THEY woke on Christmas Day to a narrative that Moussa Dembele was on his approach.
Inside 24 hours Leigh Griffiths delivered a message to Celtic followers they’ve nothing to fret about – as a result of HE’S going nowhere.
The Hoops hitman scored the second on this stroll over Dundee and celebrated by shouting to the away help he’s the person for the long run.
Whereas Celtic and Brighton dismissed studies of an £18 million payment being agreed between the golf equipment for Dembele, the English aspect will make their transfer when the January window opens.
The chances are the Frenchman might be off – and Griffiths plans to fit straight again into the primary placing function for the remainder of the season now.
Dembele got here off the bench with ten minutes left to switch the Scotland striker – however long-term it appears like issues would be the different approach round.
This was a Dens Park doddle for the Hoops however their day was overshadowed by a sickening harm to Jonny Hayes, who was taken to Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital present process x-rays on his shin.
The winger got here off worst in a deal with with Dundee’s Josh Meekings which noticed each gamers unable to proceed.
And after ready so lengthy to interrupt into Brendan Rodgers’ aspect, Hayes now appears set for a spell on the sidelines.
As warm-ups for an Outdated Agency recreation go, this was as simple because the Hoops might have hoped for.
James Forrest opened the scoring on eight minutes earlier than Griffiths doubled that lead simply earlier than the break.
The second half was just about a non-event, with the sport received and Dundee unable to trigger any issues.
Each units of followers noticed a minute’s applause previous to kick-off in honour of the Dundee supervisor’s father, Eddie, who died over the weekend.
When play began, Celtic had been quickest out of the blocks and inside a minute had their first probability.
Oliver Ntcham discovered Griffiths with a nook and despite the fact that his header again into the center was partially cleared, it fell for James Forrest on the sting of the world.
The winger had sufficient time to line up his shot however bought the angles all incorrect, sending the ball whizzing away from the far submit.
Celtic might – and will – have taken the lead on seven minutes however the woodworkd saved Dundee from taking place.
A breakaway on the again of Paul McGowan gifting possession to Forrest noticed the Hoops shuffled the bal from left to proper, first by means of Ntcham, then on to Hayes and marauding right-back Mikael Lustig.
The Swede was in loads of house so had time to pick Callum McGregor, however his angled shot cracked again off the submit.
Dundee’s objective remained intact for simply one other two minutes, although, as Celtic sliced them open with surgical precision.
The Hoops’ motion and use of house had Dundee chasing shadows they usually couldn’t get close to them as Kieran Tierney and Hayes mixed to launch Griffiths.
He had pulled out huge on the left-hand aspect the penalty field and with McCann’s males scrambling to get again, slid a move straight into the trail of Forrest to knock dwelling from a dozen yards.
Celtic might have cast additional forward quickly after when Forrest, who Dundee had been discovering popping up in all places, planted a cross on Hayes’ head on the again submit.
However regardless of getting above his marker, the previous Aberdeen man couldn’t direct the header on track.
Play was stopped on 24 minutes for therapy to each Hayes and Josh Meekings after they clattered in to one another whereas going for a 50-50 ball in the course of the park.
Absolutely dedicated and wholehearted, neither pulled again and the outcome was each of them writhing on the ground as play continued.
Dundee really got here out of the incident with the ball and appeared to place it within the field simply as ref Kevin Clancy observed the gamers nonetheless down in agony.
After being attended to their respective medical groups, each had been faraway from motion.
Meekings, who is barely simply again from a long-term harm absence, limped off himself and was changed by Darren O’Dea.
However sadly Hayes, on the ground for a full seven minutes, was unable to get again to his toes and left on a stretcher to move for hospital. Michael Johnston was introduced on in his place.
Ntcham was subsequent to have a go at Dundee’s objective however his shot flew simply huge after which Celtic had one other probability to double their lead.
A slack backpass by sub defender O’Dea allowed Griffiths to choose up possession and make his approach spherical goalkeeper Elliott Parish, however the keeper recovered sufficient to ship him huge and out of play.
Dundee are a staff who attempt to play from the again but it surely went incorrect two minutes earlier than the break once they surrendered possession to Scott Brown in the course of the park and paid the worth.
He bought it ahead to Ntcham who picked out Griffiths and the striker expertly lofted a shot previous Parish earlier than operating to the away followers to have a good time.
They practically had a 3rd within the first minute of the seven of harm time when Johnston broke by means of however Parish saved together with his toes.
And the Englishman stopped one other objective proper on half-time by tipping a Forrest effort huge.
McGregor ought to have killed the sport quickly after the break after going by means of on Parish however he blazed over from the sting of the field.
Celtic cruised the sport out to victory and despite the fact that Dundee noticed extra of the ball than that they had within the dying phases they couldn’t lay a glove on Rodgers’ males.
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How They Rated
Elliott Parish – 7
Cammy Kerr – 5
Jack Hendry – 5
Josh Meekings – 5
Jon Aurtenetxe – 6
Paul McGowan – 6
Glen Kamara – 7
Mark O’Hara – 5
Faissal El Bakhtaoui – four
A-Jay Leitch-Smith – 5
Sofien Moussa – 5
Subs: Darren O’Dea (Meekings 26) – 5, Jack Lambert (El Bakhtaoui 61) – four, Matthew Henvey (Leitch-Smith 79) – four
Craig Gordon – 7
Mikael Lustig – 7
Dedryk Boyata – 7
Kris Ajer – 7
Kieran Tierney – 7
Scott Brown – eight
Oliver Ntcham – 7
James Forrest – 7
Callum McGregor – 7
Jonny Hayes – 5
Leigh Griffiths – 7
Subs: Michael Johnstone (Hayes 30) – 6, Stuart Armstrong (Ntcham 67) – four, Moussa Dembele (Griffiths 80) – four
MAN OF THE MATCH
Leigh Griffiths confirmed Celtic they don’t have to fret in regards to the days after Dembele however as soon as once more it was Scott Brown who drove the staff on. The Hoops skipper lined each blade of grass on Dens Park, hassling and harrying in a defensive sense earlier than poking and prodding on the different when it was time to construct. Brown has loved a brand new lease of life within the final two seasons and if something his affect on this staff is rising with age as a substitute of waning.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Kevin Clancy doled out an early reserving to Dedryk Boyata for booting the ball away however didn’t have a lot else to do over the ninety minutes. He allowed play to proceed when Jonny Hayes and Josh Meekings launched into the 50-50 problem which left each injured. At first look it appeared like there was no malice concerned and tv photos later backed that up. Booked Brown for too many fouls after which Moussa for a similar.
MEN IN THE DUGOUT
Neil McCann began the sport with three attackers on the pitch however they simply couldn’t land a glove on Celtic at any time on this recreation. The Dundee boss additionally needed to change his plans when Josh Meekings hobbled off. Shedding him for a size of time could be a blow since he’s impressed since becoming a member of. Brendan Rodgers might lose Moussa Dembele subsequent month however his staff confirmed right here they’ve loads of firepower to manage if and when the Frenchman does go. This was a coaching train at occasions for Celtic.