Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ross County 1 Celtic 4: Griffiths at the double as Celtic extend lead

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 8 Nov 2015

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Celtic extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to six points courtesy of a routine 4-1 win over Ross County at Victoria Park on Sunday.

Tom Rogic’s first-half opener and a quick-fire Leigh Griffiths brace early in the second term put the visitors 3-0 up before substitute Tony Dingwall scored his first goal of the season to reduce the deficit just short of the hour-mark.

A Nir Bitton header 15 minutes from time then snuffed out any hopes of a home comeback.

It was Celtic’s fifth successive league victory and went some way to easing the pain of their disappointing midweek Europa League defeat at the hands of Molde.

The result means that the reigning champions remain very much on course for an historic domestic treble, but it is unlikely to ease the pressure on manager Ronny Deila, who has been heavily criticised over the club’s failures in Europe.

Ross County, meanwhile, came into the game riding high in fifth place having won four times at home this term, but they were without injured skipper Andrew Davies and struggled to contain Celtic right from the off.

James Forrest, Griffiths and Rogic all went close to putting Deila’s side in front before the latter finally broke the deadlock on 37 minutes.

The Australian attacking midfielder did his hopes of securing a new contract at Parkhead no harm as he burst through to the edge of the box and beat goalkeeper Gary Woods with a dipping drive.

Celtic then doubled their advantage nine minutes into the second half when Bitton picked out Griffiths, who rifled home a left-foot shot.

And the in-form striker made it 18 goals in all competitions this term when he converted a Forrest cross just two minutes later.

To their credit, Jim McIntyre’s men refused to fold and swiftly reduced the arrears, 21-year-old Dingwall finding the net with a composed finish from just inside the box.

Liam Boyce and Martin Woods had earlier both missed decent chances for the hosts and they started to threaten the Celtic defence again in the final stages, with Craig Gordon forced to pull off a superb save to keep out a header from substitute Alex Schalk.

Midfielder Jackson Irvine also went close with a headed effort as the Dingwall side briefly threatened a comeback, but on 75 minutes, Bitton got on the end of a Stuart Armstrong corner to make it 4-1.

The win was Celtic’s fifth on the road this season and their fourth on the bounce at Victoria Park.

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