Celtic returned to domestic action in style, comfortably defeating Dundee 3-0 in their first game following the international break.

With many still on a high after the team’s win at Ibrox, it was up to Brendan Rodgers and his squad to consolidate that win just under two weeks ago with another victory. Celtic were dominant but could not find a breakthrough in the first half, with both teams level going in at the break. The home side upped their game in the second half, though, and scored three goals in 16 minutes to put the game out of sight of Tony Docherty’s newly promoted Dundee.

Indeed, the treble of conversions from David Turnbull, Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley in that period was enough to secure the three points, with Celtic’s unbeaten record in the Premiership very much still intact.On-loan defender Nat Phillips was given his first start since his arrival from Liverpool, situated alongside Liam Scales, whilst Yang Hyun-jun took the place of the injured Liel Abada on the right wing. Fellow new signings Luis Palma and Paulo Bernardo were quoted in the squad, but had to make do with bench spots, whilst it was a return to proceedings for Reo Hatate, his first involvement since picking up an injury against Aberdeen at Pittodrie. The Japan international – like Palma and Bernardo – was situated on the bench, with Turnbull preferred for this one.

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Here, The Celtic Way rounds up the best StatsBomb data from the game to give you a match report like no other…

xG trendline

Despite Celtic’s dominance in the first half, a lot of the team’s chances in the opening 45 minutes were low-scoring xG accumulated shots. The first one came in the 12th minute through Maeda, who had his shot saved by Trevor Carson in the Dundee goal. Scoring just 0.11 this was actually Celtic’s highest score for xG in the first half, with the same player scoring an offside goal later on in the half (these chances do not contribute to the overall metric accumulation).

Celtic had some half-chances from players such as O’Riley, Yang, Phillips and Maeda again, but the total for these four chances only amounted to 0.08 xG, which highlights the struggles Celtic were having at breaking the deadlock.

Alas, it was to be the away side who had the best onside opportunities of the half, as Luke McCowan and Zach Robinson came closest for the visitors. McCowan’s left foot shot was saved by Joe Hart in the Celtic goals (0.16 xG), whilst Robinson’s chance – statistically the best of the half – went wide (0.38 xG). Kyogo had the last chance of the half, but his shot was blocked by Ricki Lamie. 0-0 at the break, with the home side with some work to do to avoid another disappointment at Celtic Park like St Johnstone three weeks prior.

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Five minutes before the deadlock was broken, Kyogo had another chance – this time from a cross – but his effort missed the target again (0.12 xG). Thankfully, this was to be the last opportunity before the deadlock was broken in Celtic’s favour. Turnbull – who was having another quiet game – received the ball from a pass but was clipped by Dundee midfielder Ryan Howley in the box. The referee originally gave it as a foul outside of the area, but VAR reversed this decision, and the penalty was given. Turnbull stepped up and cooly converted the spot-kick, notching a score 0f 0.78 xG – the highest of the match – which rose to 0.88 in PSxG, which demonstrates the accuracy of the shot by the midfielder.

The away side rallied, though, with both Cammy Kerr and McCowan having fairly low-scoring opportunities (0.11 combined xG). Kyogo was next to register two shots, with his first being a direct free kick, which was blocked by Malachi Boateng in the Dundee wall. He would fare much better with his second opportunity, though…After some nice passing by O’Riley and substitute Hatate, the ball was given to the captain Callum McGregor. He lofted the ball into the area and found Kyogo, who looped his header beyond the reach of the Dundee goalkeeper Carson. A breathtakingly accurate header from Celtic’s main attacking threat, with the striker scoring his fourth goal of the season in just five games. The difficulty of the attempt is highlighted in the xG, as the original header scored just 0.29. This total would skyrocket up to 0.72 in PSxG, with the accuracy and placement of the shot considered. A stunning goal from a player at the very top of his game.

Just three minutes later, the scoreline really should have been extended through Alistair Johnston, who had his shot saved onto the post by the impressive Carson, who admittedly kept the score down on the day for Dundee. Unfortunately for him, he could do nothing about what happened a minute later…Following a pass drilled in with pace from Johnston to Kyogo, the striker became the provider in this instance. He runs onto the pass before delivering a cut-back pass to O’Riley, who was making what is now a trademark late run into the box. The pick-out was accurate, with the Dane able to side-foot the ball into the back of the net. Like the second goal, the attacker makes a difficult chance look straightforward, with O’Riley’s original effort only scoring 0.15, although his PSxG again rose to a high 0.76 following the shot leaving his left boot. A well-deserved third for Celtic, who had certainly upped it following the restart of proceedings.

