Match ends, Celtic 2, Ross County 0.
Leigh Griffiths scored his 30th goal of the season as Celtic moved three points clear at the top of the Premiership by beating Ross County.
Avenging their recent League Cup semi-final defeat, Celtic moved ahead when Griffiths volleyed home in first-half stoppage time.
Griffiths had earlier hit the post as a host of good openings were spurned.
The hosts doubled their lead when defender Dedryck Boyata stretched to head in a Stuart Armstrong cross.
Griffiths is the fastest player to score 30 goals for the club in a season since former Sweden striker Henrik Larsson.
Facing the same opponents who beat them at Hampden at the end of January, and with their title credentials under scrutiny, the win was a necessity for manager Ronny Deila and his, at times, nervy side.
Celtic failed to convert and ease the tension in the opening exchanges, with some of the loudest shouts prior to Griffiths' typically clinical strike being for over-hit passes by Stefan Johansen and Armstrong.
Johansen was useful more than he was wasteful, though. The Norwegian threaded several through-balls, but the finishing did not do them justice.
Gary Mackay-Steven watched his shot pushed round the post by Scott Fox , while Griffiths did the hard work by rounding the Ross County keeper before seeing his low effort bounce back off the near post and into his arms.
As Celtic fans cried "Challenge him", Ross County gradually tried to pile on the pressure, and Jackson Irvine presented a threat with an 18-yard shot.
But just as Deila might have been wondering how to galvanise his players at the break, the left foot of Griffiths got the Parkhead side out of a hole.
Kieran Tierney's deep cross gave Chris Robertson problems and, under pressure from Johansen, the centre-back could only head into the path of the Scotland striker to score.
Home supporters thought Celtic had sealed the win midway through the second half when Boyata outmuscled Paul Quinn to head Armstrong's deep delivery high into the net. But there was a fright to come.
Erik Sviatchenko surrendered possession all too easily at the back, which let Michael Gardyne cross and almost set up Alex Schalk a tap in were it not for a desperate Nir Bitton clearance.
Near the jittery end, Jonathan Franks also made the Celtic back-line work hard as his rising shot had to be dealt with by a diving Craig Gordon.
Now it's over to nearest challengers Aberdeen to re-apply the pressure when they meet Inverness CT on Monday.
- 28SviatchenkoBooked at 40mins
- 25JohansenSubstituted forRogicat 76'minutesBooked at 87mins
- 14S ArmstrongSubstituted forForrestat 84'minutes
- 9GriffithsSubstituted forKazim-Richardsat 79'minutes
- 2FraserSubstituted forReckordat 82'minutes
- 6RobertsonBooked at 23mins
- 43QuinnSubstituted forMurdochat 65'minutes
- 7GardyneBooked at 31mins
- 10BoyceSubstituted forSchalkat 61'minutes
- 24De Vita
- Kevin Clancy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Ross County 0.
Delay in match Erik Sviatchenko (Celtic) because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Martin Woods (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Tomas Rogic (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).
Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Colin Kazim-Richards (Celtic).
Jackson Irvine (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Michael Gardyne (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high.
Attempt saved. Jonathan Franks (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).
Alex Schalk (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Stuart Armstrong.
Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).
Ian McShane (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Ross County. Jamie Reckord replaces Marcus Fraser because of an injury.
Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).
Jonathan Franks (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.