Dundee United 0 Celtic 2 (Half-time 0-1)
The first silverware for the 2014-15 season in Scotland went to Celtic at the weekend, as they overcame a resilient Dundee United side 2-0 in the final at Hampden. United finished the game with ten men, after their captain Sean Dillon was sent off eleven minutes into the second period, and were ultimately undone by goals from Kris Commons in the first-half and a late strike from James Forrest. Victory ensured that Ronny Deila's side are still very much on target for a domestic treble, with a healthy lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership over Aberdeen and a quarter-final replay with United still to play this week.
The score line may have looked relatively comfortable for the Glasgow side by the final whistle, but Jackie McNamara's men continued to thwart their illustrious opposition, even after the dismissal of Dillon had seen them numerically disadvantaged for the later stages of the game. McNamara was not best pleased by the performance of the referee Bobby Madden, feeling that many of the crucial decisions did not go his side's way on the day. High among the contentious moments was a penalty appeal, when Ryan Dow was challenged by Scott Brown for Celtic, which the ref turned down.
Tight games often hinge on one or two key moments and United certainly had cause to be upset when Celtic scored their opener through Commons on 28 minutes, with the Dundee side temporarily down to ten men at the time. Dillon was involved in much of the controversy, being ordered from the pitch in the first-half after being caught by Virgil van Dijk, in order to have stitches applied to a wound resulting from the challenge. While he was off the pitch, Celtic got their goal. The United boss was equally incensed by the lack of action taken against the Celtic man for the challenge, although at first glance it had looked to be an accidental collision. McNamara referred to "inconsistencies" in the refereeing decisions after the match, feeling that Dillon's second-half foul on Emilio Izaguirre did not merit him being sent off, given the 'leniency' showed to van Dijk earlier. Dillon had several stitches applied to a gash in his leg as a result.
Celtic were also awarded a penalty late on which Radoslaw Cierzniak saved from Forrest, with McNamara believing that Dow's tangle was equally deserving of a penalty call. The 'luck' has certainly not been with them against Celtic recently, after finishing their initial Scottish Cup match last week against them with just nine men at the end, although by setting their team up to deny Celtic of space they do risk the wrath of the referee on occasions.
United will now need to pick themselves up for the Scottish Cup replay at Celtic Park on Wednesday, with another match against the same opposition away from home at the weekend in the league to play as well. Celtic on the other hand will be buzzing after this result and it will be extremely difficult for United to stop their momentum in either game one would expect. #Football