Celtic FC: December Review

Although there is still one match to go before another eventful year at Celtic is seen out, a recent defeat at the hands of Dundee United has got fans talking, with a minority still doubting new manager, Ronny Deila's credibility as boss. Celtic have had a topsy-turvy month thus far results wise, with three wins and two defeats in all competitions- Deila will be setting his sights on a win against strugglers, Ross County to make December's record look more presentable.

Celtic 1-0 Partick Thistle

A few days after disposing Hearts in the cup, Partick Thistle were the opponents of the Parkhead club. A few weeks previous, The Bhoys had came up against their Glaswegian counter-parts in cup action, with John Guidetti stealing the show in a comfortable victory for Celtic. The now familiar 4-2-3-1 formation went up against the sturdy Jags in a bitterly cold Wednesday evening encounter. Celtic won by a narrow one goal lead, thanks to Dutch centre-back, Virgil van Dijk who netted in thef 60th minute. Although content with the slender of victories, some eyes were pointed more towards their future cup opponents, as they were beaten by Alloa at the same time.

Motherwell 0-1 Celtic

A trip to Lanarkshire was to be for Celtic, when they went up against a managerless, Motherwell at Fir Park. The Bhoys put on an impressive but un-clinical showing in front of a partially filled stadium- unhappy with their own recent performances. The Celtic goal came through smart thinking of attacking midfielder, Stefan Johansen, who rounded the goalkeeper and picked out a waiting Anthony Stokes for a cut-back. The period of dominance that Celtic expressed throughout the match just couldn't present itself on the scoreboard. The Well may well have thought of themselves to be unlucky to at least nick a point when substitute, Lee Erwin was unable to slot home an easy chance at the last.

Dinamo Zagreb 4-3 Celtic

Europa League matters had to be dealt with when the Celts travelled to Croatia to play Dinamo Zagbreb, in what was an unimportant but thrilling encounter. Celtic had already secured qualification to the next stage of the competition and fielded a partly experimental side. They conceded early on but an instant response by Kris Commons in a bizarre turn of events got Celtic level. Stefan Scepovic, who hasn't had the best time since joining Celtic in the summer, put Celtic in front- taking advantage of Zagreb ball-watching. Before the break Zagreb were the ones to draw level. After the break, Celtic were hit with two quick blows as Zagreb doubled their goal tally. Celtic were to have the last laugh as they brought the score within one before the full-time whistle when Pivaric scored an own goal. 

Celtic 4-1 St Mirren

Back in league action, Celtic hosted relegation candidates St Mirren, under the charge of Gary Teale. Going into the game it was a case of by how many were Celtic going to win by. Captain, Scott Brown put his side up early, but The Bhoys were surprised to see the ball in the back of the net but was chopped off for offside. Little did they know, St Mirren would go onto bring the game back level- as Marc McAusland assisted Sean Kelly in the goal. This goal was quickly cancelled out thanks to smart work by winger, James Forrest who scored his first after coming back into the side from injury. Things were settled for the first half when Scott Brown scored another goal, cementing Celtic dominance. Midway through the second half Stefan Johansen played through Anthony Stokes who scored the final goal of the game. The team played with great fluidity and manager Ronny Deila thought the margin could have been by 10. 

Dundee United 2-1 Celtic

A tricky tie to Tannadice to play Dundee United would get chins wagging as The Arabs took Celtic to task, defeating them by two goals to one. Jackie McNamara, Dundee United manager, had his tactics spot on as he made his side go for Celtic and exploited many weaknesses. A miss-hit Efe Ambrose clearance fell into the path of the deadly right foot of Nadir Ciftci who done well to loop the ball to Craig Gordon's far post and put United in front. What followed was Celtic dominance in attack, but very vulnerable at defence with Ambrose, Emilio Izaguirre and Adam Matthews in the thick of it. Celtic were unfortunate not to be in front as many chances passed them by throughout the match. A spirited and passionate defensive performance of United was enough to absorb any attacks Celtic threw their way- as well as the heroics of goalkeeper, Radoslaw Cierzniak on multiple occasions. The keeper was eventually beaten as substitute Leigh Griffiths slotted his shot through the legs of the Polish stopper at the end of the match. There were many talking points post-game including an offside decision against Scepovic as his goal was disallowed. There was also a case to answer for for Virgil van Dijk who was seen to be fouled during a corner. That being said, United definitely played to their strengths, and exploited weaknesses in Celtic.

Future Matches

Last up for Celtic in December is Ross County at Parkhead, and it seems to be another case of by how many goals. In the first tie this season, Celtic played arguably their best performance against the Highlandersm and they'll be hoping for more of the same. After County, Celtic have to trips- one in the Glasgow derby - Partick Thistle and then away to Kilmarnock on a Monday night. In future fixtures in Inter Milan, who The Celts drew in the next stage of the Europa League. The mid-table Italians are beatable to many in the Celtic camp, whereas the same will probably be said in the Inter camp. Celtic are desperate to keep hold off their top players, but face competition from elsewhere. Ronny Deila will also be looking to add to his squad with the Inter game in mind as well as the all Glasgow affair in the cup semi-final in February.  

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