Scottish Premiership

Scottish Premiership: Kilmarnock 0-1 Celtic

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Sport Scotland at Rugby Park

Stuart Armstrong's first-half goal was enough to guide Celtic past Kilmarnock and stretch their lead to 13 points at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Armstrong powered onto Moussa Dembele's through-ball and slotted past Jamie MacDonald a minute before the interval.

Mikael Lustig's drive struck the outside of Jamie MacDonald's post after the break, with Lee Clark's industrious hosts struggling to carve out clear-cut opportunities.

Killie remain seventh in the table.

All change

Celtic's green and white hoops made way for third-strip pink on a freezing cold night in Ayrshire and there were plenty of personnel changes too for both sides.

The last man to score domestically against Celtic, Souleymane Coulibaly, started on the bench as Kilmarnock boss Clark decided to take a more "pragmatic" approach to his team selection.

The 6-1 thumping they suffered the last time the two sides met perhaps helping to focus the mind. The Albanian striker, Flo Bojaj, was tasked with leading the line.

Two of Celtic's changes were at the back, where Dedryck Boyata made his first start under Brendan Rodgers. Callum McGregor provided the left-back cover in the absence of Kieran Tierney and Emilio Izaguirre.

The most notable absentee was up-front, however, with striker Leigh Griffiths suffering from "tightness in his hamstring" after Scotland's 3-0 defeat to England last Friday.

First-half fight

The visitors started by knocking the ball around with the swagger of an unbeaten side well clear of their domestic rivals.

However, Kilmarnock started to find their feet and looked increasingly threatening down the left, where Greg Taylor was enjoying plenty of possession.

As ever, though, when Celtic poured forward, they looked dangerous. Erik Sviatchenko watched his diving header drift just over the bar and MacDonald provided a spectacular save when James Forrest's curling effort looked destined for the top corner.

As chances came and went, the home side grew in confidence, but as they headed towards the break with their tails firmly in the air, Armstrong got the break of the ball from Dembele's stab through and provided the sucker-punch with a close-range shot that flew past McDonald.

Celtic defensive record
Injury time notwithstanding, Celtic have gone almost 700 minutes without conceding a domestic goal

Second-half tight

When McGregor had an early chance saved in the second half, it looked as if Celtic might well find another gear and put the game to bed, but Kilmarnock were having none of it.

The home side gave everything and pushed a sloppy Celtic all the way.

Boyata was forced to clear off the line and Adam Frizzell also came close.

As the clock ticked, Celtic pushed. Lustig hit the post, but the momentum was with Kilmarnock. They sensed an equaliser, but it didn't come and Celtic march on with yet another clean sheet.

Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark: : "I'm disappointed for the players - I thought they were terrific.

"I thought the game plan was really strong, defensively we've done great - one lapse and Celtic have scored.

"We grew into the game as an attacking force and second half we played a lot more on the front foot and created our own chances.

"If my players deliver that type of performance in the seven games in 28 days in December, we'll give ourselves a great opportunity to put ourselves in a good position in the league.

"Overall, my emotion is pride in my players' performance, because we were depleted."

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: "I thought first half we played very well. Our patience and quality on a difficult surface was good. We created some chances; it took us a bit of time until we got the goal, and it was a great finish from Stuart (Armstrong).

"At 1-0, you have to ensure you're defensively strong and we were.

"We gave away a couple of needless free kicks, and need to manage that side a bit better, but in the main it was a great victory for us on the back of an international break, on astroturf, in what is a difficult place."



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1MacDonald
  • 27Hendrie
  • 5Boyle
  • 16Boyd
  • 24Taylor
  • 8DickerBooked at 63minsSubstituted forMcFadzeanat 89'minutes
  • 3SmithBooked at 75mins
  • 21Frizzell
  • 7McKenzie
  • 11JonesSubstituted forCoulibalyat 78'minutes
  • 20BojajSubstituted forTysonat 58'minutes


  • 6Smith
  • 12Tyson
  • 14McFadzean
  • 18Adams
  • 19Coulibaly
  • 31Mackay
  • 36Wilson


Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 20Boyata
  • 28Sviatchenko
  • 27RobertsSubstituted forRogicat 66'minutes
  • 8BrownBooked at 90mins
  • 14S ArmstrongBooked at 72mins
  • 42McGregor
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forBittonat 85'minutes
  • 10Dembele
  • 11SinclairBooked at 41mins


  • 2K Touré
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 6Bitton
  • 12Gamboa
  • 17Christie
  • 18Rogic
  • 24de Vries
Don Robertson

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamCeltic
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Kilmarnock 0, Celtic 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 0, Celtic 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Nathan Tyson (Kilmarnock).

  4. Post update

    Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Rory McKenzie.

  6. Booking

    Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Greg Taylor (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Callum McFadzean replaces Gary Dicker.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock).

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Nathan Tyson (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Erik Sviatchenko (Celtic).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces James Forrest.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Dedryck Boyata.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is blocked.

  18. Post update

    Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

  20. Post update

    Souleymane Coulibaly (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 18th November 2016

As It Stood

5St Johnstone135441715219
6Inverness CT133551924-514
8Partick Thistle123451517-213
12Ross County132561023-1311
View full Scottish Premiership table

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