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Ross County valiantly battle in vain with 10 men against Celtic after James Brown's early red card

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County 0

Celtic 3 (Turnbull, Palma, Forrest)

Ross County battled valiantly against Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, but came away empty-handed after playing the vast majority of the match with 10 men.

A red card for James Brown early on gave them an uphill battle, but they frustrated Celtic for long spells to stay in contention of getting a result.

In the end, it was a David Turnbull strike right at the end of the first half that set Celtic on their way, before substitute Luis Palma made sure of the points in the final 15 minutes and James Forrest put the icing on the cake.

County tried to start the game positively against their much-fancied opponents, and had the first sight of goal when James Brown picked out Jordan White in the middle, heading wide of the mark.

James Brown's red card gave the Staggies an even bigger mountain to climb early on. Picture: Ken Macpherson
James Brown's red card gave the Staggies an even bigger mountain to climb early on. Picture: Ken Macpherson

There was then a reprieve for the Staggies when Celtic had the ball in the back of the net, only for a foul against White to rule it out.

The hosts suffered a monumental blow just 10 minutes in, though, when Brown was sent off.

The Irishman had been booked for a late challenge on Hyunjun Yang, which was then upgraded after a check by the video assistant referee when it was seen that Brown had connected studs up with Yang's ankle.

From there, much of the match was played with everyone bar Joe Hart within 30 yards of the County goal.

Still, they defended valiantly for the most part, until Hyeongyu Oh slid in to connect with Daizen Maeda's cross – only for the latter to be offside and County to get another let off.

With the numerical advantage, Ross Laidlaw was needed on multiple occasions to intervene and keep the scores level.

It would not quite last until the half-time break, as David Turnbull finally scored a goal that counted for Celtic, picking out the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

The second half largely picked up where the first left off, with Laidlaw quickly needed to prevent Oh scoring at his near post.

There was concern for the Staggies stopper when he required treatment just after the hour mark having pulled off a brilliant double save after substitute Kyogo Furuhashi has excellently controlled the ball inside County's box, but he was able to continue.

That was much to County's relief too, as he continued to impress, getting his fingertips to a curling long-range effort from Furuhashi inside the final 15 minute.

There was nothing anyone could do for Celtic's second goal shortly afterwards, though, as Luis Palma expertly found the top corner from 25 yards out.

Celtic were not finished there either, as Palma would turn creator for their third of the afternoon – his looping crossed headed in by James Forrest at close-range.

With the clock ticking down and the points in the bag, the final few minutes were about damage limitation for the Staggies, and while they would leave the Global Energy Stadium empty-handed there will be reason to be optimistic going into a kind run of matches in the build up to the festive period.

Ross County: Laidlaw, Brown, Baldwin, Leak, Harmon (Purrington 46), Randall, Allardice, Loturi (High 81), Dhanda (Turner 68), White (Nightingale 12), Murray (Samuel 46).

Subs not used: Munro, Sheaf, High, Brophy, Smith.

Celtic: Hart, Taylor (Forrest 81), Scales, Yang, Turnbull (Furuhashi 60), Oh, Carter-Vickers, Bernardo (Holm 60), Maeda (Palma 60), McGregor (Iwata 81), Ralston.

Subs not used: Bain, Johnston, Phillips, Iwata, O'Riley, Forrest.

Referee: David Munro

VAR: Andrew Dallas

Attendance: 6544

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