Mind the gapRoss County were sitting 8th in the league, with two wins to their name before the match tonight. Having only scored 4 goals at home this season, picking up a result against high flying Celtic was always going to be a big ask. In the end, the task proved too difficult for Ross County as the Hoops won by a comfortable 4 goals.
Late flurry of goals give Celtic a comfortable win in the Highlands, as the champions move 7 points clear at the top of the league
Brendan Rodgers made eight changes to the team that faced The Rangers on Sunday, in the league cup semi final. It was a first league start of the season for long serving Emilio Izaguirre. Leigh Griffiths, Cristian Gamboa, Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor, Patrick Roberts, Ryan Christie and Liam Henderson were the other seven changes to the line up.
It only took 3 minutes for Celtic to break the deadlock. A forward ball from Armstrong to Roberts, saw the young Englishman dribble through the County defence, before curling the ball into the corner of the net.
County attempted to push on and grab an equaliser, but were unable to get past Craig Gordon.
Leigh Griffiths, having lost his starting place due to injury, was buzzing around the pitch, clearly desperate to grab a goal in his first start for several weeks.
His first opportunity on goal came in the 19th minute, where he hit a shot only to see it deflected wide by Quinn.
The Hoops were dominating the match, but the Staggies posed a thread on the counter. Michael Gardyne found himself on the edge of the Celtic box and sent a shot narrowly wide. Buoyed by Celtic's failure to extend their lead, the Highland side ended the first half strongly.
When the teams came out for the second half, Celtic attempted to up the tempo and had another chance on goal via Liam Henderson. Shortly after this, a magnificent save from Craig Gordon, after a shot from close range, kept Celtic in the lead as once again the Staggies tried to equalise.
Celtic continued to probe and their quality shone through in the final ten minutes of the match. Roberts played the ball to Armstrong, who took the ball on to his right foot, before placing a beautifully accurate shot into the left inside netting for Celtic's second of the night.
Sinclair, who had missed a great chance minutes earlier, then latched onto a deflected Roberts shot, and smashed in into the roof of the net.
The last action before the final whistle saw Roberts dribble into the box, playing the ball to Dembele who continued his scoring form by passing the ball into the back of the net. Four goals masked what was really a challenging game for the champions, with Brendan Rodgers commenting in his post match interview that Ross County were one of the better teams they had played.
Celtic extent their lead to 7 points ahead of Aberdeen and St.Johnstone, while Ross County drop to 10th.
CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Gamboa, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Izaguirre; Armstrong, McGregor; Roberts, Christie (Dembele 58), Henderson (Sinclair 63); Griffiths (Bitton 89)
Not Used: De Vries, Rogic, O’Connell, Forrest
ROSS COUNTY (4-4-1-1) Fox; Fraser, Quinn (McEveley 60), Davies, Van Der Weg; Burke (Dingwall 70), McShane, Woods, Gardyne; Dow; Boyce
Not Used: McCarey, Morrison, Routis, Cikos