Celtic run riot at Ross County
A first-half goal glut helped Celtic on their way to a 5-0 demolition of bottom-of-the-table Ross County on Saturday to ease the pressure on beleaguered Hoops boss Ronny Deila.
Glasgow: A first-half goal glut helped Celtic on their way to a 5-0 demolition of bottom-of-the-table Ross County on Saturday to ease the pressure on beleaguered Hoops boss Ronny Deila.
John Guidetti started the scoring at Victoria Park in the 11th minute before crossing for Callum McGregor to slam home a second three minutes later.
Anthony Stokes curled home a third on the half-hour mark with on-loan Manchester City defender Jason Denayer grabbing a fourth in the 36th minute.
Irish striker Stokes added a fifth 10 minutes after the break as the Hoops ran riot. The win, only marred by a nasty injury to defender Emilio Izaguirre, moves Celtic up to third in the table, six points behind leaders Hamilton Academical, albeit with a game in hand.
After their loss at home to Hamilton before the international break which saw the defending champions slump to sixth in the Scottish Premiership table, many pundits viewed the match in Dingwall as a must-win for Deila, who has enjoyed a torrid start to his Celtic career.
Celtic captain Scott Brown accused his teammates of "hiding" in his post-match analysis of the Hamilton defeat and his words seemed to have fired the Hoops players up, with the Glasgow giants coming out of the blocks flying.
The first half rout started in the 11th minute. A Stokes free-kick into a crowded penalty box was headed on by Charlie Mulgrew before landing perfectly for Guidetti to slide in and slam home from close range past Mark Brown.
The Ross County `keeper was picking the ball out of his net again just three minutes later. Stefan Johansen played a beautifully lofted pass to Guidetti down the inside right channel and the Swedish striker squared the ball for McGregor to rifle home on his return from injury.
Johansen was also at the heart of the third goal as he set up Stokes to score on the half-hour mark. The Ross County defence parted as the Norwegian midfielder drove at them and he sent a weighted pass in to the path of Stokes who curled his first-time effort into the bottom corner of the net.
Ross County barely had time to recover before the Hoops forced a fourth past Brown in the 36th minute. The `keeper made a good save to stop Mikael Lustig`s header from sneaking in but the County defence failed to clear the danger and the ball fell to Denayer, who rifled the rebound into the roof of the net.
Stokes added a fifth in the 56th minute, the Irish striker picking up a pass 25 yards out and, with no one in the Ross County side showing any urgency to close him down, he fired in a fierce dipping shot that went in off the post.
The hosts looked shell-shocked but came close to a consolation goal after 70 minutes when Michael Gardyne, in his third spell with the club, sent a shot from 20 yards out crashing off the post.
Brown then had to be alert at the other end to block an effort from McGregor when the Celtic winger found himself one-on-one with the `keeper.