The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Three matches into the 2011/12 SPL season and United already had five points on the board: a decent start but up next was a daunting visit to Parkhead. Peter Houston made only one change to his United line-up from the previous week’s 1-1 draw at home to St Mirren: Scott Severin who had suffered a horrific triple-leg break during that game dropped out of the side with Scott Robertson taking his place in the starting 11. Republic of Ireland Under-21 international defender, Gavin Gunning - who had signed for United during the week from Blackburn Rovers – was given a place on the bench. United started promisingly but were pegged back after only four minutes when Anthony Stokes capitalised on sloppy defending to prod Celtic into the lead. Both sides were managing to create half chances without really threatening the opposition goal but United did eventually find a leveller just after the half hour mark: a cross-cum-shot from Gary Kenneth flashed across the face of goal and Johnny Russell was on hand to bury the ball in the back of the net, 1-1. Peter Houston’s side weren't level for long though, a header from a Celtic player hit the crossbar and Gary Hooper rose above the United defenders to nod home the rebound from only a yard out. After the interval Celtic went very close to extending their lead when a shot across goal from Kris Commons hit the inside of Perniš’ left-hand post and rebounded out for the United defence to clear. United continued to pose a threat to the home defence and went close in the 56th minute when a long-range free-kick from John Rankin curved just past the post. However the away side’s desire to push forward was punished when United lost possession high up the field and Celtic broke away at pace, Scott Brown feeding Kris Commons wide on the left who ran at the United defence before playing a perfect through ball into the path of Ki Sung-Yeung who lashed the ball past a helpless Dušan Perniš. Despite being 3-1 down the Terrors continued to try and attack the Celtic goal and Gary Kenneth went within inches of pulling a goal back: heading a Willo Flood corner across the face of goal but the ball looped just wide of Załuska’s back post. Johnny Russell was next to go close with a downward header from a high lofted Keith Watson ball but Załuska was on hand to tip the ball around the post. Celtic went close to a fourth when the ever-dangerous Gary Hooper raced through on goal but under pressure from Paul Dixon the Englishman fired his low shot just wide of the post and injured himself in the process. A fourth goal did eventually arrive for Celtic: Shaun Maloney playing the ball low across the face of the United goal and Joe Ledley managed to get in front of Keith Watson at the front post to bundle the ball into the back of the net. Maloney could have made it five in the final 10 minutes of the match following some clever footwork in the box but his low powerful shot across goal went just wide. Celtic did manage to hit the net again in stoppage time: a brilliant team goal finished off by James Forrest to complete a miserable afternoon for United.