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Celtic 3 - 1 Kilmarnock
Celtic remain three points clear in the Scottish Premiership with a 100% record after delivering a devastating response to Kilmarnock's shock opener.

Celtic remain three points clear in the Scottish Premiership with a 100% record after delivering a devastating response to Kilmarnock's shock opener.

Eamonn Brophy's deflected strike gave the visitors a first-half lead against the run of play, but an Odsonne Edouard double either side of half-time turned Celtic's deficit into a lead.

Ryan Christie netted their third before the hour before Kilmarnock midfielder Alan Power had a late penalty saved by Fraser Forster after Scott Brown tripped Osman Sow.

Celtic knew they had no margin for error with Rangers briefly moving joint top with victory at St Johnstone in Sunday's earlier game.

But Neil Lennon's men were inspired by victory by the terrific James Forrest, who had a hand in two goals as well as hitting the woodwork twice.

The defeat ended Kilmarnock's four-game unbeaten run and leaves them in seventh place with seven points.

Kilmarnock headed to Glasgow's East End in good form but Celtic's Premiership results after European away action this season have been emphatic - winning 7-0 at home to St Johnstone, 5-2 at Motherwell and 2-0 at Rangers.

The Scottish champions could have been leggy after their energy-sapping exertions in Thursday's 1-1 draw with Rennes. Instead, they had a spring in their step and Forrest ran the show with a standout performance full of verve.

The right winger revelled in his role on the left, constantly cutting inside to leave Kilmarnock floundering. Forrest had five shots at goal in the opening 25 minutes - three saved, one rattled off a post and one blocked by Power, leading to forlorn penalty shouts from the hosts.

A goal was inevitable. That it came at the other end was a major surprise.

A lovely pass from Kilmarnock midfielder Mohamed El Makrini on the left flank touchline Brophy on the edge of the box. He had three defenders for company, but got a shot away and it looped over Forster with the aid of a deflection off Kristoffer Ajer.

Celtic stayed calm and sought an instant response. Edouard and Ajer came close but just as Kilmarnock looked to make to it half-time intact, Forrest sliced them open. The 28-year-old raced down the left and delivered a pinpoint cross for the rising Edouard to power a header past Laurent Branescu.

And 15 minutes into the second half Celtic were bounding clear a two-goal advantage. Branescu, who had clawed a curling Olivier Ntcham effort away from his top corner, was powerless to prevent Edouard slipping a low shot in at the near post for his eighth goal of the season after a lovely reverse pass from Moritz Bauer.

Forrest's efforts deserved a goal. He had to make do with a hand in the third, meeting Boli Bolingoli's cross with a header that Branescu did well to keep out, before Christie followed up to bundle home the rebound.

And the Scotland winger, back on the right flank in the closing stages, knew it wasn't his day to get on the scoresheet when a piercing run ended with his drive deflecting on to the bar and away to safety.

That would have made the result even more emphatic but there were a couple of second-half scares for the hosts. Forster had to be at his best to tip over a rasping Brophy strike, and the goalkeeper dived to his right to push away Power's spot-kick after a rash Brown challenge on Sow.

Edouard's double proved decisive in the end, although the sight of fellow Frenchman, centre-back Christopher Jullien, going with injured, was a late moment of concern for Celtic fans.

Posted by voc1967 on Sunday 22 September 2019 - 14:49:19 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
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