Following this, you would have expected the floodgates to open and Celtic to score more goals against a defeated opponent, but the scoring stopped with O’Riley. This was not through a lack of trying, however, as both sides had good chances. Dundee had a great opportunity through Amadou Bakayoko, but his shot went just over the bar (0.32 xG). Johnston would come closest for Celtic, with the defender this time hitting the post once again, on a day where the right-back should have scored at least once. (0.20 xG). This was to be the last chance of real note in the game, though Hyeon-Gyu Oh, Hatate and Bernardo all had minor opportunities to add to the scoresheet.Celtic had a total of 20 shots in this match - with eight of them on target – resulting in three goals. There was a mixture of shots both inside and out of the box, though any chances of note or importance all came inside the 18-yard area.

Celtic take on average around 15.60 shots per game so far this season, so this was a fruitful day in terms of chances for Rodgers’ team. It is good to see that Celtic are taking more chances and putting them away, as they were struggling with this before the international break. Hopefully a sign of things to come.Dundee on the other hand only had five shots on goal, with only one of them on target, coming from McCowan in the first half.

Tony Docherty’s side take 10.60 shots per game - though this drop is to be expected – as essentially all teams will have fewer chances when playing against the likes of Celtic away from home.Kyogo was Celtic’s busiest attacker on the day, taking four shots and scoring once with an xG accumulation of 0.52. Despite coming on as a substitute, Hatate managed three shots, whilst Maeda, O’Riley and Johnston all managed two in the process, with O’Riley successfully converting one of his.McCowan had two shots for the visitors, though his xG was only 0.21. Bakayoko, Kerr and Robinson provided the rest of the chances, with the former scoring the highest xG for Dundee off of his one opportunity at 0.32 xG.

Possession, passing and positions

In what was a dominant game for Celtic, the home side had 72 per cent of the ball, completing 656 of their 766 passes at a completion rate of 86 per cent. For Dundee, they only had 28 per cent of the ball and a 63 per cent pass success rate, making 188 of their 298 total passes.The passing network gives a rough idea of where the majority of the game was played and who was the most involved. Remember that the warmer the colour, the more influential the player was in the game, and the thicker the passing lines, the more passes between the players.

StatsBomb measures pass contributions in on-ball value (often referred to as OBV, a term breakdown of which can be read here).

The passing networks in this game indicate where Celtic and Dundee were getting joy in terms of their sharing of the ball. In the first half for Celtic, the map shows that OBV values were at their highest on the left-hand side, where Scales and McGregor were deployed. For Dundee, Owen Beck, Joe Shaughnessy and goalkeeper Carson were the top contributors for OBV, as their colour shading is warmer when compared to the rest of the visitors’ values collectively.

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From the second-half maps, you can see the improvement of Celtic’s passing game, as Scales and McGregor have both earned an even warmer shade of OBV values, as well as the emergence of O’Riley, Kyogo, Gustaf Lagerbielke and Johnston. McCowan was the only player for Dundee following the restart to post a decent OBV accumulation.

In terms of OBV statistics for individual players, Celtic’s top contributor was Scales, with his 110 passes achieving an OBV score of 0.43. McGregor was next with 0.32 off of 64 passes. It was a poor day for Yang, Maeda, Turnbull and Greg Taylor, who all posted negative scores for OBV. Yang was the worst, with his 15 passes scoring him -0.15 OBV.

For Dundee, Carson scored 0.24 from 12 passes, whilst McCowan had 0.14 OBV from 18 of his. Boateng and Finlay Robertson were the away side’s worst offenders, both scoring -0.08 OBV off of 21 and 11 passes respectively.

McGregor topped the charts for Celtic in key passing with three, scoring an xG total of 0.29 with one assist. O’Riley had two key passes – one assist – with 0.15 in total for xG off of them. Palma, Kyogo and Yang all had one each.Dundee only had four key passes in total, with half of them coming through Beck, scoring 0.21 xG. McCowan and Robertson had the other ones, with the former scoring a massive 0.32 off of his key pass.

Pressing and defending

Celtic initialised 126 pressures to Dundee’s 169, though the home side successfully regained the ball 17 times because of these movements to Dundee’s 13.

As is often the case, Maeda led Celtic for pressures with 17, though Johnston was not far behind him with 14. O’Riley – always near the top in this metric – had 11, though it was Beck and Robertson of Dundee who led the way with 22 and 21 pressures respectively. Bakayoko had 19, whilst Howley and Kerr had 16.

For counterpressures, it was a tie between Johnston and Maeda with six, whilst O’Riley had five. Kerr had three in this category, whilst Beck and Bakayoko had two.

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Lagerbielke – despite only playing 45 minutes – had six total tackles and interceptions, in what was an impressive defensive display from the summer signing. His partner Scales was similarly impressive, completing seven clearances and winning eight aerial duels in total.

For Dundee, Beck had an incredible statline, completing 13 tackles and interceptions, along with three clearances. Lamie and Kerr both had eight clearances, the highest for the away side, whilst Bakayoko won six aerial duels for his team.