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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas