Celtic will be eating their Christmas dinner knowing that they are top of the league after a stand-out performance from youngster Mikey Johnstone helped the Scottish champions to a 3-0 win over Dundee at Celtic Park.
After scoring in the 3-0 win over Motherwell in midweek, manager Brendan Rodgers kept faith with the youngster giving him a place in the starting eleven and the academy graduate delivered his second and third senior goals, with Filip Benkovic also getting in on the action, as Celtic moved three points clear of second-placed Aberdeen at the top of the table.
Celtic were utterly dominant against a Dundee side that was more than happy to sit back and defend with little interest in taking the game to the hosts.
The first chance of the game came from a pass from Tom Rogic that split open the Dundee defence for Johnston to latch onto, but Dundee keeper Jack Hamilton cleared the danger.
Rogic again was in the thick of the action soon after as he played another through ball to Anthony Ralston on the right flank, but the subsequent low cross was pushed away by Hamilton.
The best chance of the game then fell to Scott Sinclair on seven minutes, when a Johnston shot fell into the path of Sinclair, whose curling shot towards goal was cleared off the line by Nathan Ralph.
10 minutes later and Johnston struck the crossbar after Sinclair tee’d the youngster up.
Rogic, who was a real thorn in Dundee’s side, linked with James Forrest before a weighted pass into the box from the Scotland international found Olivier Ntcham – but the Frenchman’s shot was deflected for a corner.
With half-time fast approaching, Celtic finally broke the deadlock. Callum McGregor picked up the ball in the middle of the park before playing a ball through to Johnston. The youngster turned his man with a perfectly weighted first-touch and fired his shot across the keeper into the back of the net to give Celtic a 1-0 half-time lead.
Into the second half and Celtic pushed forward looking to double their lead. A one-two between Izaguirre and Sinclair on the left allowed the Englishman to cross into the six-yard box for Johnston to race onto it and head home in off the underside of the bar.
On 70 minutes, it was 3-0 to Celtic. Ryan Christie – returning from injury – saw his shot saved by Hamilton, but it fell kindly to Filip Benkovic who fired it back into the back of the net.
With seven minutes remaining, Anthony Ralston hit the post with a shot, before Sinclair had a back-heeled effort cleared off the line.
It was a comfortable and dominant performance from Celtic who never looked troubled at all by Dundee and in reality, the scoreline flattered Dundee, who really should have been beaten by 6 or 7-0.
CELTIC: Bain; Ralston, Simunovic (Ajer 58), Benkovic, Izaguirre; McGregor, Rogic, Ntcham, Forrest (Christie 62), Sinclair; Johnston (Hayes 78)
Subs not used: Gordon, Gamboa, Morgan, Brown
DUNDEE: Hamilton; Ralph, Kerr, Kamara, Woods, Inniss; Nabi (Lambert 62), McGowan, Kallman (Miller 54), Curran; Boyle
Subs not used: Parish, Alassane Mendy, Spence, Moore, Bradbury