Celtic 2-0 Dundee United

Last updated : 06 August 2005 By Kevin Smith
Shunsuke Nakamura kicked off his Celtic career with a man of the match winning performance, in Celtic's 2-0 win over Dundee United today. John Hartson and Craig Beattie were the goalscorers but it will be Nakamura who will grab the headlines tomorrow.

Gordon Strachan made only one change from Tuesday's victory over Artmedia, with Ross Wallace dropping out to make way for Nakamura. It was a fantastic day for football at Celtic Park, and Dundee United brought a decent support with them.

Celtic had many chances in the game and were unlucky with many of them. On another day, we could have won the game by four or five.

Maciej Zurawski had the best chance of the first half, when he was released by Nakamura, to find himself one on one with United 'keeper Derek Stillie. Zurawski took too long to decide what to do and in the end hit a poor finish straight at the goalkeeper.

Dundee United showed to be the usual boring side to come to Celtic Park, playing every man behind the ball, and generally making it difficult for the home side to make any impact.

But with just under ten minutes remaining in the first half, John Hartson put Celtic in front. Mo Camara fired a long ball up to the big striker, who muscled his way through the United defence, to smash home under the body of Stillie.

The second half proved to be a mirror image of the first, but with more Celtic chances.

Artur Boruc made a great save in the early minutes of the second period, and it was slightly concerning that we were only one daft mistake away from dropping another two points.

But Celts piled on the pressure and John Hartson came unlucky with two headers in the space of a minute, both of which rebounded back off the crossbar.

Nakamura won a free-kick on the edge of the Dundee United area just after the hour mark and you could feel the anticipation from the home support. He took the kick himself, a thunderous drive which was well saved by Stillie. His free kicks are going to be a huge threat to opposition sides this season.

Nakamura came close minutes later with a chipped shot but as he left the field to be replaced by Craig Beattie, it was clear he had had a fine day at the office. Shaun Maloney also came on as a substitute, replacing Zurawski.

Maloney and Beattie showed great hunger and were immediatley in the thick of the action. Maloney came close twice, one with his head, which he showed have scored.

With only minutes remaning, Maloney crossed an inch-perfect ball for Craig Beattie, who latched onto it just inside the United area. The ball was destined for the goals as soon as it left his feet and the three points were secured with what will surely be a contender for goal of the month, if not season.

So we have our first domestic victory of the season, and we look to be off and running. The defence look alot more stable and the midfield and attack played some neat stuff. It was a great performance today and if Nakamura keeps up today's standard of performance, we look to have found a true star.

Come On The Hoops Man Of The Match: Shunsuke Nakamura