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Celtic prove too good for Ross County as defending champions take all three points from Dingwall

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County 1 (Stewart)

Celtic 4 (Christie x2, Rogic, Johnston)

Ross County's winless run was extended to nine games with a 4-1 defeat to Celtic in Dingwall.

Former Inverness Caledonian Thistle star Ryan Christie made sure Celtic took a 2-1 lead into half time after Ross Stewart had equalised for the Staggies.

But after a quiet start to the second period, two more goals from Tom Rogic and Michael Johnston condemned a battling County to another heavy defeat against the Scottish champions.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness.
Ross County(0) v Rangers(4). 30.10.19.
Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(0) v Rangers(4). 30.10.19. Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell.

Celtic started the game on top, controlling possession and dictating the tempo.

But tough they seemed on top, Nathan Baxter in the County net was not forced into too much action.

He was nearly taken by surprise from a free kick in the seventh minute, when Ryan Christie's set-piece from an extremely wide position on the right wing crashed off the near post, but that was cleared without any further danger.

They would come back again though, and the Hoops would take the lead after another dead-ball situation.

A corner led to a bit of a scramble in the Staggies' penalty area, and when Keith Watson took down Lewis Morgan the referee pointed to the spot.

Christie stepped up, only to see his penalty saved by Baxter, but he got to the rebound first and found the net at the second time of asking.

Perhaps with memories of October's easy 6-0 win over County at Celtic Park, the visitors did not look to immediately press home their advantage.

But that allowed County back into the game, and they won a free kick themselves in a good position as the half reached its midway stage.

Jeremie Frimpong was shown a yellow card for taking out Ross Stewart, who looked to have stolen a march on the defender in a counter attack.

Josh Mullin then swung the free kick in towards the back post, where Stewart was on hand to nod the ball into the net.

The hosts seemed to settle into the game after that, forcing Celtic's defence into making some errors and looking like the side on the front foot.

That would change five minutes before the interval though, when Christie was played through the middle and with only Baxter to beat coolly restored Celtic's advantage.

A slow start to the second period saw a distinct lack of action in front of goal, but Celtic did threaten to extend their lead on the hour mark when Callum McGregor was denied by Baxter's left-hand post.

The visitors would finally get a third goal through Tom Rogic in the 68th minute.

With a handful of attacking options in the box, Celtic just kept passing the ball on to the next one until the Australian had the space to find the bottom corner, despite the best efforts of Stewart sliding in trying to make the block.

There was a controversial moment with just over five minutes left on the clock when Stewart found the net for the second time, only for a late offside flag to deny him.

He looked on, but with the ball being played towards Brian Graham who was standing in an offside position the referee pulled play back, and the goal did not count.

Graham then had a chance to score himself a minute later, but his shot was straight at Celtic keeper Fraser Forster.

Another goal did not come for the Staggies, but they can at least take some encouragement from the desire that the players showed all match, a far cry from when they folded in the return match.

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