on Leigh Griffiths, Odsonne Edouard and Oliver Ntcham.

The fourth official remained busy as – at the same stoppage – Sofien Moussa was brought on to try give McCann’s side fresh impetus in attack for the away side.

With just over 15 minutes remaining, Edouard wasted a good opportunity as he shot from a tight angle on the left to the relief of the visitors as Parish remained solid in goal for Dundee.

A-Jay Leitch-Smith came on for the Dees, with the Dark Blues sensing one goal could win this league encounter. However, Celtic remained in command as Ntcham shot wide before substitue Edouard saw an attempt blocked away for a set-piece opportunity for the Hoops.

Ntcham once again hit an effort from distance but Parish was not going to be beaten on a chilly Wednesday evening in Glasgow. Craig Wighton returned from injury late on as he replaced the injured Paul McGowan.

Griffiths had an attempt which landed in the stand rather than the net. This was sandwiched in-between two Jack Hendry headers, with both efforts coming close but not accurate enough to force the ball home late on.

Speaking to the BBC following a disappointing evening, Rodgers said;

“We played well, in terms of circulation of the ball. We could’ve been more aggressive going into the final third, both in our counter-pressing as well as our opportunities, when we got them.

I thought the players attitude and effort in the game, was very good. Tonight, we just lacked that little bit of quality in the final third. We’ve got good quality players, but, a mixture of us not making the final pass or not getting our shot away, as well as Dundee defending well, meant we didn’t score.”

While, McCann was delighted to leave Parkhead with a positive result for his side.

“I thought, to a man, they were exceptional tonight; in terms of our game plan and our willingness to work for each other. We are well worthy of a point: it is a great point.

I thought we look really, really, solid tonight. Overall, I’m delighted with them, I couldn’t he happier.”

The BBC also questioned McCann over the Steven Caulker situation, with the former Dunfermline coach conforming:

“I was honest with Steven, because he’s going to hear reports, he’s going to hear different things and he’s probably going to read things too. I felt it was important I told him what was happening. [The transfer fee was] almost £2m, including add-ons, which is quite incredible considering he has only played six competitive matches for us. He had no desire to go over to Norway – he feels he’s got a lot of work left to do here.”

FULL-TIME: Celtic 0-0 Dundee

Team Line-Ups:

Celtic

1. Craig Gordon

23. Mikael Lustig

4. Jack Hendry

20. Dedryk Boyata

42. Callum McGregor

8. Scott Brown

14. Stuart Armstrong

49. James Forrest

18. Tom Rogic (Oliver Ntcham 66′)

11. Scott Sinclair (Odsonne Edouard 66′)

10. Moussa Dembele (Leigh Griffiths 66′)

Subs:

24. Dorus De Vries (GK)

7. Patrick Roberts

9. Leigh Griffiths

21. Oliver Ntcham

22. Odsonne Edouard

35. Kristoffer Ajer

67. Charly Musonda Jr.

Dundee

12. Elliot Parish

4. Steven Caulker

5. Genseric Kusunga

24. Josh Meekings

14. Mark O’Hara

8. Glen Kamara

18. Paul McGowan (Craig Wighton 87′)

28. Lewis Spence

3. Kevin Holt

21. Roarie Deacon (Sofien Moussa 66′)

17. Simon Murray (A-Jay Leitch-Smith 77′)

Subs:

38. Calum Ferie (GK)

2. Cammy Kerr

7. A-Jay Leitch-Smith

9. Sofien Moussa

15. Jon Aurtenetxe

23. Randy Wolters

33. Craig Wighton

Referee: Alan Muir

Attendance: Not Announced

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