Celtic debrief: Mikey Johnston stakes Rangers start claim, remarkable 34-game run, duo shine but Kyogo struggles

Celtic's Mikey Johnston celebrates after scoring to make it 3-0 over Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Celtic's Mikey Johnston celebrates after scoring to make it 3-0 over Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Celtic's Mikey Johnston celebrates after scoring to make it 3-0 over Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Two late goals put gloss on result as Celtic extend long unbeaten run at Dens Park

Make that 34 matches. Celtic extended their long unbeaten run at Dens Park but they were forced to work harder than they might have liked, particularly given the crucial nature of their next assignment.

Two late goals meant the scoreline reflected the extent of Celtic’s domination. However, Dundee made the visitors work, even if goalkeeper Trevor Carson won't want to look at either of the first two goals again.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The first, seven minutes after half time, was slightly scrappy in nature although Luis Palma’s angled ball inside the Dundee defence was undeniable quality and partner-in-crime Paulo Bernardo – the pair gave the hosts a torrid time - did well to get his toe to the ball. It then seemed to take a nick off Dundee skipper Joe Shaughnessy and was diverted into the net through Carson’s legs.

Bernardo was always going to claim what was his first goal for the club. Johnston, meanwhile, has scored more than a few in a stop-start Celtic career although somewhat remarkably in a stop-start Celtic career, he hasn't found the net for more than four years. His last came in a 4-1 win over Ross County in December 2019 so he particularly relished seeing his shot from just outside the box hit the back of the net. Carson seemed to have a good view but the ball went through his hands en route into the net.

It was the killer goal although Johnston added another for good measure after some pinball inside the Dundee box. He steadied himself and shot beyond Carson in time added on. The forward might have played his way into manager Brendan Rodgers’ thoughts ahead of Saturday’s Old Firm derby, which is a potentially defining fixture in this season's title race.

Johnston's quick-fire brace when the game was, admittedly, far more stretched contrasted with Kyogo Furuhashi, who endured another frustrating afternoon having ended his recent goal drought against Livingston at the weekend. The hope was that this strike might get him up and running but he was almost anonymous here save for a chance when he wished he had remained invisible.

Rodgers has complained that it isn’t his fault if the striker seems to have gone backwards this season. Indeed, it wasn’t the Celtic manager who clipped an effort the wrong side of Carson’s far post on the half hour mark after Matt O’Riley’s ball had split the Dundee defence. Rangers might yet reap the whirlwind. The striker was replaced by Hyeongyu Oh after 65 minutes and he will want to take his frustration out on someone.

Celtic ran to the wrong end before kick-off which was an inauspicious start, although they wasted little time before putting the Dundee goal under siege. The hosts’ defence held out by hook or by crook and although Celtic had plenty of the ball on the way to an eventual total of 38 shots, they did not unduly trouble Carson in the opening half.

Dundee were having to devote all their energy to trying to keep Celtic out. A Lyall Cameron cross across the goalmouth which did not find any takers was as close as they came to scoring.

Celtic’s unbeaten run at this particular stadium has stretched to another game and into another year. Celtic were just 100 years old when Dundee last claimed their scalp at Dens in 1988. The Parkhead club are now a venerable 135. It doesn’t look like Dundee will be ending the sequence of results anytime soon.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.