A significant improvement on the Thistle performance as Ronny tried to kick-start his annual mid-season turnaround at Tannadice, but this was far from a conclusive litmus test as we continue to show a bewildering lack of cohesion at the back.
The opening forays were pretty well matched as United went searching for their obligatory penalty and forced a couple of stops from Gordon in the process. But Celtic still looked the more imposing side on the offensive, thanks in no small part to the composure and quality of Rogic.
Armstrong also looked like a player gaining a bit of form back as he came close on a couple of occasions but it was Griffiths who got his 50th goal, pouncing on an Ambrose-esque flop from Gunning. Definitely a 10/10 for execution.
Simunovic nodded in from a Commons free-kick shortly after for his first Celtic goal, although this was a night that the aforementioned Nigerian, still reeling from his narrow defeat in the Ballon d’or, would make the Big Croatian Unit appear quite small.
In keeping with the charitable ethos of the club, Celtic duly handed United a route – a very direct one straight through the centre of the defence – into the match. A poor goal to concede but the kind of defensive flaw that is as much of a fixture this season as a Waghorn penalty. Simunovic certainly the main culprit here but Tierney by no means absolved.
Griffiths restored the cushion just after the break with a superb finish on the volley from a great Lustig delivery. Fantastic counter-attack off the back of another United penalty claim. This really killed off the game as a contest and flattened any ‘fizz’ in the Tangerine’s attack, which is fortunate because we were being left exposed far too often and a better team, even in the SPFL, may have made more of these instances.
Celtic dominated the remainder of the match and Commons added a spectacular volley made even more extraordinary by the graceful acrobatics displayed from Celtic’s answer to both Nadia Comeneci and Razor Ruddock. Real class from a player who has flattered to deceive at times this year. But he’s scored the big goals without question as he’s done throughout his tenure at Celtic Park.
Overall, a commanding display but one last gripe would have to be the manager’s substitutions, particularly his continued, blind persistence with particular players, namely James Forrest who was ineffective off the bench. A paltry ONE assist in almost a thousand minutes of league football this season is becoming sadly symbolic of his overall career in the Hoops so far.
It’s a crucial run of games coming up for Ronny but this was certainly a more positive performance going forward, even if we are still suspect at the back.