Five talking points from Dundee 0-2 Celtic

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Celtic came away from Dens Park with a routine three points and a 2-0 win over Dundee. Here are five talking points from the Boxing Day fixture

Assured Ajer

Kristoffer Ajer put in assured performance at centre half. Picture: PA

Kristoffer Ajer put in assured performance at centre half. Picture: PA

Still only 19, Kristoffer Ajer has slotted into the Celtic rearguard as if he’s played there for years and his performance today showed exactly why he’s been given a chance over Jozo Simunovic.

The towering Norwegian teenager looked calm on the ball and never seemed rushed or under pressure - which is exactly what Celtic have been missing in their defence in recent weeks.

One rampaging run forward in the first half set Celtic up for a decent chance that, on another day, might have ended up in the back of the net.

Sluggish Dundee

Dundee were given the day off on Christmas Day and in the opening stages of this fixture it showed.

Celtic were quick out of the traps and took an early lead - although they could have been a goal up already when they scored - while Neil McCann’s men looked lethargic and off the pace.

Dundee have shown in some games this season - like their win against Rangers earlier this month - that they can beat anyone on their day but they looked decidedly sluggish today.

King James

He hasn’t been without his detractors but James Forrest put in a commanding performance on the left flank, scoring his 50th goal and fittingly picking up the man of the match award.

He gave the Dundee defence no rest, always looking to get involved and support Leigh Griffiths in attack.

When Patrick Roberts returned to Celtic many assumed Forrest would be seeing a lot less gametime but Roberts’ injury and Scott Sinclair’s struggle to replicate his form of last season have given the Scotland international the chance to shine. And shine he has. He is becoming a key member of this Celtic team and has gone from being slated by Celtic fans to surely being one of the first names on the team-sheet.

Hayes injury

You have to feel for Jonny Hayes, who has struggled to make an impact at Celtic since joining from Aberdeen, but he finally got his first goal for the Hoops against - who else? - the Dons at the weekend.

Handed a starting spot in Celtic’s attacking midfield trio, he started brightly before a coming together with Josh Meekings forced both players off the park.

The injury looked nasty and the wideman was stretchered off after an extended period of treatment in the middle of the park. Hayes will go for an X-ray to determine the damage to his lower leg but Rodgers seemed positive about the outcome in his post-match press conference.

Young team

Neil McCann handed two youngsters their debuts against Celtic today, with Matty Henvey and Jack Lambert replacing A-Jay Leitch-Smith and Faissal El Bakhtaoui respectively.

The pair, 17 and 18, were a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable afternoon for Dundee.

The 18-year-old Mikey Johnston, on for Hayes, impressed for Celtic and could have got himself on the scoresheet with a late effort that flew just over the bar.

READ MORE - Dundee 0-2 Celtic: Forrest and Griffiths fire Hoops to victory