SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP: SATURDAY 14TH OCTOBER; CELTIC 1 (NTCHAM 61’) DUNDEE 0
Olivier Ntcham’s third goal of the season won the points for a much changed Celtic but the real star man was Dorus de Vries, who pulled off a string of saves in the second half in what was his first Celtic game in over a year.
With some big games on the horizon Brendan Rodgers made plenty of changes to his normal starting line-up, as well as de Vries in goal Cristian Gamboa started his first game in a long time, Nir Bitton partnered Boyata at the back, Eboue Kouassi made his first start since August in midfield whilst up-front had a slightly more familiar look, with Sinclair, Roberts and Griffiths all starting. The team was captained by Kieran Tierney, who seems a cert to be the next permanent Celtic captain.
Celtic started the game on the front foot creating a few early chances, with Sinclair having a shot saved by Bain then McGregor curling a shot just wide. Patrick Roberts, who was in fine form today, was next to threaten but Bain saved, Ntcham, Tierney and Griffiths - after being set up by a Gamboa cross - also had efforts on goal.
After the bright opening the game went into a bit of a lull, as Celtic’s midfield seemed to fall out of the game a bit, and the first-half ended goalless.
The first chance of the second half fell to Dundee, but thankfully Holt’s effort went wide, before Celtic burst into life. Firstly a good run by Roberts ended with his shot being saved by Bain, then Griffiths missed a great chance to make it 1-0, played through one on one against Bain his effort was tame and the goalkeeper saved.
It seemed just a matter of time until Celtic scored, and in the 61st minute the goal duly arrived, an Olivier Ntcham shot from 25 yards out deceived Bain and the Celts were in the lead!
A Sinclair shot was saved for corner before de Vries took centre stage, firstly stopping an O’Hara shot from point blank range, then after Deacon beat Boyata and was clean through Dorus tipped his shot over the bar. Finally in injury time he pulled off another fine save, this time from El Bakhtaoui, with Deacon putting the rebound over the bar.
So the game ended 1-0 to Celtic, and Brendan Rodgers will pleased with the contributions of fringe players Dorus de Vries and Cristian Gamboa, Gamboa was a constant threat down the wing attacking wise and did well defensively, and we stated already de Vries was excellent in goal. Of the usual suspects Patrick Roberts was very good but none of the other regulars stood out.
With so many first team regulars out there was always a chance of a disjointed performance and so it proved, but the game was still won and now it’s all eyes on Wednesday’s trip to Munich.