BEATING Rangers at Ibrox with an understrength team and moving back to the top of the cinch Premiership in the final match before the international break somewhat alleviated the pressure on Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers after two bad results.

The joyously celebrated 1-0 win in Govan a fortnight ago, though, would have been quickly forgotten if the Scottish champions had failed to follow it up with a victory over Dundee at Parkhead this afternoon.

Especially with their city rivals defeating St Johnstone 2-0 at McDiarmid Park in the early game and reducing their lead at the top of the table, albeit having played a game more, to just a point before kick-off.

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There is, as Rodgers knows full well form extensive personal experience, never any let up in the East End of Glasgow.

The treble winners were perhaps not as impressive as they had been in their previous outing and it took them some time to wear down the stubborn resistance of the doughty Championship champions.

But three goals in the second half – a David Turnbull penalty, a Kyogo Furuhashi header and a Matt O’Riley effort – duly secured a second successive Premiership win and saw them open up a two point lead over St Mirren in the league.

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There is still considerable room for improvement. But if was ultimately a satisfying workout ahead of the Champions League match against Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Tuesday evening. Here are five things we learned from the encounter.


Having not played a competitive game since back in January, Liverpool loanee Nat Phillips was not deemed fit enough to start the Old Firm game and he watch the action unfold from the comfort of the media room.

He was given the nod to start in the heart of the Celtic rearguard this afternoon, though, and made his debut for the club he has joined until January.

Gustaf Lagerbielke, whose lapse in concentration against Rangers had been fortunate not to cost his side a first half goal, dropped to the bench as Liam Scales, who had been outstanding in that outing, retained his place.

Much is, with Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh all out injured and the Champions League group stage getting underway next week, expected of the 6ft 3in 26-year-old.

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The Englishman has played for VfB Stuttgart in the 2 Bundesliga, Bournemouth in the Championship and Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League in the past. Is he the sort of cultured and commanding figure who Celtic so desperately need at the back both home and abroad just now?

This was perhaps not the best game for him to showcase his talents. Dundee, who have more than held their own since returning to the top flight, dealt well with everything their opponents threw at them in the first half. But they offered next to nothing going forward.

Still, Phillips did everything that was required of him during the opening 45 minutes. He failed to reappear for the second half after rolling his ankle slightly. He was replaced by Lagerbielke as a precautionary measure. Will he be able to face Feyenoord? It will be a blow to Celtic if he is unavailable.   


Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart had a far quieter afternoon against Dundee than he did against Rangers. But the former England internationalist was still called on to make one crucial block when the scoreline was 0-0. He denied Luke McCowan from close range following a Owen Beck cut back.

If Dundee had managed to forge in front at that stage in proceedings they could have sat back and protected the lead and the final outcome might well have been a little bit different.  


Celtic fans got a fright when their hero Furuhashi, the man whose volley had sealed the three points against Rangers, left the field during the first half and headed up the tunnel followed by three members of the medical staff. He appeared to be struggling with his shoulder to onlookers.

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He has been bothered by a recurring problem in that area on and off during his time in this country and onlookers feared the worst. But Rodgers made no attempt to replace his striker during his absence and fans were relieved when he suddenly reappeared.

He took his tally for the 2023/24 campaign to four with a glancing header and then provided an assist for O’Riley.

The prospect of their team taking to the park in the Netherlands next week without the Japanese internationalist is a concerning one for supporters. They they will be keeping their fingers crossed there is no repeat of the scare.   


Daizen Maeda forced a save from Trevor Carson after being teed up by a Greg Taylor chip. The winger then had a strike ruled out for offside following a VAR check after being supplied by Scales. O’Riley also hit the post with a shot that deflected off Malachi Boeteng.

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But Callum McGregor and his team mates were once again far from their best today. It took a penalty for them to break the deadlock. Referee Grant Irvine initially awarded a free kick on the edge of the Dundee area when Turnbull went down following a challenge by Ryan Howley.

His VAR colleagues Steven Kirkland and Gary Hilland, though, over in Clydesdale House watched back replays of the incident and a spot kick was given. Turnbull took responsibility and drilled his attempt down the middle as Carson dived to his right.

Celtic have key men missing just now and are adapting to a new style of play. But they are just not the same side with playmakers Turnbull and O’Riley on the park together. Reo Hatate received a huge ovation from the crowd when he returned from a lay-off and came on for the scorer of the first goal. The hosts had a far better balance thereafter.  


Rodgers threw on new recruits Luis Palma and Paulo Bernardo in the second half and while the Honduran winger and Portuguese midfielder did not manage to create any chances or score any goals they will have benefitted from their fleeting involvement. Their manager needs every available body at the moment.

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