Celtic deservedly came out on top of a keenly contested game at Tannadice as second half goals from Jota and a penalty from Aaron Mooy sealed victory for the champions against Dundee United.

Here are five talking points as the champions restored their nine-point advantage at the top of the Premiership.


Thank goodness VAR has rid Scottish football of controversy and conspiracy theories eh?

The technology intervened here once more after referee Don Robertson awarded a spot-kick to Celtic after a challenge from Dundee United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti on Kyogo, as he barrelled through the Celtic striker to punch the ball clear in the area.

After consulting the VAR monitor though, the official decided that the connection Birighitti managed on the ball rendered his challenge fair enough, and overturned his original on-field call to the predictable delight of the huge visiting support.

For all the Sunday songs of praise they directed at the Scottish Football Association following the call, perhaps even some of them would admit the referee had arrived at the correct decision when they too see the replays back. Or maybe not.

Like it or loathe it, though, this was a rare case of VAR doing the job it was brought in to do, correcting a decision that would have been incredibly harsh on Dundee United.

The Celtic fans were a little happier to see VAR come into play once more in the second half as Freeman handled Jota’s attempted pass, an incident Robertson missed in real time.

Again, it was the correct call, so credit where it is due as VAR and the officiating team had a rare good day at the office.


It is fair to say that by his own sky-high standards, the wonderfully gifted winger hasn’t quite hit the same heights of late that he did during his stunning debut season in Scotland, but there were signs here he is getting back to his menacing best.

He gave United’s Kieran Freeman a torrid time of it at Tannadice, keeping the right-back guessing as he mixed up his approach, cutting inside to test Birighitti on several occasions during the first half and attacking down the side to clip over crosses on others.

He played a beautiful through ball that sliced open the United defence within the opening seconds that the striker couldn’t convert, his stinging volley brought the best save of the first half from the United keeper, and his no-look pass played Reo Hatate into the area for the midfielder to clip the ball off the far post.

He caught United cold at the start of the second half too, cutting into the box and curling just wide of the far top corner, but he was looking the Celtic player most likely to open the scoring, which he duly did.

Mooy’s runs from midfield were causing United problems all day, and when he got down the right to swing over a deep cross to the back post, Jota was there to produce a clever header into the net from a tight angle.


The Celtic captain brought up his 400th appearance for the club in his usual understated style, quietly running the game from the middle of the park with his mixture of energy, composure and clever passing.

Celtic actually coped well enough on the field in a rare spell out injured for McGregor earlier in the season due to the performances of Matt O’Riley in his deeper midfield role, but his importance to Ange Postecoglou’s team and the club as a whole can hardly be overstated.

He has matured into a fine player first and foremost, of course, but has also developed into the undoubted leader and figurehead of the Celtic squad.

Given his relentless appetite to play every minute he possibly can, and his remarkable appearance rate over the last five years or so, he will have his eye on racking up many a future milestone in his Celtic career yet.


It was never likely to be another rout of the nature of the 9-0 embarrassment that ended Jack Ross’s reign at Tannadice here, but while Celtic did run out worthy winners in the end, there was clear evidence of the organisational improvements that have been made by Liam Fox.

Over and above that, there was a real desire to defend, with captain Ryan Edwards marshalling his backline really well, particularly during the first half as they made it to the interval without their goal being breached.

Goalkeeper Birighitti also looks much improved from those harrowing early days of the season, though he may feel he could have done better at Celtic’s opener, with the ball travelling a long way before reaching Jota at the back post.

What may rankle with the United players and manager is the way that this game so closely mirrored the defeat here to Rangers just a few weeks back, when they competed in the game before conceding a couple of soft goals in quick succession at the start of the second half to kill their chances of a result.

They won’t come up against the quality that Celtic and Rangers have at their disposal every week, of course, but Fox will hope his men can learn from their mistakes and improve their concentration.

All in all though, this was a performance and result that shouldn’t dent confidence as United look to press on with their recent upturn in fortunes and climb away from trouble at the bottom of the table.


The South Korean striker was given his debut with eight minutes of normal time to go, and he quickly got involved in the action, driving forward from deep and finding Sead Haksabanovic with a good pass out wide. He should have had an assist too, as his cross was headed over from close range late on by Daizen Maeda.

He certainly looks a real physical presence up top and seems to have pace to burn, and Celtic fans will be looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the party in support of Kyogo over the coming weeks and months.