Dundee Utd 1 Celtic 4: Nakamura terrorises the Terrors

Travel may broaden the mind but it tires the legs, and Gordon Strachan will be glad that he persuaded Japan to give Shunsuke Nakamura a week off. Instead of making a 20,000-mile round trip to Tokyo for an Asian Cup tie, Nakamura enjoyed some rest in Glasgow, and bene-fited yesterday with a hat-trick that buried Dundee United.

The success at Tannadice keeps Celtic top of the Scottish Premier League and allows them to contemplate Tuesday's Champions' League encounter with Benfica at Parkhead in an optimistic fame of mind. With Europe ahead, Strachan rested the Scotland striker Kenny Miller, but his absence was not missed as Nakamura found the net in a ruthless 14-minute spell either side of half-time.

"We were brave at 1-0 down in our passing and got the reward once the goals flew in," said Strachan. "In the second half, we were untouchable. Nakamura is a top player and he showed that with great goals, yet the first half-hour was his least productive spell since coming here."

The Terrors will feel harshly dealt with by the scoreline. In the first period, the hosts controlled the contest after Noel Hunt gave them a fifth-minute lead and Celtic were shorn of fluency. That imperfection was underlined by Artur Boruc when Hunt scored; the keeper allowed the striker's right-foot volley from Collin Samuel's knockdown to drift between his hands. United cared little as they tried to earn their first home League win since March, and if Barry Robson had converted Samuel's 18th-minute cross, the Tannadice side might have produced an upset.

However, Robson scuffed his shot from just six yards and the champions began to plot an escape. Celtic's response was gradual, with a series of attacks allowing Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Jiri Jarosik to fashion chances. However, there was little sign of genuine threat until Nakamura restored parity a minute before the interval. Gary Caldwell delivered a high free-kick into the box for Vennegoor of Hesselink to contest. The Dutchman's flick was headed on by Jarosik and Nakamura stabbed past Derek Stillie.

Hunger and movement flowed through everything that Celtic did after the break. Nakamura gave the champions the lead in the 48th minute, as Vennegoor of Hesselink headed on Lee Naylor's throw-in, Jarosik missed with an overhead attempt but Nakamura profited by rifling in a left-foot finish. Four minutes later, Vennegoor of Hesselink killed the contest. A sublime exchange between Nakamura and Shaun Maloney allowed the latter to thread a pass into Vennegoor of Hesselink's run. The Dutchman stumbled on his way into the box but still guided an angled shot past Stillie.

Nakamura sealed the rout in the 58th minute. Again Maloney was the architect with clever play before setting up Jarosik, who unselfishly fed Nakamura, and the Japanese picked out a composed, left-foot finish.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'