Dundee 1-2 Celtic

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Brendan Rodgers lauded James Forrest as one of the “fathers” of Celtic’s success over the past decade after the veteran winger’s double downed Dundee and maintained Celtic’s three-point Scottish Premiership lead.

Forrest marked his return to the starting line-up with a stunning first-half volley from the edge of the box and low drive midway through the second period.

Dundee replied with Adam Idah deflecting an Antonio Portales shot past Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart but were unable to deny the visitors victory.

“He’s one of the fathers of the great success that this club has had over the last decade,” said Rodgers of 11-time league winner Forrest.

“Very humble, very understated but what he has, he’s got immense quality.”

Rangers had drawn level on points with Rodgers’ side by beating St Mirren in Paisley earlier on Sunday.

But the title is still Celtic’s to lose with four rounds of fixtures to play and the Old Firm still to meet in the east end of Glasgow.

Dundee remain two points behind fifth-placed St Mirren and in contention for a Europa Conference qualifying place.

Nicolas Kuhn and Reo Hatate threatened early on for Celtic, the former twice forcing goalkeeper Jon McCracken into action.

Dundee weathered the pressure and Amadou Bakayoko diverted a cross into Joe Hart’s grasp after being unable to get much purchase on the shot.

It was just at the point the hosts were starting to gain momentum that Celtic scored as Kyogo Furuhashi’s flick sat up for Forrest to strike across McCracken.

The home side showed renewed vigour after the break and Mo Sylla headed a corner wide and Jordan McGhee nodded another at Hart.

But, again, Celtic showed their quality in the final third.

Reo Hatate passed forward and Ricki Lamie and Portales got in each other’s way, leaving Forrest as beneficiary and scorer. He soon made way to cheers from the away fans.

And Celtic could have added to their lead, the graceful Hatate checking and sweeping a shot on to McCracken’s right-hand post.

Dundee finally profited from a corner, albeit with a degree of fortune.

Portales’s downward shot did not seem to have the power to cause Hart problems but he was wrongfooted by Idah’s intervention.

Forrest keeps Celtic on course – analysis

Since an early March loss away to Hearts, Celtic have barely looked back with 13 points from a possible 15 helping them regain the title initiative.

This win was far from vintage but typical of a side with the nous and experience in the likes of Forrest to get the job done.

Dundee’s hopes of a European place to cap a fine return to the Premiership remain alive and their next four fixtures are against teams they have taken points off so far this season.

Their set pieces caused Celtic plenty of problems and manager Tony Docherty – watching from the stand as he served a touchline ban – can take heart after avoiding a repeat of recent heavy defeats in this fixture.

What the managers said

Dundee manager Tony Docherty: “In the second half, we had a really, really strong performance and we went toe to toe with Celtic.

“Sitting up there and watching it, I watched a really good team. I was really, really proud of them. They need to take it into the next game.

“It’s the most shots on target Celtic have faced by a team all season. Just a wee bit unlucky that we didn’t do that wee bit more in front of goal to get the goal.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: “We were in control but when the goal goes in, it gives them a bit of hope. You then have to show your spirit and defend your box.

“It was very pleasing to get over the line. We’ve played better at times than what we did today but it was all important to get the three points.”

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