Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Celtic Park, Glasgow
(Turnbull 24, Griffiths 62)
Celtic followed up on their Quadruple Treble from four days ago with a dominant 2-0 win against Ross County in the league. Neil Lennon’s side put on a strong performance and were unfortunate not to have scored more with the chances created.
David Turnbull opened the scoring from close range midway through the first half and Leigh Griffiths netted just after the hour mark with a header.
Celtic made their intent clear from kick-off as they pilled the pressure on Ross County and tried to prevent the visitors settling into the game.
Ross County managed to fashion an early chance, though. Ross Stewart managed to get on the end of Keith Watson’s cross into the Celtic penalty area but the striker’s header was off target.
Ross County managed to keep Celtic at bay during a flurry of corners early on but Ross Laidlaw soon found goalmouth under attack.
Celtic’s first chance came in the 10th minute when Diego Laxalt’s looping cross into the box was headed down by Leigh Griffiths for Ryan Christie to pounce on. The Hoops midfielder stuck the ball well on the half volley with his right-foot but his shot was blocked.
Moments later a Turnbull lofted pass into the penalty area was cleared only as far as Diego Laxalt who controlled the ball with his chest before firing a volley over the cross bar.
A goal looked increasingly inevitable as Celtic moved the ball well in midfield and continued to find openings in the Staggies defence.
Callum McGregor nearly opened the scoring in the 19th minute after Edouard won back possession for Celtic inside the opposition half. Some quick passing between the Celtic midfield of Ismailia Soro, Turnbull and Christie ended with McGregor’s well struck shot from around 25 yards but he dragged his effort narrowly wide of the post.
However, the Hoops midfielder helped create Celtic’s goal minutes later when he picked out Jeremie Frimpong’s run down the right flank with an excellent diagonal long ball. Frimpong darted into the box, turned Josh Reid and picked out Turnbull inside a packed box with a neat cutback. Turnbull steered the ball into the bottom corner to net his second goal in the Hoops and his first in the Premiership for Celtic.
More opportunities followed throughout the first half. Frimpong got the better of Reid again out on the right and found Edouard inside the penalty area. The Frenchman turned away from his marker but couldn’t get enough on his shot. He had another go on the edge of the area, holding off a challenge before dragging his shot wide of the post.
Celtic had a great opportunity to increase their lead early in the second half but Griffiths was unable to cap off a wonderful piece of play. Christie won back possession on the halfway line and Soro’s quick forward pass released McGregor who played in Griffiths with a great through ball. Griffiths tried to cut the ball on to his favoured left found which allowed Alex Iacovitti to get a foot in and make a crucial block.
Laidlaw made a good save to deny Griffiths from close range on the hour mark but the Celtic striker seized his chance one minute later to make it 2-0. Christie chipped a pass into the box and Griffiths gave the keeper no chance with an excellent header back across goal.
Celtic looked hungry for a third goal and appeared to grow in confidence as they continued to open up the Ross County defence with some slick passing in the final third.
Some nice combination play created a good chance for Edouard but he couldn’t finish Turnbull’s cutback. McGregor followed up with a rebound but his attempt was blocked.
Substitutes Mikey Johnston and Olivier Ntcham almost increased Celtic’s advantage late on. Johnston played a good one-two with McGregor before cutting a pass back from the byline for Ntcham but the midfielder couldn’t generate enough power with his shot to trouble the keeper and the final whistle spared the visitors any further tournament from a determined Celtic side.
CELTIC: Hazard; Jullien, Griffiths (Ajeti 81), Soro, Turnbull (Ntcham 72), Christie (Rogic 72), Edouard (Johnston 72), Frimpong, Ajer, McGregor, Laxalt
Subs: Barkas, Taylor, Bitton, Klimala, Elyounoussi
ROSS COUNTY: Laidlaw, Watson, Iacovitti, Morris, Reid, Draper (Tillson 76), Vigurs (Mckay 76), Gardyne (Hylton 45), Paton, Kelly, Stewart (Shaw 34).
Subs: Tremarco, Donaldson, Wright, Williamson, Munro.