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Home Sport Football Scottish

Gordon back for Celtics but Dundee make their point

Celtic 0 Dundee 0

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic's drive to the Ladbrokes Premiership title hit an unexpected speed bump with a goalless draw against relegation battlers Dundee at Parkhead.

It was a below-par performance by Brendan Rodgers' side whose wayward finishing was just one of their faults, although credit must go to Neil McCann's men who were organised and disciplined throughout.

The treble-chasing home side moved 10 points clear of second-placed Aberdeen with six games remaining.

However, the more significant point could be the one the Taysiders battled for to take them five points clear of Ross County, who occupy the relegation play-off spot, and bottom side Partick Thistle.

It was a landmark night for 35-year-old Craig Gordon, who returned from a knee injury which had kept him out since January to make his 200th appearance for the Bhoys.

The Scotland goalkeeper replaced loanee Scott Bain, who was ineligible to play against his parent club, while former Dundee defender Jack Hendry came in for Kristoffer Ajer, who dropped to the bench.

For the visitors, Genseric Kusunga, Kevin Holt and Lewis Spence came into the starting line-up.

There was less than three minutes played when Dundee keeper Elliot Parish was called upon to save a close-range drive from striker Moussa Dembele after he had worked a clever one-two with wideman James Forrest.

Dundee's first attempt on goal in the 11th minute almost saw them take the lead with Simon Murray's vicious drive from 25 yards tipped over the crossbar by the stretching Gordon.

Celtic pushed Dundee back again but the Taysiders looked organised, aggressive and resolute, although Parish had to push a Forrest drive past a post just before the half-hour mark before Scott Sinclair headed over from the corner.

Dundee were slowly growing in confidence, but there was a let-off in the 39th minute when Forrest swept over a Mikael Lustig cut-back.

Celtic enjoyed some luck in added time when Dedryck Boyata's tackle on Roarie Deacon at the edge of the box saw the ball fly past Gordon, only to rebound off a post with Hendry completing the clearance.

Parish made saves from Forrest, Stuart Armstrong and Sinclair as Celtic stepped up the tempo in the second half.

But in the 66th minute Rodgers showed what he thought of proceedings with a triple substitution. Leigh Griffiths, Odsonne Edouard and Olivier Ntcham came on for Dembele, Sinclair and Tom Rogic.

Celtic kept pushing forward but there was little conviction in many of their attacks and almost all of their finishing.

In the 87th minute, Hendry headed a Griffiths free-kick inches past a post but there was to be no late winner for the Parkhead men.

CELTIC: Gordon, Lustig, Hendry, Boyata, McGregor, Brown, Armstrong, Forrest, Rogic (Ntcham 66), Sinclair (Edouard 66), Dembele (Griffiths 66).

Subs not used: Roberts, De Vries, Ajer, Musonda.

DUNDEE: Parish, Caulker, Kusunga, Meekings, O'Hara, Kamara, McGowan (Wighton 87), Spence, Holt, Deacon (Moussa 66), Murray (Leitch-Smith 77).

Subs not used: Kerr, Aurtenetxe, Wolters, Ferie.

Man of the match: Forrest

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Alan Muir

Belfast Telegraph

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