Pars punished by magic Mulgrew

Mulgrew’s delivery led to a glorious curling opener from Anthony

Stokes and Victor Wanyama volleyed home the defender’s delivery

five minutes before the break. Mulgrew wrapped up a comfortable win

against the bottom side – Celtic’s 10th league victory in

succession – when he curled home a 30-yard free-kick midway through

the second half. Celtic were also boosted by the return off the

bench of Emilio Izaguirre, making his first appearance since

breaking his ankle at Aberdeen in August. Stokes came in for

midfielder Beram Kayal, who has been ruled out for at least a month

with the ankle injury he sustained during Celtic’s 1-0 win over

Rangers, which sent them top of the SPL. Dunfermline brought in

John Potter and Gary Mason for Joe Cardle and Jason Thomson, who

returned to Hearts after his loan spell ended. They spent most of

the opening stages inside their own half but they were getting

tight on their opponents in their defensive third. The hosts

scrambled away two corners from Mulgrew and survived a low cross

across the face of goal from Georgios Samaras, who was playing on

the left of a four-man midfield. But they could do little about the

18th-minute opener. The home defence cleared Mulgrew’s cross after

the Celtic defender had worked a short corner with James Forrest

and Stokes brought the ball down right on the edge of the box. The

Irishman was faced with a crowded penalty area but he picked his

spot in the top right corner and perfectly executed a curling

right-footed shot just out of reach of Chris Smith’s hand and just

inside the frame of the goal. Smith then pushed over Wanyama’s

powerful 25-yard strike. Dunfermline attempted to provide more

support to lone striker Andy Barrowman but they struggled to make

headway. Their first chance fell to Martin Hardie after some

persistent play from David Graham set him up 25 yards out but the

veteran midfielder placed his shot two yards wide. Celtic soon

moved two ahead in the 40th minute following another Mulgrew

set-piece. The former Aberdeen player curled a free-kick towards

the back post after Martin Hardie had fouled Samaras 35 yards out

and Wanyama ran round the back to cushion a volley home from six

yards. Dunfermline almost responded immediately when they worked

space for Paul Burns in the left channel but Fraser Forster

narrowed the angle and stood up to beat away the midfielder’s shot.

The more attack-minded Cardle replaced Mason in the 52nd minute and

Dunfermline made a bright start to the second half. However, Celtic

stepped up a gear and Gary Hooper glanced Joe Ledley’s cross beyond

the far post. Another chance went begging when Forrest played the

ball across the face of goal after a solo run. Dunfermline brought

on striker Andy Kirk for Paul Willis in the 65th minute and

Barrowman almost broke through after a long ball but Celtic got

enough men to snuff out the initial danger and Hardie shot wide

from 22 yards. Celtic moved further ahead in the 69th minute when

Mulgrew curled a free-kick which dipped over Smith’s head and

sailed into the middle of the goal. Smith looked more assured when

he parried a Samaras strike after Scott Brown had played the Greek

striker in. The goalkeeper then tipped over Forrest’s 25-yard

strike before Izaguirre came on in the 79th minute for his first

appearance since August to a huge ovation. Substitute Ki Sung-yueng

volleyed just wide following a corner as Celtic cruised to victory.