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Ross County suffer 2-0 loss to Celtic in John Hughes’ first game in charge

Ross Draper chases down Diego Laxalt.
Ross Draper chases down Diego Laxalt.

Ross County went down 2-0 to Celtic at Parkhead in John Hughes’ first game in charge of the Staggies.

A goal in each half from David Turnbull and Leigh Griffiths proved the difference between the sides, keeping the Dingwall side four points adrift at the foot of the Premiership.

There was plenty for Hughes to be encouraged about however, with the new Victoria Park boss aiming to secure his first victory at home to St Mirren on Saturday.

John Hughes.

Hughes made three changes from the side which went down 2-0 to Hamilton Accies in Stuart Kettlewell’s final game in charge on Saturday. Ross Draper, Stephen Kelly and Harry Paton were recalled, with Oli Shaw, Jordan Tillson and Billy Mckay dropping out.

Celtic were fresh from winning the Scottish Cup to complete an unprecedented quadruple treble, and Neil Lennon’s men looked in buoyant mood from the start, with Ryan Christie seeing a strike on the turn deflected wide, while Christopher Julien saw an attempted backheel blocked when the ball broke to him from a Christie corner.

County had an early glimpse of goal on eight minutes, with Ross Stewart nodding wide after being picked out at the near post by Keith Watson’s delivery.

The visitors had done well to limit Celtic’s openings in the early stages, however the Dingwall men were undone on 24 minutes. Callum McGregor found Jeremie Frimpong on the right, before he jinked past Josh Reid and pulled back for Turnbull to tuck home from close range.

David Turnbull celebrates netting against Ross County.

The Staggies were dealt a further blow 10 minutes later when Stewart was forced off injured after landing heavily, with Shaw brought on to replace him.

Shaw was involved in setting up Kelly for a strike at goal on 38 minutes, with the midfielder seeing his powerful drive held by Conor Hazard.

At the other end two minutes later, Laidlaw was called upon to grasp a deflected Odsonne Edouard shot.

Hughes made a second change at the break, with Jermaine Hylton replacing Michael Gardyne.

Celtic could have doubled their lead on 55 minutes however when Leigh Griffiths was played in by McGregor, but Alex Iacovitti got across to block the striker’s effort behind.

Christie looked to carve out a shooting opportunity just before the hour mark, sending a strike over from the edge of the box.

The Staggies were fortunate not to go two behind shortly afterwards when Iain Vigurs’ slack backpass went straight to Griffiths, with Laidlaw standing tall to make the block.

It was only temporary relief however, with the ball breaking to Christie on the right to send in a delivery which Griffiths was on hand to nod into the far corner.

Laidlaw denied McGregor a third goal with an excellent save on 70 minutes,

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