Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic6Ross CountyRoss County0

Celtic 6-0 Ross County: Neil Lennon's side return to top after dominant display

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland

Celtic scored four goals in nine second-half minutes as they thrashed Ross County and returned to the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Neil Lennon's side had slipped from the summit after losing at Livingston last time out, but a blistering performance edged them back ahead of Rangers.

Mohamed Elyounoussi scored after four minutes, but a second proved elusive despite 21 first-half shots. However, Odsonne Edouard (2), Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Elyounoussi's second sealed the win after the break.

Rangers will return to the top should they beat Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

County, meanwhile, slip to sixth place but remain within four points of Motherwell in third place.

Celtic return top in stunning fashion

Having picked up just a point from their previous two league matches, Celtic showed from the off a determination to return to the top of the Premiership with an emphatic victory.

They should have wrapped the game up by half-time, battering the visitors' goal, with Elyounoussi sidefooting an early warning into the arms of Ross Laidlaw.

It was the beginning of a busy afternoon for the County goalkeeper, who found himself picking the ball out of the net only a minute later as the Norwegian winger curled one beyond him at the end of an incisive move involving Jeremie Frimpong and Edouard.

Celtic were swarming all over their bewildered opponents, with Edouard and Elyounoussi looking particularly dangerous.

The Frenchman alone hit the target on four occasions in the opening 35 minutes, but a combination of good goalkeeping - one very good save in fact - and a Richard Foster goal-line clearance kept him from troubling the scoresheet.

Add to that a Christopher Jullien header off the line by Foster again and McGregor hitting a post at the end of another sumptuous move and County looked punch drunk. But incredibly they were still in the contest come the interval.

Edouard stats

That scenario would not last long. A matter of seconds in fact. Keith Watson made a dreadful mess of an attempted clearance and Edouard was not about to let County off lightly again, slotting the ball past the exposed Laidlaw.

And that was the cue for County's collapse. Within nine minutes they were five goals down as Edouard slipped in McGregor to score, the Frenchman headed in off the desperate lunge of Liam Fontaine and Forrest slammed Frimpong's cutback into the net.

At last Celtic eased their foot off the throat of their beleaguered opponents, but the respite was not to last as Elyounoussi nudged his second over the line after Boli Bolingoli had fired across goal.

Celtic return to the top of the table in stunning fashion.

Man of the match - Odsonne Edouard

Neil Lennon told BBC Scotland pre-match he would not welcome any January bids for his French frontman and little wonder. On this form he is unplayable and with a little luck could have had at least double his tally of two goals in the hour or so he was on the park.

But allied to his goalscoring prowess, his touch, power and pace make him the complete package.

'Pure talent on the pitch' - reaction

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "That's the most complete performance we've had since I returned here and close to the most complete I've had as Celtic manager.

"The team was outstanding and there was pure talent out on the pitch. I enjoyed it immensely."

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell: "The message at half-time was reasonably positive. The greatest disappointment for us was how we conceded the second goal and the reaction after it.

"We don't feel we dealt with the situation, the atmosphere and the quality Celtic have got."

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 67Forster
  • 30Frimpong
  • 2Jullien
  • 35Ajer
  • 23Bolingoli-Mbombo
  • 8Brown
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forBittonat 73'minutes
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forShvedat 75'minutes
  • 18Rogic
  • 27Elyounoussi
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forBayoat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gordon
  • 6Bitton
  • 10Bayo
  • 13Bauer
  • 15Hayes
  • 20Shved
  • 33Elhamed

Ross County

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 2Fraser
  • 15WatsonBooked at 35mins
  • 4Fontaine
  • 18Foster
  • 6Draper
  • 23Chalmers
  • 14MullinSubstituted forGrahamat 59'minutes
  • 20SpittalSubstituted forPatonat 76'minutes
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forSpenceat 60'minutes
  • 27Stewart

Substitutes

  • 9Mckay
  • 12Grivosti
  • 16Spence
  • 19Graham
  • 22Power
  • 24Paton
  • 25Ruddy
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
58,560

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home30
Away2
Shots on Target
Home17
Away1
Corners
Home11
Away0
Fouls
Home11
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 6, Ross County 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 6, Ross County 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

  4. Post update

    Lewis Spence (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Tomas Rogic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Ross Draper (Ross County).

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tomas Rogic with a through ball.

  8. Post update

    Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Ross Stewart (Ross County).

  10. Post update

    Offside, Ross County. Brian Graham tries a through ball, but Harrison Paton is caught offside.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nir Bitton.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Celtic).

  13. Post update

    Lewis Spence (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

  15. Post update

    Harrison Paton (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

  17. Post update

    Ross Draper (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Marcus Fraser.

  19. Post update

    Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Marcus Fraser (Ross County).