ONE scored a goal, the other made one for a team-mate.

One went away with the man-of-the-match award and the other had to do with a personal ovation from the stands when he was substituted near the end.

Just about everything was uneventful about the victory which restored some stability to Celtic's Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign but there was a reward for those who chose to watch a game within the game. Victor Wanyama and Scott Brown dictated the performance as expertly as twin orchestra conductors. The pair are the pillars of Celtic's engine room and, albeit the occasion was humdrum and the tempo undemanding, they delivered classy displays to dominate Dundee. When one moved across the pitch the other shuttled along as his shadow. When one decided to go on a run – usually Brown – the other instinctively held his position in case Dundee counter-attacked.

They constantly glanced to check each other's positions and adapt accordingly. If one was in a pocket of space the other would find him with a short pass. If one was in danger of losing possession the other would be quickly on the scene to help. As a pairing they give Celtic terrific presence and balance in the centre of the pitch. It would be intriguing to see a physical battle between them, but no Premier League opponent is a match for them. Wanyama in green boots and Brown in red: together they brought the colour to Celtic's win.

Brown must be used sparingly because of the degenerative hip problem which means it is too demanding for him to play in every fixture. He will be rested when they face Raith Rovers in the Scottish Communities League Cup tomorrow night. Perhaps Wanyama, too, will be spared that one. Not that there was any apparent lack of energy from Brown only three days after his rousing display against Benfica. The captain was still covering the ground and making occasional bursts forward against Dundee, right up until he was replaced four minutes from the end to give Efe Ambrose his debut. Ambrose came on as a straight central midfield replacement, having spent most of the afternoon realising just what he is up against to get a game there regularly.

Joe Ledley and Biram Kayal also have claims on the central places and the pair of them will soon feature regularly as they are edging closer to fitness, but right now the side's strongest midfield unit would include both Brown and Wanyama. A predictably flat and unremarkable game yielded its first goal when Brown's deft pass put Gary Hooper through to beat the last defender and drill a powerful shot past Rab Douglas. Brown would have had the opener himself had he been able to beat Douglas with a penalty five minutes earlier. The goalkeeper denied his former club with an excellent save.

Auld Rab had quite a day. Had it not been for his saves Dundee would have conceded a handful. The woodwork also came to their rescue as Celtic had to settle for only a couple of goals from their multiple chances.

Lassad Nouioui made his first start and looked more dangerous than the other new striker, Miku Fedor, has so far. Douglas, 40 now and regarded with affection around Parkhead for his contribution a decade ago, conceded that Dundee had turned up pretty much intent on damage limitation.

"We are not exactly box office and we are coming here to try to compete," he said. "I think you could see the crowd was down quite a bit in numbers [compared to the Benfica match]. But I still thought Celtic were comfortable passing the ball. They didn't force it and kept popping it about until an opening came. In the old days it would have been four or five so it was a bit of a success getting it down to two. You write off the games against Celtic but it is important you don't get a tanking."

Dundee's moments came early. Gary Irvine should have had a penalty when Emilio Izaguirre brought him down, then neither Colin Nish nor John Baird could convert after Celtic were briefly opened up. Their failure contributed to Celtic's first domestic clean sheet since the opening day of the season.

Mark Kerr did his best to break up Celtic's attacks but it was never going to be anything other than a comfortable win for the champions. After Hooper's crisp finish they scored again when Wanyama drove a shot from outside the box which beat Douglas via the inside of his right-hand post.

The Celtic support amused itself with banners and songs about zombies, a reference to the zombie-shooting banner about Rangers which could result in some minor punishment from the SFA.

"Shooting a zombie is not a crime," they chanted, laughing away. It was a symptom of how unconcerned they were about Dundee, and neither will they anticipate much of a challenge from Raith. Their interest spikes only for the Champions League matches and inevitably the same applies to the players. Having dropped points against Ross County, Hibernian and St Johnstone, second gear turned out to be good enough to deal with the team at the bottom of the division.