Treble is on, the Hatate question; 3 things we learned as Celtic beat Dundee United

By John McGinley

March 14, 2022

Celtic are through to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup after comfortably beating Dundee United 3-0 at Tannadice tonight.

The Bhoys join Hearts, Hibernian and Rangers in a blockbuster line-up that promises a thrilling end to the season.

In truth, Celtic were far from their blistering best against United but goals from Callum McGregor and Giorgos Giakoumakis were enough for the victory.

Ange Postecoglou will be delighted to make it through and we can now look ahead to Saturday’s match against Ross County with real optimism.

What did we learn from the encounter? Here are three talking points…

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The Celtic treble is on

Yes, fire up the hype engines – the treble is on. Listen, it’s fine for the manager and players to play down the prospect. In fact, it’s actively encouraged. They’ll take it one game at a time as they should.

However, when you’ve won a League Cup, you are three points clear at the top of the table and you have booked yet another date at Hampden – there is absolutely no shame in stating the obvious.

We’d be talking Celtic down if we didn’t admit the Bhoys were favourites to win the treble. We absolutely are.

There’s a long way to go, of course. Nothing is going to be given to us. But if Celtic can keep working hard, stay healthy and racking up the wins then good things are going to happen.

I’m not going to shy away from that. This is all very much in our hands.

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The Hatate question

Reo Hatate had an… interesting… night of Celtic action. I thought he started the game really well. He had the swagger we saw from him when he first arrived at the club. Quick footwork and drive had me hopeful of a strong 90 minutes from him.

Unfortunately, the first half went downhill for him. He managed to get himself a yellow card and quickly dropped out of the game as an effective force – with the ball at least.

What Hatate also brings to our team is very high energy levels and that pressing can be crucial in winning the ball back even if he’s not the one making interceptions, recoveries or tackles.

The question is what to do going forward? I thought Matt O’Riley had a good game tonight while I will always trust Tom Rogic to produce a bit of magic.

For me it’s those two who start against Ross County, or even Nir Bitton with Callum McGregor further forward. There’s a quality player in Hatate, we just need him to find his best form again.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Giorgos Giakoumakis is an effective poacher

Dundee United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist always seems to save his best performances for Celtic, so I am going to take his error that led to the second goal tonight with open arms. He made a meal of it, make no mistake.

It came just minutes after Chris Sutton tipped him for a move to the Bhoys as well. That’s how these things go sometimes.

Giorgos Giakoumakis took his goals well and that’s why he is at Celtic. He wasn’t sensational outside of the box tonight but he’s in that team to stick the ball in the back of the net and sometimes that’s good enough.

His anticipation and poaching instinct is excellent and it’s always going to produce for us even when he hasn’t provided an all-around performance. He has nine goals for the Bhoys now and will surely reach double figures – which isn’t bad for an injury hit debut campaign.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange delivers perfect response to Ben Doak question; update on Jota and Abada.