Dundee U 0 – 9 Celtic
Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada each scored a hat-trick as Celtic inflicted a demoralising 9-0 defeat on Dundee United at Tannadice.
The Bhoys last won by a nine-goal margin against Aberdeen in the 2010/11 campaign, with the crushing victory just two shy of the club-record 11-0 win, which was set all the way back in 1985.
Japan international Furuhashi got the ball rolling after 15 minutes and added two more – including a 20-yard beauty – before the break, by which point Ange Postecoglou’s men were 4-0 up as Jota also got in on the act.
The lively Abada scored a treble of his own in just 27 second-half minutes, with one from defender Josip Juranovic sandwiched in between, before Carl Starfelt added the gloss to an exceptional attacking performance when he headed in a corner from David Turnbull.
Jack Ross’ Dundee United – who lost 7-0 to AZ Alkmaar in Europa Conference League qualifying earlier this month – remain rock bottom of the Scottish Premiership with just a point to their name, having conceded 18 in just five league games.
Celtic, meanwhile, leapfrog Rangers back into top spot ahead of next week’s Old Firm showdown.
How ruthless Celtic stormed to victory
Adrift at the bottom of the table with one point from four games, and unaware of what was about to come, Dundee United made a strong start at Tannadice – where Celtic secured a 10th title in 11 seasons after a 1-1 draw in May – with Joe Hart forced into a brilliant save inside two minutes.
The former England goalkeeper denied Glenn Middleton, but was caught in the head by Steven Fletcher’s boot as the striker attempted to seize upon the loose ball, which drew blood and prompted a six-and-a-half-minute delay.
Celtic soon got into their stride, though, and took the lead at the end of a slick move. Abada hit a raking pass forward to Jota, and his square ball from the left was expertly controlled and finished by Kyogo – who became the first player since Odsonne Edouard in January and February 2021 to score in four games in succession.
Reo Hatate then had two shots blocked and one saved in a matter of seconds, before Carljohan Eriksson batted away Abada’s shot as Celtic charged forward, looking to expose their hosts on the counter.
Though it was largely one-way traffic, there was no lack of effort from United and they were almost gifted a way back into the game when Scott McMann’s pressing forced Starfelt to cheaply cede possession, with Middleton’s shot whistling inches past the right-hand post.
But Celtic were in a familiarly ruthless mood. Kyogo doubled his tally with a beautiful, unstoppable strike from 20 yards and completed his hat-trick by pouncing on Abada’s pass after a gorgeous ball over the top from Matt O’Riley. There was even time for Jota to get in on the act deep into first-half stoppage time, too.
There was to be no let up from the reigning champions. Five minutes after the restart, Abada fired in from close range after scintillating build-up and five minutes later, Josip Juranovic pounced for a sixth after Matt O’Riley’s free-kick was blocked.
By this point, the hosts were clearly demoralised. They shipped a seventh when the unmarked Abada converted Hatate’s cross, before the 20-year-old Israeli international expertly dinked the ball over Eriksson to complete his hat-trick and add the gloss for Celtic.
Starfelt headed in a ninth, quickly prompting calls for a 10th for the first time in well over 100 years from the travelling support, but with just one minute of injury time added, there was to be no further misery for the undoubtedly shell-shocked Tangerines.
The attention now turns to the League Cup for both.
Celtic begin their defence away to Ross County on Wednesday night, with United facing Livingston.
It is the first Old Firm clash of the season on September 3 as Postecoglou’s side take on Rangers at Celtic Park, live on Sky Sports, kick-off 12:30pm.
Dundee United are away to Motherwell the same day.