Celtic restored their nine-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership after second-half goals from Jota and Aaron Mooy gave them a 2-0 win at Dundee United.

It was landmark victory for Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou who won his 50th Scottish Premiership game in just 61 matches – only Martin O’Neill (59 games) has got to that mark quicker for Celtic.

The Hoops recorded their biggest-ever away league win on their last visit to Tannadice with a 9-0 victory in late August, but were frustrated until the 51st minute when Jota headed in from a tight angle to open the scoring.

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Celtic make the breakthrough early in the second half as Jota heads in from close range

Mooy then doubled the lead from the penalty spot just five minutes later after United defender Kieran Freeman had handled in the area following a VAR check.

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Mooy doubles Celtic’s advantage when he steps up to take a penalty and sends Birighitti the wrong way

Celtic are now unbeaten in the league since mid-September and also have a goal difference that is 23 better off than second-placed Rangers.

Dundee United, meanwhile, sit 10th and are only above Ross County and Kilmarnock on goal difference.


How Celtic made it 13 games unbeaten

Both sides had transfer-linked strikers missing from their squad – United’s Tony Watt and Celtic’s Giorgos Giakoumakis missing out, while Greg Taylor and Cameron Carter-Vickers returned from injury for the champions.

In one-way traffic at Tannadice, Jota threatened three times after cutting in from the left, forcing two saves from Mark Birighitti, who pulled off a better one when Alistair Johnston played Kyogo Furuhashi through.

Reo Hatate then hit the far post in the 42nd minute before Celtic were awarded a penalty moments later after Furuhashi went down under Birighitti’s punched clearance.

Celtic are awarded a penalty before VAR rules it out after Mark Birighitti clashes with Kyogo Furuhashi
Celtic saw a penalty overturned by VAR after Mark Birighitti clashed with Kyogo Furuhashi

But referee Don Robertson reversed his decision after being called to the monitor by VAR to see the first half finish goalless.

Celtic took the lead six minutes after the restart as Mooy’s cross drifted over the head of Birighitti and Jota squeezed a header in from a very tight angle at the back post.

VAR then went in the visitors’ favour five minutes later after Robertson gave a penalty following a visit to the monitor for a handball against Freeman after Jota’s ball into the box struck the defender’s hand.

Mooy sent fellow Australian Birighitti the wrong way to score his fifth goal in seven matches.

Aaron Mooy celebrates scoring to make it 2-0
Mooy celebrates scoring his penalty to make it 2-0

Celtic’s new signing, Hyeon-Gyu Oh, was then given an 82nd-minute debut off the bench while fellow substitute Daizen Maeda headed over from three yards with the final action of the game.

Postecoglou: Mooy would be playing in EPL in any other universe

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Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou says his side’s 2-0 victory over Dundee United was a ‘really good performance’

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou speaking to Sky Sports about player of the match Mooy:

“He’s going really well. He’s built up his match fitness back to a level I know he can get to.

“He’s a quality player and in any other universe he’d be playing in the English Premier League but we were lucky he feel on our doorstep and I was happy to open the door.

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Following their side’s 2-0 victory over Dundee United, Aaron Mooy and Callum McGregor reflect on their win

“Aaron’s got this real capacity to keep working. He’s got a great engine – he runs all day. Before he came to us, he didn’t play a lot of football which I’m kind of hoping means he’s saved it up for the rest of his career.”

Fox: Match was never going to define our season

Dundee United head coach Liam Fox speaking to Sky Sports:

“It was a tough afternoon for us. I thought Celtic were very good. We conceded two quick goals that put us on the back foot for the rest of the game.

“Today’s never going to define our season, we’ve got big games coming up.

“I’ve got no worries about the group. We get back to work tomorrow and we look forward to what are big games on Wednesday and Saturday.”

What’s next?

Dundee United are away to Kilmarnock in their next Scottish Premiership match on February 1, while Celtic host Livingston on the same night.

Both games kick-off at 7.45pm.

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