The match had been evenly balanced until the 28th minute when United’s Robbie Neilson was sent off after barging Celt’s Georgios Samaras in the face with his elbow.
Defender Neilson had already been booked for a dirty challenge on the big Greek, but his elbow offence produced a straight red card.
After that Celtic produced a stunning second half agains the ten men of United.
Joe Ledley fired home the 53rd-minute opener, Samaras headed in the second, while Anthony Stokes fired in the third after a great Ledley pass.
Scott Brown hit home a late penalty as the Hoops rounded off what could have been a more tricky fixture.
It was good to see Paddy McCourt back in the Celtic side. He came on with around ten minutes to go – always a crowd pleaser.
Neil Lennon admitted afterwards that it had been a tough week for him after the death of his close friend Paul McBride, the Hoops lawyer.
And it was other events off the pitch was causing the usual media frenzy – Rangers and their financial woes.
Lennon revealed that he had cancelled his pre-match press conference as he accused elements of the media (and he is right in what he says) of trying to get Celtic to comment on their Ibrox rivals.
“We decided not to hold a press conference this week because of all the nonsense going on elsewhere,” Lennon said in an interview with the BBC.
“People accusing our club of trying to put people out of work at Rangers. It’s in the hands of our legal team and it’s probably best not to talk about it.
“(We want to) get our heads down and we want to talk about football. A lot of media outlets will be disappointed because we won’t be speaking to them.
“We’ll do our speaking through the club. I’m angry but I’ll deal with it in my own way.”
Meanwhile Mr McBride, 47, an acclaimed courtroom lawyer, was found dead in his hotel room in Lahore last Sunday. A post mortem found there were no suspicious circumstances. He will be laid to rest at St Conval’s in Barrhead tomorrow.
* Celtic will play either St Mirren or Hearts in the semi-final at Hampden on April 14th or 15th.
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