Scottish Premiership
Celtic6Ross County0

Celtic 6-0 Ross County: Neil Lennon's side return to top after dominant display

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Highlights: Celtic 6-0 Ross County

Celtic scored four goals in nine second-half minutes as they thrashed Ross County and returned to the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Neil Lennon's side had slipped from the summit after losing at Livingston last time out, but a blistering performance edged them back ahead of Rangers.

Mohamed Elyounoussi scored after four minutes, but a second proved elusive despite 21 first-half shots. However, Odsonne Edouard (2), Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Elyounoussi's second sealed the win after the break.

Rangers will return to the top should they beat Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

County, meanwhile, slip to sixth place but remain within four points of Motherwell in third place.

Celtic return top in stunning fashion

Having picked up just a point from their previous two league matches, Celtic showed from the off a determination to return to the top of the Premiership with an emphatic victory.

They should have wrapped the game up by half-time, battering the visitors' goal, with Elyounoussi sidefooting an early warning into the arms of Ross Laidlaw.

It was the beginning of a busy afternoon for the County goalkeeper, who found himself picking the ball out of the net only a minute later as the Norwegian winger curled one beyond him at the end of an incisive move involving Jeremie Frimpong and Edouard.

Celtic were swarming all over their bewildered opponents, with Edouard and Elyounoussi looking particularly dangerous.

The Frenchman alone hit the target on four occasions in the opening 35 minutes, but a combination of good goalkeeping - one very good save in fact - and a Richard Foster goal-line clearance kept him from troubling the scoresheet.

Add to that a Christopher Jullien header off the line by Foster again and McGregor hitting a post at the end of another sumptuous move and County looked punch drunk. But incredibly they were still in the contest come the interval.

Edouard stats

That scenario would not last long. A matter of seconds in fact. Keith Watson made a dreadful mess of an attempted clearance and Edouard was not about to let County off lightly again, slotting the ball past the exposed Laidlaw.

And that was the cue for County's collapse. Within nine minutes they were five goals down as Edouard slipped in McGregor to score, the Frenchman headed in off the desperate lunge of Liam Fontaine and Forrest slammed Frimpong's cutback into the net.

At last Celtic eased their foot off the throat of their beleaguered opponents, but the respite was not to last as Elyounoussi nudged his second over the line after Boli Bolingoli had fired across goal.

Celtic return to the top of the table in stunning fashion.

Man of the match - Odsonne Edouard

Neil Lennon told BBC Scotland pre-match he would not welcome any January bids for his French frontman and little wonder. On this form he is unplayable and with a little luck could have had at least double his tally of two goals in the hour or so he was on the park.

But allied to his goalscoring prowess, his touch, power and pace make him the complete package.

'Pure talent on the pitch' - reaction

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Watch: Lennon hails 'most complete Celtic performance' since return

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "That's the most complete performance we've had since I returned here and close to the most complete I've had as Celtic manager.

"The team was outstanding and there was pure talent out on the pitch. I enjoyed it immensely."

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell: "The message at half-time was reasonably positive. The greatest disappointment for us was how we conceded the second goal and the reaction after it.

"We don't feel we dealt with the situation, the atmosphere and the quality Celtic have got."

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 67Forster
  • 30Frimpong
  • 2Jullien
  • 35Ajer
  • 23Bolingoli-Mbombo
  • 8Brown
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forBittonat 73'minutes
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forShvedat 75'minutes
  • 18Rogic
  • 27Elyounoussi
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forBayoat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gordon
  • 6Bitton
  • 10Bayo
  • 13Bauer
  • 15Hayes
  • 20Shved
  • 33Elhamed

Ross County

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 15WatsonBooked at 36mins
  • 2Fraser
  • 4Fontaine
  • 18Foster
  • 6Draper
  • 23Chalmers
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forSpenceat 59'minutes
  • 20SpittalSubstituted forPatonat 75'minutes
  • 14MullinSubstituted forGrahamat 59'minutes
  • 27Stewart

Substitutes

  • 9Mckay
  • 12Grivosti
  • 16Spence
  • 19Graham
  • 22Power
  • 24Paton
  • 25Ruddy
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
58,560

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home29
Away2
Shots on Target
Home15
Away1
Corners
Home11
Away0
Fouls
Home11
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 6, Ross County 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 6, Ross County 0.

Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

Harrison Paton (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Tomas Rogic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Harrison Paton (Ross County).

Attempt saved. Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ross Stewart (Ross County).

Attempt saved. Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic).

Lewis Spence (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Harrison Paton (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

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

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Marcus Fraser.

Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ross Stewart (Ross County).

Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Brian Graham (Ross County).

Foul by Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic).

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

Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

Richard Foster (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Harrison Paton replaces Blair Spittal.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Marian Shved replaces James Forrest.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Callum McGregor.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 6, Ross County 0. Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.

Foul by Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic).

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

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Liam Fontaine.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Liam Fontaine.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Richard Foster.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Vakoun Issouf Bayo replaces Odsonne Edouard.

Attempt saved. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ross Draper (Ross County).

Foul by Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic).

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

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic97112872122
2Rangers87012652121
3Motherwell95131513216
4Aberdeen94321310315
5Kilmarnock942388014
6Ross County93331017-712
7Livingston93241313011
8Hamilton9234816-89
9St Mirren922558-38
10Hibernian9144818-107
11Hearts8134913-46
12St Johnstone9045722-154
View full Scottish Premiership table

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