Dundee v Celtic preview: Brendan Rodgers' side look to stretch lead
Last Updated: 24/12/17 12:40pm
Celtic will be looking to warm up for the Old Firm clash with Rangers with a win when they travel to Dundee on Boxing Day.
Brendan Rodgers' side, who host Rangers live on Sky Sports on Saturday, extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to eight points on Saturday as they won 3-0 against nearest challengers Aberdeen.
It was Celtic's second win in six days following their 2-0 win over Partick in midweek as they bounced back impressively from their 4-0 hammering by Hearts last Sunday which ended their 69-match unbeaten run.
"Collectively as a team, we weren't at our level against Hearts," said Rodgers. "But, most importantly, after disappointment, you can learn and we've now come into the next two games and scored five goals while keeping clean sheets."
Dundee went down to a 1-0 defeat at Celtic Park in October following Olivier Ntcham's long-range strike but home goalkeeper Dorus de Vries pulled off several good saves in the closing stages.
And manager Neil McCann is excited at the prospect of facing the champions at Dens Park with the improvement his players have made since.
He added: "I think we played really well there, I think we were really brave, we went toe to toe with them at Celtic Park.
"We asked them a lot of questions and I think we should have taken something from the game. We will look to take something from this game as well but hopefully, it's three points."
Dundee will again be without Roarie Deacon. The winger has missed two matches after suffering a thigh injury against Hearts.
Long-term absentees James McPake and Craig Wighton (both knee) remain out, while Scott Bain is still absent amid a disciplinary stand-off.
Rodgers will assess his squad after Saturday's win over Aberdeen. Midfielder Tom Rogic is out until the new year with a knee problem and loan winger Patrick Roberts has returned to Manchester City for treatment on a hamstring injury.
Defender Anthony Ralston remains out as he recovers from a knee problem.
- Dundee have gone 27 matches without a victory against Celtic in the Scottish Premiership (D5 L22).
- In fact, they have won just one of their 39 league matches against Celtic.
- Celtic are unbeaten in their 18 trips to Dens Park in the Scottish Premiership (W13 D5).
- This will be the second Scottish Premiership meeting between these sides on Boxing Day, with the only previous occasion coming in 2012, a 2-0 Celtic victory at Dens Park.
- Dundee haven't won on Boxing Day in the Scottish Premiership since 2000, a 3-0 win away at Motherwell; they have lost all three such matches since then.