Celtic could not be contained and were only limited by the accuracy of their finishing as they swept past Inverness.

Anthony Stokes struck an accomplished hat-trick, with three more goals coming from Leigh Griffiths, Efe Ambrose and Teemu Pukki.

Despite being comfortable on the ball, Inverness ended up looking beleaguered.

They had no answer to Celtic, and Aaron Doran's second-half penalty was saved by Fraser Forster to cap a galling occasion for the visitors.

The remaining targets for these two teams are self-imposed.

Celtic's competitive instincts are being honed by the ambition to finish with more than 100 points, while Inverness want to claim more points than last season, with each place they climb in the table bringing higher prize money.

There was an opportunity, too, for individuals to thrive, with Celtic in particularly starting with a line-up that was arguably the strongest they could select even with a full squad to choose from.

There will be alterations over the summer as players arrive and depart. Even so, this will be the core of the side that attempts to reach the Champions League group stages in the summer qualifying rounds, and there was cause for optimism.

The front three, with Stokes and Griffiths in front of Kris Commons, were deft, full of movement and guile, and clinical. Commons was the orchestrator in the early stages, but then Stokes grew to prominence and the game began to revolve around him.

Teemu Pukkis scores for Celtic against Inverness

Pukki's late strike wrapped up an impressive win for the Scottish Premiership champions

The opening goal - a Stokes header from Griffith's corner - came either side of three excellent Dean Brill saves.

The Inverness goalkeeper was agile as he kept out a Commons effort from close range, a fierce Stokes shot from distance and then Adam Matthews, who tried to squeeze a shot inside the goalkeeper's near post.

If Brill's involvement was indicative of the game's nature, it was telling also that one Inverness counter attack ended with the midfielder Ross Draper passing the ball back to his own goalkeeper.

Inverness were capable of some neat and constructive passing exchanges, but they ran out of purpose in the final third. Sitting so deep, they were also vulnerable to periods of pressure, and one ended with a Griffiths cut back that Commons could not connect with.

The ball ran to Stokes, though, and he fired it into the net.

Inverness retained their idealism, but it was occasionally a hindrance. The intention was to always play the ball out of defence, but Greg Tansey was careless with one pass, which Stefan Johansen intercepted.

As the Norwegian surged into the penalty area, he was tripped by Gary Warren, and Stokes converted the penalty with aplomb for his treble.

There was no limit to Celtic's ambition. It was briefly interrupted when the visitors were awarded a penalty after contact between attacker Billy McKay and defender Virgil van Dijk, even though there was no discernible foul.

Forster dealt with the spot-kick anyway, saving from Doran.

Hitting the woodwork twice in 10 seconds, through Stokes and Van Dijk, was a reminder to Inverness of the challenge they faced, then Griffiths scored with a shot across Brill.

An Ambrose header - after which he made a point of celebrating with the departing assistant manager Johan Mjallby - and a Pukki strike completed the scoring.

It was chastening for Inverness, but a reminder of the slick assurance Celtic are capable of.

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (5)

Celtic

  • 01 Forster
  • 02 Matthews (Lustig - 69' )
  • 03 Izaguirre
  • 25 Johansen
  • 04 Ambrose Emuobo
  • 05 van Dijk
  • 08 Brown
  • 21 Mulgrew (Henderson - 72' )
  • 10 Stokes (Pukki - 71' )
  • 15 Commons
  • 28 Griffiths

Substitutes

  • 09 Samaras
  • 17 Balde
  • 20 Pukki
  • 23 Lustig
  • 24 Zaluska
  • 33 Kayal
  • 53 Henderson

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

  • 12 Brill
  • 03 Shinnie
  • 18 Tremarco
  • 08 Draper (Polworth - 79' )
  • 05 Warren Booked
  • 06 Meekings
  • 10 Doran
  • 16 Tansey
  • 07 McKay
  • 11 Ross (Christie - 69' )
  • 19 Williams

Substitutes

  • 01 Esson
  • 14 Devine
  • 20 Polworth
  • 36 Christie
Ref: Craig Charleston
Att: 45,712

Match Stats

Shots

24 10

On target

10 4

Corners

15 3

Fouls

8 10

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Celtic 6, Inverness CT 0.

