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Celtic 3-0 Ross County
Odsonne Edouard came off the bench to crush Ross County with a four-minute double and push lacklustre Celtic five points clear at the Scottish Premiership summit.

Odsonne Edouard came off the bench to crush Ross County with a four-minute double and push lacklustre Celtic five points clear at the Scottish Premiership summit.

The visitors exploited the hosts' shaky defence in the first half and Josh Mullin, Blair Spittal and Don Cowie all missed the target with good chances.

But Callum McGregor's penalty - after a Keith Watson trip on Mikey Johnston - nudged Celtic ahead before the break and Edouard's 63rd-minute introduction put the outcome beyond doubt.

The French striker headed home McGregor's corner with his first touch and added a quick second for his 20th goal of the season to extend the gap at the top.

Closest challengers Rangers, who have two games in hand, attempt to narrow the lead when they face Hearts on Sunday.

Eighth-place County are now five games without a league win and remain four points above the relegation play-off spot.

To say County came into this game as massive underdogs was a huge understatement - apparently they were the longest odds of any side in Europe to get a win this afternoon.

The bookies are rarely wrong, but arguably the Dingwall side looked the more likely to take the lead.

First a fantastic pass from Spittal sliced Celtic right open as Mullin raced in on goal, but he got too much on his lob and the ball looped over the bar.

Mullin would then return the favour, cutting back for Spittal midway inside the Celtic box but with the goal gaping he screwed his shot wide.

Veteran midfielder Cowie also angled a shot past the post as County continued to pose a threat while the murmurs of discontent grew in volume among the home faithful.

Celtic were a bit flat but their sheer quality ensured chances would occur in the first half, with headers from Christopher Jullien and James Forrest forcing saves from Nathan Baxter.

Forrest also flashed an inviting low ball across goal which Griffiths looked sure to tap in at the back post, but there was just a touch too much pace on it.

Sometimes one mistake is all it takes and that was the case for County. The ball arrived at the tricky feet of Johnston in the penalty box, he turned smartly and was tripped by Watson.

Up stepped McGregor who fired expertly into the bottom right-hand corner for his eighth goal of the season.

Edouard had been left on the bench with a slight toe injury, but he entered the fray for Griffiths and made an immediate impact.

From a McGregor corner the French striker nodded home from close range at the back post as Celtic doubled their lead.

Straight after that Spittal had a chance well saved by Forster before Edouard was at it again.

This time a more conventional Edouard finish underlined his massive importance to Celtic, the French Under-21 international weaving into the box before firing home to make it 3-0 and end the game as a contest.

Man of the match - Odsonne Edouard

One of the great debates of this Scottish football season is who is best - Edouard of Celtic or Alfredo Morelos of Rangers?

That debate will rage on for a few months yet, but Edouard once again proved just how valuable he is to Neil Lennon's side.

It was a quiet afternoon for Griffiths, who came off for Edouard, and the Frenchman made short work of sealing another vital three points for the champions.

He has already surpassed his league goal tally of last season and his importance to Celtic as they strive to make it nine titles in a row cannot be overstated.

Posted by voc1967 on Saturday 25 January 2020 - 23:25:56 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
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