Match ends, Celtic 4, Kilmarnock 1.
- Leigh Griffiths scores second-half hat-trick
- Kris Commons cancels out Darryl Westlake opener
- Celtic move eight points clear at top of table
Leigh Griffiths came off the bench to score a hat-trick as Celtic saw off Kilmarnock to move eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Darryl Westlake had shocked Celtic Park with his first goal for Kilmarnock, a thumping shot from outside the box that deflected past Craig Gordon.
Kris Commons soon restored parity before Griffiths headed Celtic in front.
As Kilmarnock's defence opened up, Griffiths added two more late on.
The three points provide another big step towards the league title for Ronny Deila's men, with three more wins guaranteeing the title.
It also boosts hopes of a domestic treble and, with Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle in mind, Deila made four changes.
They did not affect Celtic's fluency in the early stages with relentless pressure, but Kilmarnock goalkeeper Craig Samson was largely untroubled, a wasted John Guidetti free-kick the best the hosts could muster.
Virgil van Dijk rose unchallenged to meet a driven Commons corner in a move straight off the training ground, but Celtic's Dutch defender could not direct his header on target.
Guidetti was guilty of passing up a chance when he tried to be too fancy instead of shooting first time and James Forrest eventually curled the lay-off wide.
Celtic needed to up the pace in the second half, but it was Kilmarnock who hit them with a sucker punch.
Westlake hit a shot from outside the area that took a large deflection off a Celtic defender and looped over Gordon to give the Ayrshire men the lead.
However, Celtic were soon level. Sammy Clingan could not get the ball cleared and Adam Matthews fed Commons, who fired a left-foot shot into the top corner.
Falling behind at home had woken the hosts up and it was not long until it was 2-1.
Griffiths arrived on the scene at the half-hour mark and he made a stunning impact.
First, Commons got to the bye-line and chipped into the box for Griffiths, who had a simple header past Samson.
Then Griffiths fired a low shot that spun off the post and over the line.
Scotland goalkeeper Gordon still had work to do at then other end, pulling off a great save to deny Nathan Eccleston.
It was at the back where the visitors needed to be strong, however, as their early defensive prowess was being undone.
Griffiths completed his hat-trick after he burst in behind the defence and added a cool finish.
- 5van Dijk
- 15CommonsSubstituted forArmstrongat 81'minutes
- 25JohansenSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 82'minutes
- 49ForrestSubstituted forGriffithsat 61'minutes
- 11CairneySubstituted forEcclestonat 81'minutes
- 28MagennisSubstituted forMcKenzieat 74'minutes
- Crawford Allan
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Celtic 4, Kilmarnock 1.
Foul by Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic).
Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. John Guidetti (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mark O'Hara (Kilmarnock).
Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock).
Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Celtic).
Lee Miller (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Celtic 4, Kilmarnock 1. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Virgil van Dijk.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Craig Gordon.
Attempt saved. Nathan Eccleston (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Substitution, Celtic. Gary Mackay-Steven replaces Stefan Johansen.
Substitution, Celtic. Stuart Armstrong replaces Kris Commons.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Nathan Eccleston replaces Paul Cairney.
Goal! Celtic 3, Kilmarnock 1. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Scott Brown.
Attempt missed. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.
Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.