Sunday 19th March 2017: Scottish Premiership; Dundee 1 (El-Bakhtaoui 76) Celtic 2 (Simunovic 45 Armstrong 52)
Celtic moved within three points of clinching our sixth title in a row with a scrappy 2-1 win over Dundee, with James Forrest the star man. For arguably the third week in a row some of our 'big' players turned in indifferent performances but thankfully it didn't cost us points this week.
Brendan Rodgers made two changes from the side which drew with Rangers, Jozo Simumovic replaced Erik Sviatchenko and Callum McGregor - making his 100th Celtic appearence - replaced Nir Bitton.
The opening forty minutes of the game weren't much to write home about at all. The ball kept getting bogged down in midfield and Celtic's final ball was letting them down. It wasn't helped by some aggressive tackling by Dundee either. Our only real chance in this period was a Moussa Dembele header which went wide of the post.
Thankfully the game picked up just before half-time, and Celtic went in front on the stroke of half-time. A Boyata header was cleared off the line, and then from the resulting corner Forrest did well to create a chance out of nothing when his cross found Simunovic whose shot took a deflection off Gomis and crept into the net. 1-0 Celtic with the last kick of the first-half. (0-1)
We increased our lead in the 52nd minute with our first real attack of the second half and once again James Forrest was to the fore, as his cross was met with a glancing header by Armstrong which flew into the net for his 11th goal of season. (0-2)
Celtic then got into some great positions but were unable to find that third goal, a Sinclair free header which came off his shoulder being a glaring example. For the second game in a row some questionable subs seemed to disrupt the flow of the team, as Forrest and McGregor were replaced by Roberts and Kouassi as we struggled to keep hold of the ball.
Dundee pulled a goal back in the 76th minute, a great goal by El-Bakhtaoui who left Boyata for dead and curled a wonderful shot into the top corner (1-2).
Dundee piled men forward in an attempt to get the equaliser, and Brendan Rodgers recognised the danger by replacing Sinclair with Sviatchenko. Despite having plenty of possession in the last ten minutes, Dundee failed to create any real chances and Celtic held on for the win.
They say the mark of a championship winning side is playing poorly and winning, and that was the case today, as many of Celtic's stars of the season - Tierney, Sinclair and Dembele in particular - all had poor games, continuing in from last week. Dembele was also struggling with a hamstring problem at the end of game, but he's ok according to Brendan Rodgers. Thankfully Forrest, Armstrong and Simunovic all had good games and that was enough to get us over the line. Normally I'd complain about the international break but perhaps a week off is what some of the players need, to get them raring to go for Tynecastle in two weeks time, where we will attempt to clinch six in a row.