Scottish Premiership
Ross County0Celtic1

Ross County 0-1 Celtic

  • Premiership leaders Celtic move three points clear
  • Deflected Kris Commons strike settles the match
  • Ross County without a win in nine league games

Celtic opened up a three-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a narrow win against bottom side Ross County.

Kris Commons tested County goalkeeper Antonio Reguero with a well-struck free-kick late in the first half.

But Commons did beat the Spaniard early in the second period with the aid of a huge deflection off Paul Quinn.

Liam Boyce came close to equalising for the Staggies, his shot flashing wide of the right-hand post.

Ronny Deila's side, who have now won all four of their competitive fixtures in 2015, extend their run of clean sheets to five going in to next Sunday's Scottish League Cup semi-final against Rangers.

Celtic also have a game in hand over nearest challengers Aberdeen. County ended the day still four points behind St Mirren, who lost to Dundee.

The Highlanders were badly exposed in their first encounter with Deila's men this season - a 5-0 defeat - but appeared to have heeded that lesson with a scoreless draw at Celtic Park before the turn of the year.

John Guidetti and Graham Carey
Celtic got the better of a closely fought contest in the Highlands

County boss Jim McIntyre had emphasised the need to show the same discipline demonstrated in their Glasgow performance but also wanted his side to offer a goal threat.

Craig Curran tried to see to the latter, his ambitious long-range drive drifting narrowly wide of Craig Gordon's goal in the opening minutes.

Commons headed over a fast-moving Emilio Izaguirre cross from almost underneath the crossbar and John Guidetti - back in the Celtic starting line-up - curved a free-kick narrowly wide.

An awkward shot by Graham Carey bounced up off the chest of Gordon and a shot of similar strength by Commons was blocked by Scott Boyd moments later.

Commons assumed free-kick duties after being fouled by Filip Kiss, which resulted in a booking for the County midfielder, and Reguero did well to palm the curling strike to safety.

A quick counter attack at the beginning of the second half almost gave Celtic the lead as Izaguirre, Commons and Guidetti combined to put Leigh Griffiths through and, after Reguero blocked well, Guidetti's attempt to convert the rebound was diverted wide by Jamie Reckord.

County may have escaped on that occasion but fortune did not smile on the hosts moments later when Commons let fly from distance.

The shot caught Quinn's calf and the change in trajectory completely outfoxed the helpless Reguero, who could only watch as the ball looped into the net.

Celtic players Kris Commons and Liam Henderson celebrate
Commons' goal was his first in the Premiership since September

Celtic held their lead with a degree of comfort but were eager for a second. Guidetti flicked a shot over before being denied by an unorthodox and risky foot-led tackle by keeper Reguero following Griffiths' teasing centre.

Commons, who was soon replaced by Stefan Scepovic, was foiled by a melee of County defenders after rounding Reguero.

County sensed the opportunity to level in the final 15 minutes and Boyce's effort from the left had Gordon sprawling as it missed the far post.

Boyd drew a save from Gordon with a volley from the edge of the box and, in the final minute of regulation time, the keeper ensured a Celtic win by saving Quinn's header.

Line-ups

Ross County

  • 1Reguero
  • 44Fraser
  • 43Quinn
  • 5Boyd
  • 12Reckord
  • 10KissBooked at 42mins
  • 26WoodsSubstituted forJervisat 80'minutes
  • 30DingwallSubstituted forBoyceat 45'minutes
  • 23CareySubstituted forMaatsenat 78'minutes
  • 17Ross
  • 11Curran

Substitutes

  • 6Saunders
  • 7Cardle
  • 9Jervis
  • 14Maatsen
  • 16Boyce
  • 21Brown
  • 25Toshney

Celtic

  • 26Gordon
  • 2Matthews
  • 5van DijkBooked at 49mins
  • 22Denayer
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 8Brown
  • 6Bitton
  • 15CommonsBooked at 62minsSubstituted forScepovicat 75'minutes
  • 53Henderson
  • 28GriffithsSubstituted forMcGregorat 76'minutes
  • 9GuidettiBooked at 70minsSubstituted forAmbroseat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Ambrose
  • 12Scepovic
  • 23Lustig
  • 24Zaluska
  • 42McGregor
  • 52Thomson
  • 54Lindsay
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
5,289

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home37%
Away63%
Shots
Home11
Away15
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home5
Away23

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Ross County 0, Celtic 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Ross County 0, Celtic 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Darren Maatsen (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is too high.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Scott Boyd (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  6. Post update

    Darren Maatsen (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).

  8. Post update

    Foul by Jamie Reckord (Ross County).

  9. Post update

    Adam Matthews (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Efe Ambrose replaces John Guidetti.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Scott Boyd (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

  12. Post update

    Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

  14. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  16. Post update

    Paul Quinn (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Stefan Scepovic (Celtic).

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Jake Jervis replaces Martin Woods.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stefan Scepovic (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Darren Maatsen replaces Graham Carey.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic22163343123151
2Aberdeen23153537211648
3Inverness CT23152634211347
4Dundee Utd23143646301645
5Hamilton2412393831739
6St Johnstone23103102024-433
7Dundee248883637-132
8Kilmarnock2384112330-728
9Partick Thistle226793227525
10Motherwell2352161545-3017
11St Mirren2443171941-2215
12Ross County2225152044-2411
View full Scottish Premiership table

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