The surprising news prior to our first game at Tannadice in years, was the omission from the starting line up of James Forrest. His form has been a little off at the start of the season which has led to manager Neil Lennon relegating him to the bench for the visit to Dundee.
The line up is....
BarkasUnited got off to a good start to be honest with a chance after a couple of minutes, but the first real opportunity came on 12 minutes when Edouard had a fizzing shot just off target from in front of the United goalposts.
Frimpong Jullien Bitton Taylor
Christie Ntcham Elyounoussi
Subs : Bain, Ajeti, Klimala, Soro, Ajer, Elhamed, Forrest, Harper, McInroy
An unusual corner by the Hoops almost led to an own goal. The ball was played over by Christie to Edouard along the deck, which the big Frenchman touched backwards, only to bounce off the United defence and into the waiting arms of the goalie.
A slow first half was punctuated on 27 minutes when a beautifully flighted ball from Christie with a free kick was met by the head of Bitton around the penalty spot, but the Israeli couldn't direct the inviting ball into the net.
Good work down the left between Elyounoussi and Taylor led to a blocked effort from Christie and another corner, but to no avail.
United countered and created a really good effort for Bolton half an hour in. Harkes took the ball neatly on his chest and passed to Bolton on the right hand side but his shot fired over.
McGregor was booked for a late challenge in midfield but with 36 minutes on the clock Connolly managed to evade any sanction for his third foul - a studs up challenge direct on to the ankle of Edouard.
Edouard nearly broke the deadlock after great work through the centre by Elyounoussi. A clever through ball to the striker brought out a good save from Siegrist who even kept out the rebound as it fell to Elyounoussi again.
Connolly halved Ntcham just before the break - and eventually a yellow card was shown, but the resulting free kick was the last action of the first half.
Half Time Dundee United 0 - Celtic 0
A great start to the second half for the Champions. Ntcham with some deft footwork, got past his man and hit a delightfully inviting ball across goal - unfortunately no takers to steer it on target. the ball was quickly recycled and Christie's strong left foot shot from 18 yards stung the fingers of Siegrist in the United goal. Edouard had a half chance a minute or so later but it was easily dealt with by the United goalie.
Frimpong showed good skill with a mazy run down the right channel leading to a corner which unfortunately came to nothing.
A quiet Elyounoussi burst into life with a good surge forward. He moved onto his right and found Brown. The skippers first time ball found Christie who should have done better with a flashing effort wide. A familiar feeling of frustration was beginning to creep into the game although the team were playing well enough. Forrest for Elyounoussi was the managers first foray to his bench.
Jamie Robson did well to strike a lay off from Clarke but Barkas saved easily enough.
Forrest nearly broke the deadlock after drifting in from the left and unleashing an effort that was a little over.
Celtic went three at the back with the introduction of Ajer and Ajeti. The 3 5 2 formation that proved so effective last year was now coming into play.
McGregor hit one past the post with 12 minutes to go after a tangle of players in front of goal. With ten minutes remaining Eddy had a chance from a free kick 25 yards out on the left. He got it up and over but glanced the top of the bar and went over.
Finally the Champs took the lead and it came from the foot of new £5 million Albian Ajeti. Christie took a ball from Frimpong on the left and cut inside to unleash a shot which the keeper parried. Ajeti did well with the loose ball to head into the feet of Edouard but the strike bounced off a crowd of United defenders only to fall once more to Ajeti who struck low and hard through the ruck of players and into Siegrist's net. It was a scrappy goal but well struck and the Swiss international was delighted to get his first goal in the hoops.
Klimala came on with 5 minutes to go for Edouard who had had a frustrating afternoon.
A breakaway from a United corner in was held up well by Klimala. His lay off to Frimpong was whizzed across to Forrest but the keeper smothered at his feet for the last clear cut chance of the game.
All in all it was a case of job done. You sometimes get these games, but the points were the important thing and they were secured by an Albian Ajeti strike - hopefully the first of many for our new striker.
It ended up a well deserved one nil victory for the champions with what could prove to be a very important three points in the quest for ten in a row. It was good to see Dundee United back in the Premiership, but thankfully we managed to avoid an Arab Spring with a late victory!!