90:00 +1:13 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Celtic 6, Inverness CT 0.

89:59

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

89:25

Attempt missed. Kris Commons (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

87:51

Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).

87:51

Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

84:07

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

82:04

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

80:54

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

79:54

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

79:44

Teemu Pukki (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

79:44

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

78:39 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Liam Polworth replaces Ross Draper.

77:54 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Celtic 6, Inverness CT 0. Teemu Pukki (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kris Commons.

77:14 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Celtic 5, Inverness CT 0. Efe Ambrose (Celtic) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kris Commons with a cross.

76:27

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

74:16

Attempt missed. Teemu Pukki (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

73:25

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Gary Warren.

72:23

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

72:23

Foul by Aaron Doran (Inverness CT).

71:05 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Celtic. Liam Henderson replaces Charlie Mulgrew.

70:50 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Celtic. Teemu Pukki replaces Anthony Stokes.

70:05

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.

68:17 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Ryan Christie replaces Nick Ross.

68:05 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Celtic. Mikael Lustig replaces Adam Matthews.

67:20 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Celtic 4, Inverness CT 0. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Anthony Stokes.

64:29

Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

64:29

Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

64:07

Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) hits the right post with a header from very close range.

63:51

Anthony Stokes (Celtic) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the left side of the box.

63:00

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

61:48

Attempt missed. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

60:16

Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:16

Foul by Danny Williams (Inverness CT).

58:53

Attempt missed. Ross Draper (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

58:41

Attempt saved. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top left corner.

56:36

Attempt missed. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

55:08

Penalty saved! Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the top right corner.

54:22

Penalty conceded by Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) after a foul in the penalty area.

54:22

Penalty Inverness CT. Billy McKay draws a foul in the penalty area.

53:00 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Celtic 3, Inverness CT 0. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

52:31 Booking

Booking Gary Warren (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

52:18

Penalty Celtic. Stefan Johansen draws a foul in the penalty area.

52:18

Penalty conceded by Gary Warren (Inverness CT) after a foul in the penalty area.

51:08

Foul by Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic).

51:08

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

49:36

Adam Matthews (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

49:36

Foul by Nick Ross (Inverness CT).

49:07

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Dean Brill.

47:54

Attempt missed. Ross Draper (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

47:30

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Dean Brill.

47:15

Attempt saved. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner.

45:00

Second Half begins Celtic 2, Inverness CT 0.

45:00 +2:02 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Celtic 2, Inverness CT 0.

45:00 +0:15

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

45:00 +0:15

Foul by Billy McKay (Inverness CT).

44:04 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Celtic 2, Inverness CT 0. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.

42:57

Attempt missed. Danny Williams (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

39:32

Foul by Kris Commons (Celtic).

39:32

Danny Williams (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the right wing.

39:02

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Dean Brill.

38:50

Attempt saved. Adam Matthews (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner.

37:24

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Nick Ross.

36:20

Attempt saved. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

35:23

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.

35:10

Attempt blocked. Danny Williams (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

34:39

Foul by Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic).

34:39

Nick Ross (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

34:22

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

34:22

Danny Williams (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

33:29 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Celtic 1, Inverness CT 0. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) header from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths with a cross following a corner.

31:16

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

31:06

Attempt blocked. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

29:18

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

27:51

Attempt missed. Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

27:20

Kris Commons (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

27:20

Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).

23:38

Attempt blocked. Kris Commons (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

20:38

Attempt missed. Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

19:31

Foul by Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic).

19:31

Gary Warren (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

19:10

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

17:20

Attempt saved. Carl Tremarco (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

16:47

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.

14:24

Attempt missed. Kris Commons (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

14:15

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Dean Brill.

14:04

Attempt saved. Kris Commons (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

12:57

Attempt missed. Kris Commons (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

9:07

Attempt blocked. Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

6:49

Anthony Stokes (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:49

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

5:56

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

5:21

Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

5:21

Foul by Nick Ross (Inverness CT).

4:23

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Ross Draper.

3:25

Attempt missed. Kris Commons (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

2:07

Foul by Josh Meekings (Inverness CT).

2:07

Efe Ambrose (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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