John Hughes’ Ross County have pulled out a huge result in the Premiership relegation battle by beating Celtic for the second time this season.
Jordan White scored the only goal of the game as the Staggies moved themselves out the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory over the fallen champions, following on from their 2-0 League Cup success last year.
The home team started brightly when Tony Andreu had an early pop at goal after Celtic gave it away cheaply from a throw-in. He managed to test Scott Bain down to his left but the shot didn’t have enough venom to beat the Scotsman.
Celtic should have been one goal to the good after a high press led to Alex Iacovitti doing too much with the ball at his feet. He gave it away to Ryan Christie who flashed a cross across the area but no arriving Celtic players were able to turn it home.
Shortly afterwards, a brilliant knockdown from White right into Michael Gardyne’s feet allowed Blair Spittal to fire a strike low and hard at the Celtic goal. It came so close to finding the net, but a great diving save from Bain kept him out.
Christie missed the chance to score a certain goal when he pounced on a cross from Odsonne Edouard. The former Inverness man will be wondering how he managed to put the ball over the crossbar.
Harry Paton was fouled by deep inside the Celtic half on the right-hand side. Paton was the man to whip it in, delivered a teasing cross to the back post. Scott Brown lost his man in White and he slammed home a powerful header to give the home side a shock lead.
Mohamed Elyounoussi thought he had his goal when he glanced a header toward goal, but a world class save from Ross Laidlaw denied Celtic the point and earned Hughes a huge, huge three points. Here are three things we learned.
From minute one, Ross County’s defensive shape was excellent. Despite playing a back four, the County players shut off the space excellently, making sure all the football was being played in front of them. Despite one shaky moment, Laidlaw put in a commendable shift and made many crucial saves.
Lack of urgency
Until the last 10 minutes of the match, Celtic showed a lack of urgency and desire. They moved the ball really well, but they didn’t have that cutting edge to break the lines of resolute County. This was down to a spirited Staggies performance, however, Celtic should have did more to win this match as County persevered.
Jordan earns MVP
White was Ross County’s man of the match. He won nearly every aerial duel, and his target man play was sensational. He challenged the Celtic defence for every ball. He got his just reward for his efforts when he grabbed his second of the season, with a fantastic header. Can this be the catalyst County needs to stay up?
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