Celtic will be top of the Scottish Premiership on Christmas Day after teenager Mikey Johnston’s double helped earn a dominant win over Dundee.
The 19-year-old scored his second and third senior goals – four days after netting his first – as Brendan Rodgers’ side moved three clear at the top.
Playing as a lone striker, Johnston turned cutely before guiding in his first, then headed in after the break.
Filip Benkovic added a third as Celtic won a ninth straight home league game.
Dundee, meanwhile, have lost their last three games – all away from home – conceding 11 goals.
Jesse Curran had their only attempt on target – a tame shot that was saved by Scott Bain – as they slip three points behind St Mirren at the bottom of the division.
Johnston no flash in the pan
All the focus had been on the problems Celtic had up front, with Odsonne Edouard injured and no other recognised striker available. But problems for some often present opportunities for others, and this opportunity would be taken by Johnston.
The 19-year-old scored his first Celtic goal in midweek against Motherwell and he would underline his huge promise by taking his chance against Dundee.
Just as it looked like the visitors had managed to secure an unlikely scoreline of 0-0 at half time, there was Johnston showing sharpness to fire low into the corner past Jack Hamilton to give Celtic the lead.
It was clearly no flash in the pan, as right after the break Johnston effectively sealed the win with a header in off the bar. That would have completed his hat trick had an early effort not come back off the bar.
Celtic utterly dominated and from there it was just about damage limitation for Dundee, but they were just unable to stop the returning Ryan Christie – on as a sub for James Forrest – from cutting in from the right and firing a shot which Hamilton saved but spilled for Benkovic to make it 3-0. Anthony Ralston also hit a post.
From the moment Dundee left Kenny Miller on the bench, it was evident that the Dark Blues would try to grind out a point. Apart from Martin Woods low effort in the early stages wide of a post it was chance after chance for Celtic throughout.
‘More important games to come’ – analysis
For both sides there are more important assignments on the horizon.
A Celtic victory always looked likely. This game was all about keeping the home fires burning and staying top at Christmas. Rodgers will hope the likes of Edouard and Kieran Tierney will make it back for the sterner tests of Aberdeen and Rangers away.
As for Dundee, their priority now shifts to Livingston on Boxing Day and St Johnstone just before Hogmanay – two home games which offer a better chance of collecting the points they desperately need.
Source BBC News