Scottish Premiership
Celtic2Ross County0

Celtic 2-0 Ross County

Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko celebrates
Erik Sviatchenko scored his first goal of the season

It was business as usual as Celtic secured a 14th consecutive Scottish Premiership win by subduing a hardworking Ross County in Glasgow.

County had given as good as they got before Erik Sviatchenko caught out goalkeeper Scott Fox with a 35-yard drive seven minutes before the break.

Stuart Armstrong drilled his second goal in two games in first-half stoppage time.

And Celtic convincingly extended their lead over Rangers to 16 points.

Brendan Rodgers' side have now gone 23 domestic games unbeaten ahead of their visit to the home of their city rivals on Hogmanay.

County, who slip down to eighth, could feel hard done-by to find themselves two behind by half time, but the goals took the wind our their sails after a promising start.

Christie catches the eye

Any suggestions that Rodgers might want to wrap his key players in cotton wool ahead of the Old Firm game were quickly dispelled, with Ryan Christie the only unfamiliar starter.

In saying that, the midfielder's performance may have given his manager food for thought. He was outstanding before being replaced after an hour by Liam Henderson.

It took Celtic a while to unlock a well-organised County defence.

The first clue that they might do so was when James Forrest went on a lengthy run across the park, evading tackle after tackle, before eventually poking the ball to Emilio Izaguirre, who whipped in a cross for Scott Sinclair to meet with a flashing header just past a post.

Armstrong gem

In fact, it took the champions 38 minutes to take the lead and the goal came from an unlikely source - and an unlikely method.

When Sviatchenko does score, it is usually a header from a set-piece, but this time he gathered the ball in the centre circle and advanced before releasing a shot that hardly left the surface as it beat goalkeeper Fox at his right-hand post.

Celtic are 12 points better off than they were at the halfway stage last season
Celtic are 12 points better off than they were at the halfway stage last season

One minute into time added on in the first half, it was 2-0.

Armstrong scored his eighth of the season and again it was a gem. The midfielder threatened to shoot with his left foot, checked on to his right and then back to his left again before rifling a low shot beyond Fox.

Penalty claim

Celtic had chances to increase their lead, notably when a floated diagonal ball from Scott Brown was placed perfectly on the head of Leigh Griffiths, but the unchallenged striker put the ball over the bar.

The second half was a bit of an anti-climax, although the Parkhead faithful were screaming for a penalty when substitute Patrick Roberts was brought down by Marcus Fraser.

County were organised and pressed in high areas, trying to stop Celtic building from the back.

However, the champions had too much in reserve and go into the Glasgow derby in fine fettle and with a handsome lead over a Rangers side who dropped further behind after draw away to St Johnstone.

What the managers said

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: "We had to patient. We've seen that in recent games here when teams defend in a low block.

"The pitch is quite bobbly and it means the flow of the game is sometimes interrupted. But I think the players deal with that, technically, very well.

"Once we get the goal, then, of course, the opponent has to come out a bit more. Second half, we killed the momentum of Ross County and really controlled the opening 25 minutes and created more chances. Last 10 minutes, I thought we could have managed the game better. We gave away too many corners and got a little bit excited."

Ross County boss Jim McIntyre: "We had a game plan to be hard to break down and still offer ourselves on the counter-attack. We certainly created two really good opportunities, with Liam Boyce and Alex Schalk. You need to take one of those chances when you come here.

"The first goal is really disappointing. Scott Fox knows he should be saving that. He's been brilliant for us, so I can't be too critical.

"It's a shift for the players with Celtic's movement and I thought they stuck to their guns well in the second half. We defended stoutly and had a couple of half-chances in the last 10 minutes."

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 28Sviatchenko
  • 5Simunovic
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 17ChristieSubstituted forHendersonat 63'minutes
  • 8Brown
  • 14Armstrong
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forRobertsat 71'minutes
  • 9GriffithsSubstituted forDembeleat 66'minutes
  • 11Sinclair

Substitutes

  • 2K Touré
  • 6Bitton
  • 10Dembele
  • 12Gamboa
  • 24de Vries
  • 27Roberts
  • 53Henderson

Ross County

  • 1Fox
  • 2Fraser
  • 43Quinn
  • 15Davies
  • 5McEveley
  • 12ChowBooked at 52mins
  • 4RoutisSubstituted forMcShaneat 66'minutes
  • 8WoodsBooked at 77mins
  • 11Curran
  • 23SchalkSubstituted forTumilityat 62'minutes
  • 10BoyceSubstituted forMorrisonat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Dow
  • 16Dingwall
  • 18McShane
  • 31McCarey
  • 44McLaughlin
  • 52Tumility
  • 53Morrison
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
55,355

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home18
Away4
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home11
Away7
Fouls
Home9
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 2, Ross County 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Ross County 0.

Attempt missed. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt saved. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Jozo Simunovic.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

Attempt saved. Andrew Davies (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Erik Sviatchenko.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Greg Morrison.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Moussa Dembele.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

Attempt saved. Martin Woods (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

Attempt saved. Liam Henderson (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Booking

Martin Woods (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Greg Morrison replaces Liam Boyce.

Attempt missed. Erik Sviatchenko (Celtic) header from a difficult angle on the right misses to the right.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Martin Woods.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Patrick Roberts replaces James Forrest.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Moussa Dembele replaces Leigh Griffiths.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Ian McShane replaces Christopher Routis.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Jay McEveley.

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Liam Henderson replaces Ryan Christie.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Reghan Tumility replaces Alex Schalk.

Attempt saved. James Forrest (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Tim Chow.

Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).

Craig Curran (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Christie (Celtic).

Martin Woods (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

Attempt blocked. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Delay in match James Forrest (Celtic) because of an injury.

Booking

Tim Chow (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic19181052133955
2Rangers2011632719839
3Aberdeen19104534191534
4Hearts2087538251331
5St Johnstone197752521428
6Partick Thistle205692429-521
7Motherwell195592432-820
8Ross County204882034-1420
9Dundee2054111828-1019
10Kilmarnock204791635-1919
11Hamilton2021082030-1016
12Inverness CT2037102437-1316
View full Scottish Premiership table

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