Aaron Mooy shines for table-topping Celtic in victory at Dundee United

Mooy scored from the spot after Jota had opened the scoring for Celtic.

Aaron Mooy shines for table-topping Celtic in victory at Dundee United SNS Group

Aaron Mooy scored one goal and set up another as Celtic beat Dundee United 2-0 to restore their nine-point lead in the cinch Premiership.

Jota headed home in the 51st minute after Mark Birighitti misjudged Mooy’s cross.

The Australian then benefited from Kieran Freeman’s handball a few minutes later as Celtic were given a VAR-assisted penalty after earlier seeing an award withdrawn.

It was another dominant victory for Celtic, if not getting close to their record-breaking win in their previous visit to Tannadice. The visitors had 18 efforts at goal to the home side’s four.

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

Celtic secured a record 9-0 victory on their previous visit to Tannadice in late August, a result which cost Jack Ross his job.

Liam Fox’s side had only lost once since the mid-season break though and they proved more difficult to break down, although Kyogo Furuhashi missed a decent chance inside 60 seconds.

Steven Fletcher looped a header on to the roof of Joe Hart’s net but it was otherwise one-way traffic as Celtic pressed United further back as the first half progressed.

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 Furuhashi through.

Reo Hatate shot just wide from 18 yards and chipped the ball on to the inside of the far post in the 42nd minute before Craig Sibbald made an excellent block from Mooy in the six-yard box.

Celtic were awarded a penalty seconds later after Furuhashi went down between the close attention of Liam Smith and Birighitti, who punched the ball clear. However Don Robertson rescinded the decision after being called to the monitor.

Jota came close again just into the second half before putting Celtic ahead. Mooy’s cross drifted over the head of Birighitti, who seemed to be taken by surprise by the arrival of Jota at speed and the Portuguese winger squeezed a header in from a tight angle.

Celtic had their penalty five minutes later after Robertson was called to the monitor to view a handball claim against Freeman after Jota’s ball into the box struck the full-back. Freeman had moved his arm towards the ball and Robertson pointed to the spot but opted not to show a second yellow card.

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

Hart twice held efforts from Fletcher and Hatate saw a shot saved but the main incident of note after the goals was an 82nd-minute debut for Celtic’s new signing, Oh Hyeon-gyu.

The South Korea striker did not see much of the ball as United enjoyed their best spell of possession, but Freeman sliced well wide after getting a half-chance to set up a comeback.

Celtic substitute Daizen Maeda headed over from three yards with the final action of the game.

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