Match Report - Celtic (H)
Ross County 0- 3 Celtic – Attendance 6544
Celtic took full advantage of an early sending-off for the Staggies in Dingwall, as they trek back down the A9 with all three points in hand.
David Turnbull opened the scoring for the Hoops right on the stroke of half-time, whilst a stunning hit from Honduran winger Luis Palma doubled their advantage.
It became three to the good for the away side when James Forrest tapped home at the back post from a chipped Palma cross.
Malky Mackay made three changes to the side that clawed back a valuable point on the road in Edinburgh. George Harmon replaced Ben Purrington at left back, whilst Yan Dhanda and Jordan White came into the side in place of Kyle Turner and Eamonn Brophy respectively.
Jordan White had an incredibly early chance from kick-off,but he narrowly headed wide from a James Brown cross.
Celtic had the ball in the back of the net in the fifth minutefrom an Oh header, but Jordan White was hauled down the box – resulting in a free-kick to the Staggies.
It was a nightmarish start for County despite an early chance, as James Brown’s challenge on Yang was brandished as a yellow card. However, VAR entered play and directed the referee to the screen. David Munro changed his call anddished out an early red card to the Irish full-back Brown.
Malky Mackay made an early change to his side following that decision and sacrificed Jordan Whites's place in the side to allow another defender, Will Nightingale, to enter play.
Calum McGregor, Celtic captain, nearly had Celtic in front when his low drive from the right-hand side was saved strongly by Ross Laidlaw, resulting in a Celtic corner.
Liam Scales was next to come close for the away side. His head met a David Turnbull, but he could only guide his chance in the way of Laidlaw who diverted for another corner.
The pace of Daizen Maeda breached the Ross County defence as he burst down the right flank. He had acres of space as did his target in the middle of the box – Hyeongyu Oh. He was unmarked and tapped the ball into the back of the net. However, the goal was ruled out after a lengthy VAR check. Daizen Maeda was in an offside position when he latched onto the ball in the build-up play.
Ross Laidlaw was a busy man, as he made another fabulous save from close range to keep the ten-man Staggies clinging on until half-time.
Ross County were just sheer seconds away from entering the break level when Celtic broke the deadlock. After some passing play on the right-hand side of the box, the ball fell kindly for David Turnbull. He found wiggle room for a strike – and drove the ball beyond Ross Laidlaw and into the bottom left corner. That strike called half-time and sent the Hoops down the tunnel with a one-goal advantage.
Malky made two direct substitutions at half-time. Simon Murray, who had put in an incredible shift in the first 45 minutes, was replaced by Alex Samuel. The other change saw Ben Purrington replace George Harmon at left-back.
Paulo Bernardo fancied his chances from a free kick on the left-hand side of the box. His shot wasn’t threatening to Laidlaw in the County goal as the ball sailed over the crossbar.
Liam Scales clipped a pinpoint ball over the top of the County backline, leaving a huge chance for Kyogo. He volleyed at close range but could only find the body of Ross Laidlaw. The rebound fell to a Celtic man, but Laidlaw made it an impressive double save to keep the deficit to one goal.
Kyle Turner was the next player to be introduced by Mackay,as Yan Dhanda made way for the former Partick Thistle man.
Substitute Odin Holm should have the Celtic lead doubled. His curling effort looked destined to nestle in the top left corner, but a magnificent full stretch save from Ross Laidlawdenied the goal.
Just moments later, Celtic did get their second goal of the afternoon. It was an absolute stunner from Substitute Luis Palma, who curved a long-range effort beyond Ross Laidlaw.The Ross County keeper had been superb throughout – and Celtic needed that moment of magic to beat the former Hibs man.
Scott High, who was making his home debut, replaced Victor Loturi.
There was a third for Celtic in quick succession. A ball from defence split the Staggies midfield, finding Luis Palma who clipped a ball across the goal to open man James Forrest – he had the easiest of finishes to make it three for Brendan Rodgers’ side, as the impact of an early red card was now showing for the Highlanders.
Ross Laidlaw once again showed his quality, with two late saves in quick succession to deny any further Celtic goals.
That was to be all the action in Dingwall, as Celtic left with three goals and three points.
First half time added: 6.
Second half time added: 5.
Yellow Cards: Calum McGregor
Red Card: James Brown
Referee: David Munro
AR1: Ross Macleod
AR2: Alan Mulvaney
Player of the Match: Ross Laidlaw
Teams in full:
Ross Laidlaw, George Harmon, Jack Baldwin, Ryan Leak, James Brown; Scott Allardice, Connor Randall, Victor Loturi, Yan Dhanda; Simon Murray; Jordan White.
Substitutes: Ross Munro, Ben Purrington, Kyle Turner, Max Sheaf, Scott High, Alex Samuel, Eamonn Brophy, Dylan Smith, Will Nightingale.
Joe Hart, Greg Taylor, Liam Scales, Hyunjun Yang, David Turnbull, Hyeongyu Oh, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Paulo Bernardo, Daizen Maeda, Callum McGregor, Anthony Ralston.
Substitutes: Scott Bain, Alasdair Johnson, Nathaniel Phillips, Luis Palma, Kyogo Furuhashi, Odin Holm, Tomoki Iwata, Matt O’Riley, James Forrest.