That’s more like it, Celtic.
No drama and no goals conceded on successful night all-round for the Bhoys. Our defensive wingers looked excellent, the Griff-Eddy partnership was back, and the midfield youth movement was ruthlessly efficient.
This wasn’t a particularly exciting game, and thank goodness for that. If anything, both team and fans required a routine win against lesser opposition with absolutely nothing to throw a spanner in the works.
Here are 3 things we learned as Celtic comfortably took apart John Hughes’ Ross County.
Our love was on the wing
Over previous matches, we’ve watched as Celtic’s wide players have failed to attack the byline. Not so against Ross County tonight, as Frimpong’s penetrating run to the edge of the 18-yard-box created the first goal.
It’s the kind of angle that Celtic haven’t exploited so far this season, and it’s hard to know why. With the positional abilities of the Celtic attack, as well as our pace on the wings with Laxalt and the Dutch youngster Frimpong, it’s a genuine mystery.
The right-back’s simple pass cut apart the Ross County back-line, and David Turnbull comfortably slotted home for 1-0.
Frimpong was willing to receive the ball from all across the pitch, and got a great deal of joy against Ross County’s left-back Reid. All through the game, he picked out great passes and made fantastic runs down the right flank.
Laxalt, on the other side, had a decent game. He won 4 tackles in the first half alone, and immediately took on Keith Watson, completing 100% of his passes and moving the ball well with Callum McGregor.
Celtic’s dynamic duo need a run of games together
Fans have clamoured for it, given its success last year, but so far Neil Lennon has largely resisted playing Griffiths and Edouard together. In the first half, they attempted to link up well, but Griffiths didn’t manage any shots on goal. In the second, that fluidity we’ve seen between the two was adundant.
The move on the 54th minute was more like it. An excellent touch from Soro freed McGregor to advance into the final third. The vice-captain then found Griffiths in space, but he wasn’t able to finish the chance. However, that movement was promising, with Edouard providing an outlet ball if Griff didn’t fancy the shot.
Celtic’s second goal exemplified why the front two could work again this season. With Ross County paying attention to Odsonne Edouard’s movement, Griffiths was left with a free header from a sumptuous Christie cross. Having missed a sitter just beforehand, it was a huge relief for Celtic’s number 9.
No defence in the league could deal with both strikers at the same time. While I’m not entirely sold on it working for every match Celtic play, it certainly gives the attacking side of our game a number of focal points.
Soro represents the future of the Celtic midfield
Ismaila Soro is good at football.
He was always likely to play this game, and that was to Celtic’s benefit. Soro, once again, was everywhere tonight. His ability to break up opposition moves and instinctively move the ball forward were key to the good things Celtic did tonight.
He linked up so well with Callum McGregor that it’s hard to believe he only made his 3rd start tonight.
Sure, as a defensive midfielder, he wasn’t worked especially hard tonight. But his tackles and passing were clinical (WhoScored?). His very presence in the middle of the park was a constant reassurance. Moves so often started with a simple pass from the Ivorian.
He’s been nothing less than impressive in a Celtic shirt, and he’s only emboldened his case to start every game. With him in the team, the defence looks more assured and the attack has more bite. He’s very quickly become a key player. Lennon would do well to utilise him as often as possible.