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Pre-Season Friendly - Celtic 2 - 0 Ross County
NEIL Lennon’s side returned to Paradise for the first time since March 7, beating Ross County 2-0 in a pre-season friendly.
NEIL Lennon’s side returned to Paradise for the first time since March 7, beating Ross County 2-0 in a pre-season friendly. It was the first of a double-header against Scottish opposition for the Hoops, with Hibernian the visitors on Monday as preparations continue for the start of the 2020/21 Premiership season next weekend.

Much has happened in the intervening 141 days, most notably Celtic’s confirmation as champions for the ninth consecutive season, and after three tough matches in France, it was good to be back home.

And it took Celtic just two minutes to open the scoring, though it came courtesy of an own goal. Greg Taylor’s dangerous cross into the box from the left-hand side was sliced by County defender, Coll Donaldson, the ball looping up and over the keeper and into the back of the net.Neil Lennon’s side were using both flanks to good effect, with both Taylor and Jeremie Frimpong causing the Highland side problems.

And it was the young Dutch defender who provided the second goal on 14 minutes. He combined well with James Forrest down the right-hand side before cutting the ball across the area for Mohamed Elyounoussi to slot the ball home from 15 yards out.

Celtic were moving the ball around the pitch with confidence and speed and almost netted a third just three minutes later. Again, Frimpong was the provider, sliding the ball into the path of Forrest, but his goalbound shot a slight deflection off a County defender and came crashing back off the bar.

Just a minute later, Frimpong had his own chance to score following good work across the edge of the 18-yard box from Elyounoussi. The Norwegian laid the ball into the path of Frimpong but the visitors’ goalkeeper was quick off his line to make the save.

It took Ross County until just before the half-hour mark to carve out an opening, but Connor Randall’s 25-yard shot was comfortably held by Scott Bain.

Celtic had further chances to score in the opening 45 minutes. Forrest fashioned an opportunity with some tricky wing play, but his floated cross into the box was headed over by Elyounoussi. Then Jullien couldn’t connect at the back post from a Ryan Christie free-kick following a bad foul on Taylor in the 36th minute by Randall which, regardless of the game being a friendly, should have merited at least a yellow card.

The Celtic left-back was soon substituted with two minutes of the first-half remaining after failing to run off the injury he received, with Kerr McInroy slotting in at left-back.

Five minutes after the break, Celtic came close to extending their lead when Christie was set up by Forrest, but the County goalkeeper denied the Celtic attacker a goal. And Christie came close again minutes later, but his right-foot shot went wide of the post.

Neil Lennon’s side created a number of half-chances, with both Chris Jullien and then Forrest volleying wide of target in quick succession. Christie came close again on 67 minutes, cutting in from the right, but his left-foot shot was saved and then scrambled to safety.

Two minutes later, Ross County had their first chance of the second half. Harry Paton latched on to the ball after a Frimpong slip-up and laid the ball back to Oli Shaw on the edge of the box, but his shot went wide.

And on 76 minutes Josh Reid came even closer, but his left-foot shot from inside the box was turned round the post by Scott Bain, who quickly followed that up with another two saves, to deny Lee Erwin and then substitute Ross Stewart, who both had efforts from outside the area.

At the other end, Odsonne Edouard’s shot from eight yards out was deflected over the bar for a Celtic corner. And with three minutes later, Forrest, now playing on the left flank, had a shot from just inside the area well saved.

CELTIC: Bain, Frimpong, Jullien, Ajer, Taylor (McInroy 43), Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Christie, Elyounoussi, Edouard.
Subs: Hazard, Klimala, Connell, Welsh, Dembele

ROSS COUNTY: Trialist, Randall, Red, Iacovitti, Donaldson, Vigurs (Mackinnon 88), Charles-Cook, Draper (Stewart 76), Shaw (Wright 88), Erwin, Paton.
Subs: Munro, Williamson, Kelly.

Posted by voc1967 on Sunday 26 July 2020 - 14:08:17 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
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