Sunday 17 December 2017

Deila frustrated as celts held up in Cup

Dundee United's Nadir Ciftci scores their first goal with a penalty past Celtic's Craig Gordon
Dundee United's Nadir Ciftci scores their first goal with a penalty past Celtic's Craig Gordon

Celtic and Dundee United will have to play for a fourth time within a fortnight to decide who will play Inverness Caley Thistle or Raith Rovers in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup.

An incident packed quarter-final clash at Tannadice yesterday saw three red cards and two penalties split between the teams with a 71st minute header from Leigh Griffiths cancelling out a first half penalty from Dundee United striker Nadir Ciftci.

This Sunday the two teams meet at Hampden in the final of the League Cup, four days later they will replay their Scottish Cup tie before meeting again at Parkhead in the SPFL on Saturday March 21.

“We created four or five big chances in the second half and should have won the game,” Ronny Deila said. “We got a penalty and their player sent off, we should have won the game but this is a tough arena and we are happy that we are still in the competition.

“In the second half we had a lot of chances and should have killed the game, it was a tough match but we are still in it and play them at home which is the positive thing.”

The match got off to an explosive start when Virgil van Dijk and Paul Paton were sent off on the say so of assistant referee Graham Chambers.

Van Dijk got involved with Calum Butcher after Ciftci man had clashed with Scott Brown midway inside the Arabs’ half. Assistant Chambers brought the game to a halt then amazed both sides by sending off the largely innocent van Dijk and Paton in what was clearly a case of mistaken identity.

After the incident the first half descended into a bad tempered scrap with both team’s nursing grievances over the sending off’s.

Celtic forced a series of corners towards the end of the first half before Ryan Dow, for the homeside, then Anthony Stokes, hit the woodwork within a minute of each other.

There was further drama to come in stoppage time as Aidan Connolly tumbled in the penalty box with Ciftci tucking the ball home from 12 yards out.

The second half was played out almost exclusively in the United half but it took Celtic till the 71st minute to equalise when Griffiths guided a header across Cierzniak from Stefan Johansen’s cross.

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