Celtic regained their place at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership with a sizzling 6-0 rout of Ross County at Parkhead
Attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi fired the home side ahead from 16 yards in the fourth minute and the champions pummelled their opponents for the rest of the half but somehow failed to add to their lead.
However, four goals in 10 minutes at the start of the second half from Odsonne Edouard, midfielder Callum McGregor and a header from the French striker which went in off Staggies defender Liam Fontaine, blew away the Staggies.
Hoops winger James Forrest scooped in a fifth in the 54 minute with Elyounoussi making it six from close range in the 72nd minute to leave the men from Dingwall devastated.
The Hoops had taken only one point from their previous six before the international break to trail Old Firm rivals Rangers by two points but this was Neil Lennon’s side back to their best, albeit Steven Gerrard’s men get their chance to go back to the summit when they face Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.
Jeremie Frimpong, the 18-year-old Dutch full-back, started his first league game – Tom Rogic was in for the suspended Ryan Christie – as the champions began the match in whirlwind fashion.
Elyounoussi had already had a drive saved by County keeper Ross Laidlaw when, following another slick move, he guided the ball in to the far corner of the net.
The Staggies, with Josh Mullin and Ross Draper back in the team, had to go into survival mode.
Laidlaw made saves from Edouard and James Forrest before a low drive from the French striker following a McGregor corner was cleared off the line by former Rangers defender Richard Foster.
Edouard was again denied by Laidlaw after he barged his way into the Highlanders’ box, with Elyounoussi missing the target from the rebound.
From another Celtic corner, Foster cleared a header from defender Christopher Jullien off the line and the Highlanders breathed again.
Moments later, a flowing move involving Edouard, Boli Bolingoli and Elyounoussi ended with McGregor smacking the post with a shot and Edouard knocking the loose ball wide, before he again tested the over-worked Laidlaw with an effort.
However, Celtic made sure there would be no nervy second-half as they blitzed County from the beginning.
Within a minute Edouard took advantage of a mistake by County defender Keith Watson to slip in his 10th of the season before he set up McGregor to run through and confidently knock in a third moments later.
Then, in the 50th minute Edouard’s header from Forrest’s cross hit Fontaine on its way in and the crowd was still catching its breath when Frimpong’s cut-back was lifted high into the net by Forrest from six yards.
Vakoun Issouf Bayo replaced Edouard in the 65th minute and from his cross Bolingoli’s shot was redirected in by Elyounoussi to complete a sparkling performance, with it taking another good save by Laidlaw to stop Bayo making it seven when he broke clear late in the match.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.