Ross County put in a workmanlike shift against Celtic in Dingwall but it wasn’t enough as they were beaten 4-1
Celtic piled the pressure on from the start and the Staggies resistance was broken early. Ryan Christie knocked the ball into an empty net just after ten minutes following a good penalty save from Nathan Baxter.
County got themselves level with a brilliant header from Ross Stewart following an equally good ball in from Josh Mullin. The Hoops were back in front before half time though, again through Christie. It was all over in the second half as Tom Rogic and Mikey Johnston added to the Hoops tally. The result leaves County in eighth after 15 games.
Here are three things we learned.
Home baptism of fire for Baxter
Baxter only made his County debut last week against St Mirren after a troublesome injury kept him on the sidelines following his summer move from Chelsea. On his Dingwall debut, there was no room for error.
He was met with the full force of Celtic’s formidable attack and did well when called upon. He saved an early penalty, commanded the box well minus a few blips and made several smart stops.
Under immense pressure, the young keeper faired pretty well.
County respond well to early setback
Few would have expected County to take anything from this game but an early away goal didn’t help their cause. County fought back though in spirited fashion.
Celtic’s goal was a wakeup call and it got Stuart Kettlewell and Steve Ferguson’s side motoring. Stewart had them level and they made a real game of it from there.
Their goal was a rush of adrenalin for them that allowed County to challenge Celtic until they eventually were opened up in the second 45 under relentless pressure.
Ross County learning from the Celtic past
This game was a stark contrast to the 6-0 meeting in Celtic’s favour the last time these two met. County were open in Glasgow and tried to play through Celtic, which didn’t end well.
In Dingwall though lessons were learned. Whilst there were still glimpses of good play, County were much more aggressive in their approach and were on top of Celtic with a high press when they had the ball.
A new approach suited the Highland side and troubled Celtic in spells. The game as a contest benefitted from this as County pushed Celtic up until the Hoops scored their third and belief started to fade.