Celtic Fan View: Three things we learned as Dundee are dismissed in march towards title

Ameen Rabbani

Celtic secured another win in the Scottish Premiership and now move to within three points of their sixth consecutive league title. The Hoops battled hard to overcome Dundee 2-1 and will have the chance to win the league at Hearts after the international break.

Here are three talking points from the match at Dens Park…

Defiant Dundee

Paul Hartley’s Dundee have proven to be a tough nut for the Bhoys to crack over the last couple of seasons and that proved to be the case again on Sunday. In the four meetings between the sides in 2016, two were 0-0 draws and the other two were won by Celtic by a one goal margin. When the teams met at Celtic Park in December, Dundee were unlucky to leave the east end of Glasgow with no points after a valiant display.

The champions struggled to break down a resilient Dark Blues defence once again as the home side flooded the centre of the pitch and made it difficult for the visitors to play through them. Most of the star men like Moussa Dembele, Scott Sinclair and James Forrest were shackled by Hartley’s men in the first half in particular in what was a solid performance.

Forrest width proves key

With Brendan Rodgers’ charges finding it hard to make inroads through the middle, they had to utilise the wings in order to make a breakthrough. The quality from wide areas wasn’t good to begin with but as the first half wore on and the hosts dropped deeper the delivery improved.

The Hoops sent cross after cross into the box with Forrest becoming more prominent while Dundee continued to give away free-kicks and corners which invited more pressure. The best chance came from a set-piece but was cleared off the line and the opening goal arrived from Forrest’s ball into the box which was met by Jozo Simunovic.

Better moves were put together in the second period but the killer strike was also built from out wide with Forrest once again highly involved as he provide a superb assist for Stuart Armstrong. In recent weeks Celtic have had trouble getting past teams who sit really deep and remain compact but the contribution from the wingers- namely Forrest- was crucial to this win.

Armstrong for Player of the Year?

There’s still time before it’s decided but Stuart Armstrong is more than worthy of the Player of the Year award. The prize will definitely go to a Celtic player and while Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair have scored loads of goals, Armstrong is a more influential figure overall.

Not since Stiliyan Petrov have Celtic had a midfielder who scores so freely from open play. Petrov was a player of great stature because of his ability and leadership qualities and Armstrong is following in his footsteps. He netted his 12th goal of the season this weekend with a perfectly guided header proving he’s becoming a fine all-round player.

The former Dundee United man can score all types of goals and looked like he would be the source of inspiration the Bhoys needed in a frustrating first half at Dens Park just as he was last week against Rangers. He gives the team an extra dimension which is so important.

Despite taking some time to work his way into Rodgers’ XI and being on the sidelines for a month recently, there’s still every chance he could score 20 goals in all competitions which is absolutely deserving of the Player of the Year award.

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