Ross County lost out 3-0 to the champions at Celtic Park, with the Staggies failing to capitalise on first half opportunities that could have made the outcome very different. The match a stark contrast to the earlier meeting of the sides in Glasgow in October.
The home side did have the first shot of the match. Leigh Griffiths took an in-swinging corner from the left which was met by the head of Jullien just outside the 6-yard box. His header well saved by County Keeper Baxter. The Staggies would have their first opportunity just 3 minutes later. A ball over the top set free Josh Mullin on the right wing. Mullin driving with the ball in to the box but his shot well held by Fraser Forster.
Leigh Griffiths would find himself in a perfect position with 18 minutes on the clock. Bauer’s cross finding him just 12 yards out in the centre of the box but the striker failed to make a clean enough connection to see his shot trouble Baxter as it went the wrong side of the far post.
Blair Spittal had an ideal opportunity to put the Staggies ahead but failed to convert 26 minutes in to the game. Mullin again had been set free on the right wing. He cut to the touchline and cut the ball back to Spittal who flashed a shot across goal it went narrowly wide of the far post. Just seconds later and James Forrest would be picked out unmarked at the back post but Baxter pulled off a superb save to deny the Celtic midfielders header going in to the net.
After 9 months out, Don Cowie returned to the Staggies starting line up. Cowie made a great run through the middle of the pitch and was picked out by Josh Mullin who sent a long ball forward to Cowie to chase. Cowie took a touch before letting fly from the edge of the box but again his shot went narrowly wide.
Just 8 minutes before the break Celtic would take the lead. Keith Watson was adjudged to take down Mikey Johnston in the box and Calum McGregor had the task of stepping up to take the penalty. McGregor sent his penalty to Baxter’s left with the Ross County goalkeeper going the right way but just missing out on making the save.
20 minutes after the break and Celtic introduced Odsonne Edouard to the game for Leigh Griffiths. Seconds after coming on the striker would have an instant impact. The striker met a corner with his head in the centre of the box and managed to divert his header in to the bottom far corner, doubling the Celtic lead.
The Staggies reacted well as Blair Spittal was played through within a minute but his shot was well saved low by Forster. The ball came back to Erwin on the edge of the box but he flashed his long range effort over the bar.
The game would be killed off with 18 minutes left and it would be substitute Edouard again. He took a touch past Keith Watson inside the box and send a low effort across goal and in to the bottom left hand corner of the net.
As the game drew to a close neither team created another clear-cut chance. However, it was a game where the result maybe didn’t reflect the game with the Staggies having some fantastic chances and putting in a very strong performance against the league champions.