Dundee United’s hopes of a top six finish have all but vanished despite a 0-0 draw with Celtic.
The away side had chance after chance but never asked too many serious questions of Arabs goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, United keeping Celtic at bay.
The Tangerines looked the likelier to score in the final 30 minutes but nothing could separate the sides, Micky Mellon’s team now three points off the top six with a game to go until the split while Rangers have ended Celtic’s 10-in-a-row dream as they are crowned Scottish Premiership champions.
Siegrist’s palms might need a few days off after an onslaught of Celtic shots. There weren’t many that he had to work all that hard for but Odsonne Edouard, Callum McGregor and David Turnbull were just some of the players testing United’s stopper.
The latter did make him move quickly with a low drive in the first half, Siegrist diving low to his left late in the first half. Celtic were throwing plenty at Dundee United but Mellon’s men were holding firm.
It was a game of huge significance for both teams. John Kennedy’s side needed a win in order to stop Rangers officially ending their 10-in-a-row dreams while United needed victory in order to keep realistic top six hopes alive.
While they were doing a decent job of keeping the game at 0-0, the Tannadice side needed more in attack. A draw would be enough to give them a chance of the top six when Aberdeen come to Tayside one game before the split, but an eight-goal swing on St Mirren would be needed.
Marc McNulty looked like the potential spark and he forced Celtic keeper Scott Bain into his first, albeit an unorthodox one as he blocked the Reading loanee’s effort with his face. It was a warning for the Hoops that while the game was still at 0-0, United were capable of snatching something.
Mohamed Elyounoussi should have put Celtic ahead twice in the closing stages, first with a header and then a shot from inside the box. Leigh Griffiths had a huge chance in stoppage time but Siegrist wasn’t to be beaten as a draw was had on a day both teams couldn’t afford to drop points. Here are three things we learned.
The Dundee United goalkeeper was on his toes all afternoon. He made the most saves in one game this season but it wasn’t particularly difficult, Celtic hitting most things straight at him. But he did show his class with two or three one-handed saves at crucial times.
Mellon can’t be accused of sitting back in this outing. He started with three strikers in McNulty, Lawrence Shankland and Nicky Clark while he opted for attacking subs at 0-0 in Logan Chalmers and Louis Appere. They had to be brave but in the end it wasn’t enough
Top six ambition
It was always going to be a tough task for United to keep their top six hopes alive. A draw is enough but realistically a win was needed to have a chance of beating St Mirren to that sixth spot. Something spectacular is needed now against Aberdeen in a fortnight’s time.
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