Inverness CT 0-2 Celtic

By Martin ConaghanBBC Scotland

Celtic progressed to the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup with a comfortable win away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

An angled strike from Georgios Samaras opened the scoring in the 33rd minute.

David Proctor brought down Gary Hooper inside the Inverness penalty area with 67 minutes played and Celtic captain Scott Brown converted from the spot.

Inverness substitute Claude Gnakpa fired in a hopeful effort in the dying minutes that drifted over the bar.

The win is Celtic's third against Inverness in the Scottish Cup, with the Highland side having won two of the previous encounters.

Interview - Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Caley boss Terry Butcher replaced goalkeeper Ryan Esson with Jonny Tuffey and brought in midfielder Graeme Shinnie for Shane Sutherland.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon made four changes with Adam Matthews, Kelvin Wilson and Samaras in - along with a rare start for Kris Commons - while Cha Du-ri and Emilio Izaguirre were dropped and James Forrest and Anthony Stokes started on the bench.

Some hearty challenges in the opening stages gave way to a half-chance for Hooper in the sixth minute when he controlled a long ball in the Inverness penalty area but couldn't find a way through towards goal under pressure.

The first real chance of the match fell to Nick Ross on the edge of the Celtic penalty area in the 24th minute when he fired low towards the bottom left, but keeper Fraser Forster was at full stretch to turn it around the post.

From the resulting corner, Wilson appeared to handle the ball during a goalmouth scramble, but referee Calum Murray waved play on.

Moments later, Commons was presented with a golden opportunity when Hooper fed through a pass inside the Inverness penalty area, but the Scotland international mis-timed his shot and stumbled over the ball.

A low shot from Hooper as the half-hour mark approached was smothered by Tuffey, before Samaras thundered an swerving drive high past the Northern Irishman to put the visitors into the lead.

Ross Tokely almost caused a second goal when he fumbled a back-pass that Hooper intercepted, but Tuffey was on-hand to clear the danger.

A poor free-kick from Greg Tansey sailed over the Celtic bar as half-time approached, then a Tokely header failed to find the target from a Jonny Hayes corner.

Interview - Inverness manager Terry Butcher

Shortly after the restart, Samaras forced a corner after a powering run down the right-hand side, but Tansey headed clear and Charlie Mulgrew's cross on the rebound was deflected wide.

Moments later, Samaras and Joe Ledley rushed for the same ball on the six-yard line and a chance to double the lead went over the Inverness crossbar.

The big Greece striker was inches shy of his second of the day as the hour-mark approached, stretching to reach a Ledley pass on the six-yard line that bobbled across the face of goal.

Andrew Shinnie tried with an effort from distance that was deflected out for a corner during a decent spell of pressure for the hosts.

In the 67th minute, Proctor brought down Hooper inside the penalty area with a clumsy challenge from behind and referee Murray immediately pointed to the spot. Brown stepped up and sent keeper Tuffey the wrong way to extend Celtic's lead.

Forster's complacency with a clearance was almost punished by Richie Foran, but the big Englishman recovered to keep his pride intact, then substitute Forrest sprinted through the Inverness defence and fired in a shot that failed to find the back of the net.

With five minutes remaining, Inverness began to to look tired as the visitors pressed for a third.

Gnakpa's long-range injury-time effort sailed wildly over the bar and Anthony Stokes made a late appearance in place of Hooper, but further firepower up front was unrequired as Celtic eased through to the last eight.

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