Scottish Premiership
Celtic3Ross County0

Celtic 3-0 Ross County

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Celtic 3-0 Ross County

Celtic moved to within 10 points of guaranteeing a seventh successive Premiership title with a comfortable victory over bottom side Ross County.

County striker Billy Mckay had a good early chance saved before Moussa Dembele converted a penalty after Jason Naismith brought down Scott Sinclair.

The visitors' hopes evaporated when captain Andrew Davies was sent off.

The impressive Armstrong drilled in the second before a lovely finish from Tom Rogic sealed a straightforward victory.

Three more wins from their remaining seven games - given their vastly superior goal difference - would effectively seal part five of a potential 'double treble' for Brendan Rodgers' side.

They now have a 12-point lead over Rangers - who have played a game more - and Aberdeen.

County, who have won just one of their past 18 Premiership matches, remain three points adrift of Partick Thistle, who lost 2-0 at Hibernian.

Celtic immediately looked menacing, but in between Armstrong shooting over and Dembele dragging his effort wide, the visitors gave their hosts a real scare.

Moussa Dembele scores from the penalty spot
Moussa Dembele stroked home his 14th goal of the season from the penalty spot

Mckay, a previously potent presence who has struggled for goals this season, was played in neatly and it needed an alert stop by Celtic goalkeeper Scott Bain to prevent a goal.

Armstrong found pockets of space all over the pitch and was at the heart of Celtic's attacking play again when his rehearsed, low corner kick set up Sinclair for a low shot that was deflected fractionally wide.

There was no argument from Naismith when Sinclair's 'Cruyff turn' near the byeline drew a foul from the defender and referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot after 25 minutes.

Dembele stepped up to slot the slot the ball into the bottom right-hand corner for his 14th goal of the season.

Any slim chance the Dingwall side had of getting anything from the game ended six minutes before the interval when captain Davies was dismissed for an apparent lunging stamp on Celtic skipper Scott Brown.

Andrew Davies looks back after fouling Scott Brown, who writhes in agony
County captain Andrew Davies was sent off after a crude lunge at Celtic counterpart Scott Brown

Stuart Kettlewell's men were dealt another blow soon afterward as goalkeeper Aaron McCarey had to be replaced because of injury - Scott Fox entering the fray in the closing minutes of the first half.

Armstrong's energy and direct approach deserved a goal, and he got his fifth of the season for Celtic early in the second half.

The Scotland midfielder had time to aim a perfectly drilled shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box after James Forrest teed him up.

Forrest earned his second assist of the day on the hour playing in Rogic to score Celtic's third in a classy manner. The Australian gathered the ball beautifully on his left foot and showed equally good skill to plant a right-footed finish low past Fox.

Striker Leigh Griffiths made his return to competitive action for the first time since January and was given 20 minutes to get up to match speed.

But it was County who almost finished with a flourish - Ryan Dow nearly netting at the near post following good work by Michael Gardyne.

Post-match reaction:

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Ouch! Celtic players left furious after 'disgraceful' challenge on Brown

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: "I thought it was a job well done. We started well and didn't get the goals we deserved but our drive and intensity was good and once we got in front, and their captain was sent off for a really poor challenge, we found that bit of ruthlessness we needed.

"It is another three points to where we want to go.

"Stuart Armstrong had really good intensity in his game. He has been out for a long time and is still finding his fitness, but we gave him 90 minutes and he was really good.

"He ran out of steam a bit towards the end but I am very pleased for him. He had a real goal threat and you saw his energy."

County interim co-manager Stuart Kettlewell: "A few things went against us - Andrew Davies being sent off, a penalty against us and we lost our goalkeeper to injury.

"We knew it would be a mammoth task in the second half. We took a lot from it as a lot of teams can capitulate and fold at that point.

"We felt the players showed a real degree of heart today, which is massive. This was never going to define our season.

"I've not seen the sending-off incident. Andrew is an honest guy, he is our leader on the pitch and is disappointed he has been sent off today. We will look at the incident and take it from there."

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 29Bain
  • 23Lustig
  • 35Ajer
  • 20BoyataSubstituted forHendryat 45'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 8Brown
  • 14Armstrong
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forRobertsat 63'minutes
  • 18Rogic
  • 11Sinclair
  • 10DembeleSubstituted forGriffithsat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Hendry
  • 7Roberts
  • 9Griffiths
  • 21Ntcham
  • 22Edouard
  • 24de Vries
  • 67Musonda

Ross County

  • 31McCareySubstituted forFoxat 45'minutes
  • 3Naismith
  • 5Souttar
  • 32Fontaine
  • 15DaviesBooked at 39mins
  • 2Fraser
  • 25O'Brien
  • 4Routis
  • 10SchalkSubstituted forGardyneat 66'minutes
  • 11Curran
  • 22MckaySubstituted forDowat 63'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Fox
  • 7Gardyne
  • 9Dow
  • 14N'Gog
  • 24Dingwall
  • 35Melbourne
  • 63Gallagher
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
58,765

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home25
Away2
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 3, Ross County 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 3, Ross County 0.

Foul by Patrick Roberts (Celtic).

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

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Ryan Dow (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Christopher Routis (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

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

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Scott Brown.

Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Scott Bain.

Attempt saved. Ryan Dow (Ross County) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt saved. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Patrick Roberts (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jim O'Brien (Ross County).

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Ryan Dow (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Jason Naismith.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Moussa Dembele.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Mikael Lustig.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Michael Gardyne replaces Alex Schalk.

Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

Ryan Dow (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Patrick Roberts replaces James Forrest.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Ryan Dow replaces Billy McKay.

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

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 3, Ross County 0. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by James Forrest.

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Scott Sinclair (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jason Naismith (Ross County).

Attempt blocked. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Billy McKay (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jack Hendry (Celtic).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic31218262204271
2Rangers32185963382559
3Aberdeen31185848341459
4Hibernian311510645331255
5Kilmarnock31131084238449
6Hearts31101293229342
7Motherwell31107143641-537
8St Johnstone32107153247-1537
9Hamilton3086164053-1330
10Dundee3084183048-1828
11Partick Thistle3167182652-2625
12Ross County3157193356-2322
View full Scottish Premiership table

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