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Ross County hit by late Celtic show in 3-1 defeat at Victoria Park

Celtic's Moritz Jenz scores to make it 2-1 against Ross County.
Celtic's Moritz Jenz scores to make it 2-1 against Ross County.

Ross County suffered another late blow against Celtic who triumphed 3-1 at Victoria Park.

The Staggies were on course to secure a creditable point against the Premiership champions, after Alex Iacovitti had cancelled out Kyogo Furuhashi’s opener.

County were eager to hold out in their first home league game of the campaign, having been struck by a stoppage time Anthony Ralston goal in a meeting between the sides last season.

Although the Hoops did not leave it as late, they inflicted the same outcome on Malky Mackay’s men with a header by debutant Moritz Jenz six minutes from time followed by a late Liel Abada strike.

It denied the Staggies the chance to get off the mark for the campaign, which will be their aim when they make the trip to St Mirren next weekend.

County made two changes from the side which impressed on the opening day, despite going down 2-1 to Hearts at Tynecastle.

Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates scoring for Celtic against Ross County.

Two of the Staggies’ attacking outlets who caught the eye, Owura Edwards and Josh Sims, were sacrificed, to make way for David Cancola and Ben Paton in a more rigid setup.

County succeeded in keeping Celtic quiet in the early stages, with David Turnbull narrowly off target with a looping effort from the inside right channel in the Hoops’ only serious attempt in the opening 10 minutes.

Celtic’s pressure gradually mounted, with a weaving run into the box by Jota on 17 minutes leading to a low shot which deflected off Jack Baldwin, with the static Ross Laidlaw relieved to see it trundle past the post.

Matt O’Riley was next to try his luck with a free-kick on 21 minutes, which was comfortably held by Laidlaw.

Jota was causing problems down the right hand side, with a pinpoint cross finding Daizen Maeda, who could not direct a free header on target in the visitors’ best chance of the first half.

Jota takes on Ben Purrington.

Despite their domination of possession, the Hoops were showing some signs of slackness in their passing which allowed County to grow in encouragement.

The Staggies’ first effort came on 28 minutes when a long throw-in by Baldwin was cleared to the feet of Ross Callachan, however, he was unable to keep his strike down.

Laidlaw was seriously tested for the first time seven minutes before the interval when he showed good reflexes to parry Kyogo’s effort, with Turnbull firing the follow up wide.

O’Riley was in the thick of the goalmouth action on 43 minutes, initially being denied by an excellent block by Cancola, before he nodded wide from Jota’s return ball.

The Staggies threatened before the interval, with Alex Iacovitti powering a header over the bar from a Cancola corner.

It was the Hoops who had the final chance of the half, though, with Maeda flicking an effort goalwards to force a fine low save by Laidlaw.

Ross County boss Malky Mackay.

Mackay rotated his side at half-time, with Edwards and Victor Loturi brought on to replace Paton and Dominic Samuel.

The Staggies had held firm throughout the first half, but they were undone within just four minutes of the restart.

A move down the left saw Callum McGregor slip the ball into Jota, who in turn set up Kyogo to slot past Laidlaw from close-range.

County survived another scare moments later when O’Riley was picked out unmarked inside the box, but he directed his header straight at Laidlaw.

The Staggies restored parity within 10 minutes of going behind, however. It was a quick impact from Edwards, whose floated corner picked out the near post run of Iacovitti, with the defender’s header evading everybody as it trundled past Hart into the bottom corner.

Alex Iacovitti celebrates scoring for Ross County against Celtic.

The game began to flow from end to end, with Edwards seeing a well-struck free-kick thwarted by Hart at the second attempt.

County were dealt a blow on 69 minutes when Connor Randall limped down the tunnel after coming off second best in his own challenge on Jota. He was replaced by Callum Johnson, while George Harmon was brought on for Hiwula.

The Staggies looked to be holding firm and were causing some problems of their own, however, Celtic inflicted a decisive blow upon them six minutes from time.

A short corner was worked from Greg Taylor to Jota, whose inswinging delivery found the head of Jenz, who marked his first outing with a header beyond the helpless Laidlaw.

Celtic wrapped up the victory in stoppage time through Abada’s fine curling strike from the edge of the box.


ROSS COUNTY (4-2-3-1) – Laidlaw 6; Randall 6 (Johnson 69), Baldwin 7, Iacovitti 7, Purrington 6; Cancola 6 (White 83), Tillson 7; Callachan 6, D Samuel 5 (Edwards 46), Paton 5 (Loturi 46); Hiwula 6 (Harmon 69). Subs not used – Eastwood, Dhanda, Sims, Olaigbe.

CELTIC (4-3-3) – Hart 6; Juranovic 6, Carter-Vickers 6, Jenz 6, Taylor 6; Turnbull 6 (Giakoumakis 72), McGregor 7, O’Riley 7; Kyogo 7, Maeda 5 (Abada 46), Jota 8. Subs not used – Siegrist, Starfelt, Mooy, McCarthy, Bernabei, Forrest, Ralston.

Referee – Don Robertson

Attendance – 5,500

Man of the match: Jota