Celtic secured all three points in the Highlands with a 2-0 victory over Ross County, regaining their nine point lead at the top of the cinch Premiership and taking another leap forward towards the title.
The visitors dominated the majority of the match, but both goals came in injury time of each half with Jota converting a late first half penalty before Alexandro Bernabei lashed home his first goal for the Hoops to secure the points.
Ange Postecoglou’s men were looking to make it 23 games unbeaten in their title hunt, whilst Ross County were in a battle of their own, to avoid relegation at the opposite end of the table.
Malky Mackay handed a debut to 16-year-old Dylan Smith in central defence, whilst Celtic flexed their extensive squad muscles as Japanese international Tomoki Iwata made his first league start, whilst Matt O’Riley regained his place in the absence of Aaron Mooy and Reo Hatate.
Iwata almost marked the occasion with an assist as he found compatriot Kyogo Furuhashi in the box, where the forward spun his marker but could only direct his shot wide.
With eight minutes left of the half Jota passed up a golden opportunity to finally break the deadlock. The Portuguese winger worked space just inside the area before blazing his shot high over the bar as the score remained goalless, despite the visitors first half dominance.
Greg Taylor struck the post late in the half before Celtic were awarded a penalty via VAR. The ball was judged to have struck Alex Iacovitti on the arm, allowing Jota to step up and convert to give the league leaders a narrow advantage at the break.
The hosts didn’t let the late goal in the half dampen their spirits and almost got on level terms 10 minutes after the break, with George Harmon’s goal bound header stopped by Joe Hart.
With an hour gone Celtic should have made it two. Daizen Maeda got the better of debutant Smith, before squaring the ball to Kyogo who somehow managed to place his shot wide.
Mackay’s men continued to search for an equaliser deep into the second half but they were almost undone again as the game ticked over into stoppage time when Jota peeled a shot off the crossbar.
The points were sealed five minutes into injury time though as Bernabei unleashed a rocket from the edge of the box to notch his first goal for his side.