Dundee United – Match Report vs Celtic 22/08/2020

Celtic visited Dundee United hoping to keep their unbeaten start going. Dundee United started well pressing high up the pitch forcing Celtic into mistakes and sloppily giving the ball away. However, this energy quickly ran out and Celtic asserted their dominance on the match. Celtic lined up in a dynamic 4-2-3-1 formation with Odsonne Edourard leading the line. Both Celtic’s fullbacks were an outlet all the time and were positioned high up the pitch, causing numerous overlaps which caused Dundee United problems – especially when their wingers didn’t track back. Dundee United played in a 4-3-3 formation, resulting in their centre-midfielders and wingers working defensive overtime, as their game plan was to play on the counter however their chances were limited.

After an incredible effort from the Dundee United back four and goalkeeper to keep out Celtic for the majority of the match, their defence was breached when former West Ham striker Albian Ajeti came off the bench and scored an scrappy 83rd minute winner that was fully deserved and was Celtic’s 23rd shot in the match.


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for their level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Lewis Neilson

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Age: 17
  • Date of Birth: 15/05/2003
  • Current Club: Dundee United
  • Career: Dundee United
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Lewis Neilson made just his second premiership start against Celtic after turning 17 just a couple of months ago. He first caught my eye in the opening minutes when he headed over from a corner that he should have done better with, despite him being relatively small in height for a defender. The most impressive aspect of Neilson’s game was his calmness and composure on the ball; he was comfortable passing and receiving the ball and when there was space in front of him he wasn’t afraid to dribble into it and then pick a pass. He also made an impressive 30 yard dribble including a nice one-two before being dispossessed which shows his confidence in his ability.

Defensively, the 17 year old’s 1v1 defending was really impressive – similar to Tariq Lamptey of Brighton. Neilson jockeyed very well with a low centre of gravity when approaching a 1v1 and he never dived in; this enabled him to react quickly to whatever the opposition attacker did. Celtic’s attackers tried on multiple occasions to go round the outside but Neilson equalled their pace and often won the duel due to his physicality or blocked the cross. When the opposition player went on the inside of Neilson, he remained close to his man blocking off a potential shot and the Celtic player often ended up playing a harmless pass sideways. Neilson didn’t have a problem sliding in when necessary as he completed a well-timed slide tackle in the box when the Celtic attacker took too big of a touch round the outside of Neilson. Furthermore, Neilson showed great reading of the play – he was always on his toes and he intercepted a ball that was heading into the strikers feet by reacting quickest. He also picked up a few loose balls and shielded the ball well using good upper body strength before playing the ball out nicely. The only criticism of Neilson’s game was his match fitness, he was looking tired towards the end of the first half and this continued into the second half where he wasn’t getting to the ball as quickly as before which led to the Celtic players having more time on the ball to pick out a cross or shot. Neilson put in a mammoth defensive shift but he should have been able to last longer; he also got caught out when pressing high up the pitch to which Celtic exploited the space left by him. The young left back was withdrawn around the hour mark as he was extremely fatigued and if he stayed on for much longer Celtic would have scored more than the one goal.

Overall, Neilson stood out as the best player on the pitch, his on the ball skills and defensive abilities were excellent and I couldn’t believe he’s just 17 as he played like an experienced professional. It doesn’t come as a surprise that there are premier league scouts keeping tabs on him as he is one to watch for the future if he continues these types of performances.

Rating – A1

Jamie Robson

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 19/12/1997
  • Current Club: Dundee United
  • Career: Dundee United, Brechin City (L), Dundee United
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

The left back had a mixed game against Celtic but considering the amount of defending he had to do during the match he was always going to make some small errors. His positioning was very good throughout the match, he was the correct distance away from the Dundee United left centre back so that there was no through balls played on his inside and he was always able to get out to the Celtic right winger quickly to shut off his options and block the cross, he did well to header away a cross at the back post where a Celtic player was lurking. Robson also defended a 2 v 1 well as he jockeyed the attacker and forced him to make the pass to which Robson then reached and made a well-timed slide tackle. His defensive approach was physical as he liked to get tight to his man when possible however this did result in a couple of free kicks being conceded when he got too tight and bundled into a Celtic player.

Robson had little to do attacking wise however he wasn’t afraid to get forward and showed good pace on an overlapping run; he was confident in passing the ball first time and wasn’t afraid tp get forward. He also joined a counter attack late on and hit a very nicely stricken shot. On the whole, Robson was great in defence and looked good when in possession of the ball apart from mis controlling a switch of play and misjudging a long bouncing ball over the top of the defence. Nonetheless he is a sound technical player that knows what he’s doing who I expect to move on soon depending on Dundee United’s league position.

Rating – A2

Luke Bolton

Player Profile

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 07/10/1999
  • Current Club: Dundee United
  • Career: Machester City (Y), Wycombe (L), Luton (L), Dundee United
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Bolton showed his pace and attacking intent from the first minute when he made several runs in behind the Celtic defence. Bolton’s first thought is always to get his head down and dribble forwards, this has its benefits when there was lots of space to run into but he became a frustrating player to watch as he failed to lift his head up when dribbling, so he was unaware of where his teammates were which resulted in not passing to teammates and inaccurate crosses. His dribbling skills were also poor, he lost the ball on multiple occasions by taking too big of a touch and having poor close control. One positive of Bolton’s play was his passing, he played a lovely through ball on the bounce and played a nice one touch ball around the corner. Moreover, Bolton was enthusiastic about getting involved, and when the ball was on the other wing he tended to play as a striker by making runs over the top – this was a great option although it did reduce the width of Dundee United’s attack. The best chance of the game for Dundee United fell to Luke Bolton who found himself in acres of space in the box however he blazed it over the bar, showing a lack of composure.

The former Man City youngster is small in height however has a stocky build like Xherdan Shaqiri, he challenged for several aerial duels showing his physicality and willingness to get involved. Defensively, Bolton was incredibly frustrating to watch. He failed to work back and track the Celtic fullbacks which resulted in Celtic having 2 v 1 overlaps throughout the whole game on Bolton’s right hand side, making a Celtic goal inevitable. In the second half, he increased his defensive presence and he was actually very good at using his physicality and pace to win the ball back which makes it even stranger as to why he wasn’t doing this in the first half.

Overall, Bolton looked like a player who could be a great option for a team playing counter – attacking football or a player to bring on in an open game. However, his basic skills like his dribbling and close control were too inconsistent and his defensive liability is a worry. B2 seems harsh and I was considering A2 but on this performance only he doesn’t warrant it.

Rating – B2

Logan Chalmers

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 24/03/2000
  • Current Club: Dundee United
  • Career: Dundee United, Arbroath (L), Dundee United
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Chalmers was positioned on the left wing in this game however he often found himself drifting central and making central forward runs where his more natural position is, and he looked more dangerous playing centrally. Chalmers and Dundee United both started brightly with high energy presses where Chalmers himself forced two mistakes from the Celtic defenders due to his high press. However, this energy soon ran out and it was clear to see that Chalmers’ role for the day was more on the defensive side to stop Frimpong on the overlap which he nullified well. On the ball, Chalmers looked comfortable and he linked up with the Dundee United left back nicely showcasing a couple of nice touches and control in a tight area, he also dribbled well in the central channel of the pitch on the only occasion he got the ball, drawing a foul. Apart from this, Chalmers was ineffective going forward and never looked like creating any chances however this was affected due to his defensive responsibilities. He was withdrawn on the hour mark after having no impact on the game in the second half.

Rating – C

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