SPL - Celtic thrash Dundee United

Sat, 13 Aug 17:00:00 2011

Celtic maintained their unbeaten start to the SPL season with a 5-1 win over Dundee United at Celtic Park.

SPL - Celtic thrash Dundee Utd

The home side made a lively start, as Anthony Stokes made it three goals in as many games after just four minutes. Stokes exploited Dundee's creaking defence as he tapped in Daniel Majstorovic's pass from six yards.

Despite the home side enjoying the majority of the possession, Dundee United pulled one back against the run of play just before the half hour mark, as Johnny Russell scored from close range.

But the Celtic fight back began immediately as Gary Hooper found target with a close-range header from Anthony Stokes' pass to exploit United's vulnerable defence once again.

Celtic began the second half in a lively fashion as Ki Sun-Yueng made it three, and a fourth came on 70 minutes thanks to Joe Ledley who scored from inside the six-yard box.

Despite appearing to be on cruise control at 4-1 up, Celtic's James Forrest added a fifth in added time to send out a clear message to rivals Rangers.

Just four minutes in, a sensational long-range shot from Kris Commons gave the United keeper Dusan Pernis a scare, resulting in a corner from which Stokes nodded in from six yards.

Russell then cancelled out Stokes' early goal after 27 minutes with his effort against the run of play. His equaliser came when Gary Kenneth miscued a shot that rolled across the Celtic goal for an unmarked Russell, who seized his chance from 10 yards out.

But Celtic regained the lead almost immediately when Hooper latched onto a header that rebounded off United's crossbar and wrong-footed keeper Pernis to give Celtic a 2-1 lead going into the break.

After the interval, Celtic had chance after chance, as Kris Commons struck the inside of the visitors' left-hand post, but the ball rebounded back out to safety. But United looked threatening as John Rankin sent a long-range free-kick curving just past the post in the 56th minute.

Celtic's third goal came on the counter attack. Scott Robertson fell in a heap inside Celtic's penalty area, but referee Craig Thomson was not fooled. Celtic quickly counter-attacked with Commons sliding the ball to Ki, whose powerful strike from 18 yards out put Celtic 3-1 up.

Despite their two goal deficit, United pressed on. Willo Flood's corner found Gary Kenneth who headed inches past the Celtic post. Moments later, Russell was unfortunate as his header was deflected away from goal in similar fashion.

The hosts soon regained possession, as Hooper went on a storming run into the United half and shot at goal. His attempt went wide of target, and he injured himself in the process. After a lengthy spell of physio treatment, he was stretchered off to rapturous applause.

United threatened at times as Flood and Russell both came close, but Celtic enjoyed the upper hand as Maloney's precise back heel from United's goal-line found Ledley who tapped in the fourth for Neil Lennon's side.

Substitute James Forrest clinched Celtic's fifth of the day from inside the six-yard box in the final minute of added time. The win puts Celtic just a point behind table-toppers Motherwell as they take nine points from their opening three games. United fall to sixth place following last week's home draw to St Mirren.

Rebecca Adams / Eurosport

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