Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic5KilmarnockKilmarnock1

Celtic 5-1 Kilmarnock: Brendan Rodgers' side depose visitors from summit

By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland at Celtic Park

Celtic responded to talk of a title challenge by Kilmarnock by annihilating Steve Clarke's side 5-1 to return to the top of the Scottish Premiership.

The Ayrshire club led the division at kick-off but conceded four first-half goals as Celtic flexed their muscles.

James Forrest, Odsonne Edouard, Mikael Lustig and Ryan Christie scored for the champions as the visitors folded.

Eammon Brophy pulled one back after Rory McKenzie was tripped, but Forrest added his second to complete the rout.

Kilmarnock slip to second place and trail Celtic by two points, having played two games more. They will drop to third on Sunday should Rangers avoid defeat at Dundee.

Champions exert authority in devastating opening

Kilmarnock had conceded just 12 goals in 16 games this term, but shipped four in 45 minutes as Celtic exerted their authority from the off. The tempo was high as the champions flew at their visitors.

Emilio Izaguirre - in for Kieran Tierney, who had a slight groin injury - swung in a cross for Forrest to open the scoring and the goal seemed to energise the fans and Celtic never looked back.

They made it 2-0 as Tom Rogic beautifully cushioned a through ball into the path of Edouard, who made no mistake.

Lustig converted from close range to make it 3-0, before Christie put the seal on an outstanding first-half performance with a sublime free kick to make it 4-0 at the break.

How disappointing this must have all been for a Kilmarnock side that had dominated the headlines after taking top spot in the Premiership midweek.

Only the most optimistic Rugby Park fan would have dreamed of a comeback, even when Brophy scored from the penalty spot to make it 4-1 after McKenzie was felled by Filip Benkovic.

But in truth, Celtic could have won by more. Forrest made it 5-1, hit a post, and had a couple of penalty claims. Scott Sinclair also hit the woodwork as Celtic crushed the Kilmarnock uprising.

Ryan Christie's free-kick was his seventh goal in 10 games
Ryan Christie's free-kick was his seventh goal in 10 games

'Celtic show up when it matters again' - analysis

Take nothing away from Celtic, they were superb. But this result also throws into focus just how well Kilmarnock have done in winning two and drawing two of the four previous games between the sides. It was also a reminder of just how difficult it will be for any club to challenge the established order of power in Scottish football.

This underlined the sense that Celtic really do show up when it matters. Rodgers will be hoping that now happens again on Thursday in the crucial Europa League match against RB Salzburg.

The only crumb of comfort for Kilmarnock is that their upcoming fixtures offer a chance to get things back on track - all four games before the winter break come against sides in the bottom half of the table.

'It was an outstanding team performance' - reaction

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: "We knew we had to play at a high level to get a result. The players deserve a huge amount of credit because of the quality of the football we played.

"When we got the other side of Kilmarnock's midfield our quality in the wide areas and in the centre got us some fantastic goals. All in all it was an outstanding team performance.

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke: "I thought Celtic were terrific first half. They were sharper than us and a little bit brighter.

"A big factor in that would be that they had seven fresh players all rested during the week and good to go and I'm flogging my back four. Now we can give them a rest and get ready to go again."

Tiredness cost Kilmarnock - Clarke

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 5SimunovicBooked at 9mins
  • 32Benkovic
  • 3IzaguirreBooked at 75mins
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest
  • 18RogicSubstituted forNtchamat 62'minutes
  • 17ChristieSubstituted forBrownat 77'minutes
  • 11Sinclair
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forGriffithsat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Hendry
  • 8Brown
  • 9Griffiths
  • 12Gamboa
  • 15Hayes
  • 21Ntcham
  • 29Bain

Kilmarnock

Formation 4-5-1

  • 26Bachmann
  • 2O'DonnellBooked at 31mins
  • 16Boyd
  • 17Findlay
  • 3Taylor
  • 27TshibolaSubstituted forBrophyat 45'minutes
  • 6PowerBooked at 53mins
  • 8Dicker
  • 7McKenzie
  • 11Jones
  • 19StewartBooked at 54minsSubstituted forNdjoliat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1MacDonald
  • 9Boyd
  • 12Ndjoli
  • 18Waters
  • 22Millen
  • 25Brophy
  • 29Burke
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
58,457

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home20
Away9
Shots on Target
Home11
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home14
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 5, Kilmarnock 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 5, Kilmarnock 1.

  3. Post update

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

  4. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock).

  5. Post update

    Foul by Jozo Simunovic (Celtic).

  6. Post update

    Mikael Ndjoli (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Mikael Lustig.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Mikael Lustig.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

  11. Post update

    Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Mikael Ndjoli replaces Greg Stewart.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Scott Brown replaces Ryan Christie.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

  15. Booking

    Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).

  17. Post update

    Greg Stewart (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Stephen O'Donnell.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

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