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  • Six of the best for Sinclair and sensational Celts

    Six of the best for Sinclair and sensational Celts

    By: Mark Henderson on 24 Sep, 2016 17:13

  • Scottish Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Saturday, September 24, 2016

    CELTIC...6
    (Dembele 35, 38, Forrest 52, Griffiths 66, Sinclair 72 pen, Rogic 85)

    KILMARNOCK...1
    (Coulibaly 32)

    SCOTT Sinclair kept up his record of scoring in every single league game this season as Celtic ran riot against Kilmarnock in Paradise to cement their position at the league summit.

    The winger found the net from the penalty spot late in the second-half to move within two games of equalling Jimmy McGrory’s remarkable record which has stood for over 80 years.  

    By that stage, the champions had already sealed the spoils against the Rugby Park side, despite going behind in the 32nd minute completely against the run of play to Souleyman Couilbaly’s speculative 40-yard shot.

    However, Brendan Rodgers’ side soon fought back to take the lead before half-time thanks to a quick-fire double from Moussa Dembele, which took the striker’s tally to 10 goals in 10 starts for the Bhoys.

    James Forrest made it 3-1 after combining well with the impressive Rogic, before Leigh Griffiths came off the bench to inflict further punishment on Lee Clark’s side.

    Sinclair converted from the spot and there was still time for Rogic to squeeze a sixth goal against the demoralised visitors as Celtic head into Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League showdown against Manchester City on the back of another sparkling showing.  

    Brendan Rodgers made four changes to the team that eased past Alloa in the League Cup quarter-final on Wednesday night, with Dorus de Vries, Erik Sviatchenko, Nir Bitton and Sinclair all restored to the starting XI. Craig Gordon, Kolo Toure, Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts all dropped to the bench, where they were joined by Griffiths as the prolific striker made a welcome return from injury.

    Veteran striker Kris Boyd led the line for the visitors and he earned them the first sight of goal in the second minute, drawing a foul on the edge of the box from Jozo Simunovic, who had retained his spot in central defence following his return from injury. The Celtic wall, however, did its job from the resultant free-kick from Couilbaly.

    From then on, the opening exchanges were dominated by the Hoops who launched incessant attacks against the Killie rearguard, mixing it up between going through the middle and down the flanks.

    Dembele was always the focal point, heading over from Kieran Tierney’s cutback and the striker suffered the same fate after dispossessing Luke Hendrie on the angle of the box.

    Sinclair, chasing his sixth successive league goal, was also off target after Rogic and Demble had shots charged down, while Scott Brown and Bitton also tried their luck from long-range without seriously troubling goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald. 

    A wonderful reverse pass from Tom Rogic then released James Forrest inside the box but he could only curl over.

    The Ayrshire outfit were resorting to desperate defending to keep the rampant Bhoys at bay, exemplified by centre-half Johnathan Burn who made two last-gasp blocks in quick succession to deny Sinclair and Dembele.

    The tide of attacks continued to flow towards the Kilmarnock goal, with Brown shooting wide from Tierney’s precise pass. The talented teenager, making his 49th appearance for the champions, was offering his usual enterprise and was a constant threat down the left.

    After another foraging run, he picked out Sinclair lurking near the edge of the area in the 23rd minute. Swivelling away sharply from his marker, the English winger fashioned a yard of space but saw his effort fly straight at MacDonald.

    Aside from Dean Hawkshaw firing over from Rory McKenzie’s bobbling cross, Lee Clark’s side had been completely occupied by defensive duties, but in the 32nd minute they stunned the home crowd by taking the lead in spectacular fashion.

    There looked no danger whatsoever when Couilbaly received the ball 40 yards from goal in the inside left channel, but he turned and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner beyond de Vries.

    Celtic responded like champions and a team full of belief, however, as they turned the match around within the space of six minutes.

    After the Hoops had moved the ball from side to side on yet another forward foray, Mikael Lustig looked up and fed an inviting ball into the box. It was met by Dembele, who made no mistake.

    The next goal emanated down the opposite flank. Tierney scampered on to Brown’s pass and brilliantly picked out Dembele from the byline and the Frenchman fired another clinical finish into the top of the net.

    Craig Gordon replaced de Vries at the start of the second half but all the action was down at the other end as the Hoops soon resumed their momentum from the opening period.  

    Within seven minutes of the restart, Celtic had doubled their advantage. Forrest darted inside from the right, collected a return pass from Rogic and kept his cool to slot the ball into the corner.

    That only served to add extra impetus to the home side and Rogic looked to have a good penalty shout waved away, before the Australian internationalist had an effort from 20 yards beaten away by MacDonald.

    Dembele came within inches of his hat-trick just beyond the hour-mark when he rose highest to head Tierney’s delivery over the bar. In the 65th minute, Griffiths was introduced to the fray for Dembele, and, typically, it only took him a matter of minutes to make an impact.

    His first two touches saw him set-up Tierney for a chance, with MacDonald making an excellent save. When the resultant corner came in, Simunovic headed the ball towards goal, and Griffiths was on hand to deliver the crucial final touch.

    Celtic were far from finished, though, and Griffiths won a penalty when fouled by Greg Taylor. He handed the ball to Sinclair, who found the corner of the net to keep him on track to equal McGrory’s long-standing record.

    Rogic added number six in the final 10 minutes, though MacDonald will feel he should have done better from the midfielder’s low shot, as the dominant Hoops kept up the pressure on the beleaguered away side until the final whistle.   

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) De Vries (Gordon 46); Lustig, Sviatchenko, Simunovic, Tierney; Brown, Bitton; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair (Roberts 73); Dembele (Griffiths 65)
    Not Used: Toure, Gamboa, Armstrong, McGregor

    KILMARNOCK (4-2-3-1) MacDonald; Hendrie, Burn, S. Boyd, Taylor; McKenzie, Dicker; Tyson (Jones 53), Hawkshaw (Adams 48), Couilbaly; K. Boyd
    Not Used: MacKay, Boyle, Smith, Frizzell, Morrison

    Website Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney

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