Celtic bounced back from their Old Firm defeat with a two-nil victory over Ross County which should shift any remaining doubts of Celtic’s ability to shift the highland club. Neil Lennon’s club was back on form with this game and Lennon’s shift of squad to include players such as Anthony Stokes and Joe Ledley.
The partnership of Hooper and Stokes proved effective with Hooper scoring an early goal in the thirteenth minute of the match. The other goal of the match came early in the second half, an own goal from Ross County’s Tom Boyd. Hooper and Stokes once again were an excellent partnership, although most credit in this regard needs to be given to goal scorer, Hooper. Whilst later substitutions did not score, they do not deserve too much criticism in this regard as it is difficult to make an impact later into games and the game was already a settled victory for the away side.
Celtic’s midfield proved effective in this game, linking up with the strikers well and controlling the game more than they did in the Old Firm game. Of course, this is to be expected given the standard of the two teams they were playing, but cup games are the type of game in which surprises can occur, as a few SPL teams are already aware of and it is good that Celtic have managed to avoid this. Players such as Ledley and Kayal provided a strong midfield for Celtic, Kayal once again demonstrating that he has a certain amount of leadership capacity that serves him well as a temporary Celtic captain.
Ross County had a few attempts at goal, however they were few and far between. The defence was good although it wasn’t tested much as Celtic dominated the game, especially after the early stages of the game.
The first goal seemed to settle Celtic’s confidence and, especially in the second half of the game, it was clear that Celtic would be overall victors.
Celtic have been drawn with Hibernian in the quarter finals of the Scottish league cup today and the Edinburgh club will be a slightly stronger challenge for Neil Lennon’s side. However, I have every confidence that Celtic will be capable of proving their strength in this game. Celtic’s victory against Ross County will have re-installed a certain amount of confidence in the squad which will hopefully lead to a victory against Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the weekend.