Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic2Ross CountyRoss County0

Celtic 2-0 Ross County: Griffiths on target in comfortable win

By Colin MoffatBBC Scotland

Leigh Griffiths remains "an asset" for Celtic, says manager Neil Lennon after the striker scored on his first Premiership start of the season.

The Scotland international looped in a well-placed header to add to a first-half strike from David Turnbull as Ross County were swept aside.

Celtic stay 16 points behind Rangers, having played three fewer matches.

"It's a good 80 minutes into his legs and he could have had a hat-trick," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"Griff is never short of confidence. He needs to get sharper and he'll say 'well, you need to play me'. I think the more he plays and stays fit he'll be an asset for us going forward."

Reaction & as it happened

The clamour to remove Lennon reached fever pitch following a League Cup defeat at home against County last month, but the pressure on the Celtic boss has eased in recent weeks.

Sunday's dramatic Scottish Cup success completed a quadruple treble of trophies and the champions are now five games unbeaten in all competitions.

There were further signs of improvement in this one-sided contest, too. Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard were paired together up front, with the Frenchman given a freer role to go looking for the ball.

Both were lively, with Edouard shooting just wide in the first half and Griffiths squandering two good chances shortly before he got his goal.

That arrived on the hour when he was given time to steer home a delivery from the right from Ryan Christie.

Griffiths, who scored as an extra-time substitute and tucked in a shoot-out penalty against Hearts, had earlier delayed a good shooting opportunity, while Ross Laidlaw saved after an appalling back-pass from Iain Vigurs presented Griffiths with a one-on-one.

The breakthrough had come after 24 minutes when Jeremie Frimpong turned Josh Reid inside out before his cut-back from the bye-line was turned in by Turnbull.

Bottom-of-the-table County battled diligently under new manager John Hughes but seldom threatened.

The visitors spent most of the time defending their own penalty area but did have one good sight of goal early on, when Ross Stewart, who went off injured before half-time, glanced a header wide.

Man-of-the-match - David Turnbull

David Turnbull steers in the opening goal for Celtic
Turnbull steered in the opening goal and was constantly probing for openings in the final third

What did we learn?

Griffiths and Edouard have proven their prowess as a partnership before and, while the former was undoubtedly rusty, he got a valuable 80-minutes under his belt and tucked away his fifth goal of the season with a calm assurance.

With County sitting deep, Turnbull and Christie were busy as the champions looked for gaps in a packed defence, although some of the play out from the back remains a bit ponderous.

The home defence were rarely troubled but a clean sheet will be welcome and there were no signs of the panic witnessed at Hampden on Sunday and in several other outings this season.

What did they say?

'There was a good zest about us' - Celtic boss Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "It's another step in the right direction. I thought we should have won the game by a lot more but I'm very pleased with the freshness the boys who came in today brought to the team. The was a good zest about us."

Ross County manager John Hughes: "Our organisation, the distances between players, our willingness to get stuck in and fight for the cause; I think that was evident. The disappointment is I'd like to have created more chances, laid a glove on them a little bit, and I'd like to have been better on the ball."

'It all starts with hard work' - County boss Hughes

What next?

Celtic visit Hamilton Academical on Boxing Day (15:00 GMT), while Ross County are at home to St Mirren (15:00) looking to end a run of 11 league games without victory.

Player of the match

LaidlawRoss Laidlaw

with an average of 6.67

Celtic

  1. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull
    Average rating

    5.85

  2. Squad number9Player nameGriffiths
    Average rating

    5.43

  3. Squad number12Player nameSoro
    Average rating

    5.42

  4. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor
    Average rating

    5.36

  5. Squad number19Player nameJohnston
    Average rating

    5.33

  6. Squad number17Player nameChristie
    Average rating

    5.32

  7. Squad number65Player nameHazard
    Average rating

    5.26

  8. Squad number30Player nameFrimpong
    Average rating

    5.24

  9. Squad number35Player nameAjer
    Average rating

    5.19

  10. Squad number93Player nameLaxalt
    Average rating

    5.15

  11. Squad number18Player nameRogic
    Average rating

    5.13

  12. Squad number2Player nameJullien
    Average rating

    5.00

  13. Squad number22Player nameEdouard
    Average rating

    4.95

  14. Squad number21Player nameNtcham
    Average rating

    4.93

  15. Squad number10Player nameAjeti
    Average rating

    4.75

Ross County

  1. Squad number1Player nameLaidlaw
    Average rating

    6.67

  2. Squad number43Player nameReid
    Average rating

    6.63

  3. Squad number5Player nameMorris
    Average rating

    6.59

  4. Squad number18Player nameKelly
    Average rating

    6.58

  5. Squad number8Player nameShaw
    Average rating

    6.57

  6. Squad number24Player namePaton
    Average rating

    6.55

  7. Squad number6Player nameDraper
    Average rating

    6.55

  8. Squad number16Player nameIacovitti
    Average rating

    6.51

  9. Squad number11Player nameVigurs
    Average rating

    6.48

  10. Squad number15Player nameWatson
    Average rating

    6.46

  11. Squad number7Player nameGardyne
    Average rating

    6.42

  12. Squad number27Player nameStewart
    Average rating

    6.42

  13. Squad number14Player nameHylton
    Average rating

    6.18

  14. Squad number22Player nameTillson
    Average rating

    5.28

  15. Squad number9Player nameMckay
    Average rating

    5.09

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-1-3-2

  • 65Hazard
  • 30Frimpong
  • 2Jullien
  • 35Ajer
  • 93Laxalt
  • 12Soro
  • 17ChristieSubstituted forRogicat 72'minutes
  • 14TurnbullSubstituted forNtchamat 71'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 9GriffithsSubstituted forAjetiat 81'minutes
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forJohnstonat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Barkas
  • 3Taylor
  • 6Bitton
  • 10Ajeti
  • 11Klimala
  • 18Rogic
  • 19Johnston
  • 21Ntcham
  • 27Elyounoussi

Ross County

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 15Watson
  • 5Morris
  • 16Iacovitti
  • 43Reid
  • 24Paton
  • 6DraperSubstituted forTillsonat 76'minutes
  • 11VigursSubstituted forMckayat 76'minutes
  • 18Kelly
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forHyltonat 45'minutes
  • 27StewartSubstituted forShawat 34'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Tremarco
  • 8Shaw
  • 9Mckay
  • 14Hylton
  • 22Tillson
  • 25Donaldson
  • 31Munro
  • 44Wright
  • 46Williamson
Referee:
Euan Anderson

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home24
Away5
Shots on Target
Home7
Away3
Corners
Home10
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away5

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 2, Ross County 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Ross County 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jermaine Hylton (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ismaila Soro (Celtic).

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Oli Shaw (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Billy Mckay with a headed pass.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Michael Johnston.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Ross County. Stephen Kelly tries a through ball, but Callum Morris is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic).

  10. Post update

    Oli Shaw (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Albian Ajeti replaces Leigh Griffiths.

  12. Post update

    Offside, Celtic. Olivier Ntcham tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Michael Johnston (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tomas Rogic.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

  15. Post update

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

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Jordan Tillson replaces Ross Draper.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Billy Mckay replaces Iain Vigurs.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

  19. Post update

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

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jeremie Frimpong.

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