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Brendan Rodgers rang the changes but it was a familiar pattern as Celtic went eight points clear at the top of the table after a game that grew increasingly comfortable for the Parkhead side in Dingwall.

Ross County were dealt a numerical disadvantage with the dismissal of James Brown just ten minutes in after he lunged into a high challenge on Yang Hyun-Ju with Celtic exacting full advantage as they penned their hosts in.

It took until the cusp of the break before they got their reward with David Turnbull breaking Ross County’s resistance before Luis Palma and James Forrest supplemented the scoreline in the second period.

Forrest made his own little bit of history having not netted in 15 successive top flight campaigns for Celtic, a considerable return for a player who has not always enjoyed the acclaim his stats would merit.

Rodgers rested Kyogo Furuhashi, Matt O’Riley and Alistair Johnston rested as he looked to freshen up the squad with one eye on this week’s Champions League game away to Atletico Madrid.

Despite the early nature of the lunchtime kick-off and in the grip of a chilly November fog, the  early indications were that it had lent Celtic an energy and enthusiasm as they came swiftly out the traps.

Liam Scales had an effort chopped off in the opening stages after Oh was judged to have climbed over the top of Jordan White in the build-up, a call that frustrated Brendan Rodgers.

“We should have had a goal before we took the lead…I don’t know where the foul was and VAR took an eternity,” he said.  “The offside looked close. I would have to see them again. I just felt it took an eternity for VAR. They said offside was very close but I haven’t seen it back. The other one, two guys, two defenders jump for the ball and I don’t know where the foul is.
“Credit to County because they defended well, made it difficult for us, defended man-to-man. But I was pleased at the guys who came in, they gave us great energy at the beginning. The guys who came on gave us extra energy and made an impact.”

Brown’s dismissal added to Celtic’s hand as they went for the jugular. Ross County, thanks to VAR and Ross Laidlaw in goal, survived. Laidlaw denied Callum McGregor from a long raking effort that he turned round the post while he also pushed away efforts from Oh and Turnbull.

It was Turnbull who finally gave Celtic the lead in the fifth minute of added time at the end of the opening period with a long low effort from the edge of the box that he whipped into Laidlaw’s right-hand corner.

He almost claimed his second after the restart with a volley after Liam Scales had chipped the ball into his path with Laidlaw equal to the attempt.

The Ross County keeper needed treatment after denying substitute Kyogo from close range and then stifling Hun-jun’s rebound as Celtic looked t

DINGWALL, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 04: James Forrest celebrates scoring to make it 3-0 Celtic during a cinch Premership match betweeen Ross County and Celtic at the Global Energy Stadium, on November 04,2023, in Dingwall, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

o add to their tally.

It came from Palma, one of three changes Rodgers had made just after the hour mark, who let fly from 25 yards with a ferocious right-footed effort that flew well past the reach of the keeper and into the top corner.

Forrest sealed the points after Palma turned provider as he headed into the net; “the third header of his career,” joked Rodgers.

It was all smiles as the attention turns now to Madrid and the challenge of the Champions League.


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