Celtic smash six past United

Celtic bounced back from conceding an early goal to crush Dundee

United 6-2 and move 18 points clear at the top of the Scottish

Premier League.

Kris Commons and Anthony Stokes scored twice to lead the

reigning champions to an easy win that erased a few of the bad

memories of their Champions League defeat by Juventus in

midweek.

The home side were soon on the back foot and they fell a goal

behind in the 10th minute when Gary Mackay-Steven stole the ball

from Charlie Mulgrew in midfield and ran into the box before

feeding an unmarked Stuart Armstrong for an easy finish.

But the lead lasted less than two minutes as Celtic responded

from a corner at the other end, Efe Ambrose rising to head Commons’

centre past Radoslaw Cierzniak.

The early turnaround was completed on 22 when Commons got his

name on the score-sheet, rifling Emilio Izaguirre’s cross into the

net off the crossbar.

United were given a chance to level four minutes later when

Mackay-Steven was harshly adjudged to have been brought down in the

box by Adam Matthews, but Fraser Forster made a fine save to deny

Jon Daly from 12 yards.

That escape seemed to inspire Celtic and they took a 3-1 lead

eight minutes before half-time thanks to persistent work from

Stokes, who set up Joe Ledley for a curled shot into the top corner

of Cierzniak’s net with the aid of a deflection.

The game was over as a contest 10 minutes into the second-half

when Celtic made no mistake with a penalty of their own, Commons

grabbing his second goal of the game after Gary Hooper had been

bundled over in the area.

A fifth goal came 19 minutes from time when Stokes took a pass

from Victor Wanyama and fired past Cierzniak from just outside the

area.

Stokes scored his second, and Celtic’s sixth, eight minutes from

time as the rout continued, volleying past Cierzniak after James

Forrest had been denied by a brilliant save from the Polish

keeper.

There was still time for an eighth goal, although it was United

who wrapped up the scoring in the final minute through the prolific

Johnny Russell, but that was nothing more than a consolation on

manager Jackie McNamara’s return to the club he served so well as a

player.