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  • Deadly Dembele helps sparkling Celts progress in Scottish Cup

    Deadly Dembele helps sparkling Celts progress in Scottish Cup

    By: Mark Henderson on 11 Feb, 2017 14:17

  • Scottish Cup fifth round
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Saturday, February 2, 2017

    CELTIC...6
    (Lustig 21, Dembele 45, 50, 59, Tierney 86, Brown 90+1)

    INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE...0

    MOUSSA Dembele made it back-to-back hat-tricks for Celtic after his quick-fire treble helped the Hoops beat Inverness Caley Thistle 6-0 to book their spot in the Scottish Cup last eight and extend their domestic unbeaten run to 30 matches.

    Last Sunday against St Johnstone the striker took 24 minutes to complete this three-goal haul but this time he only required 14 minutes to repeat the feat as his sensational debut season with the champions continued.

    Mikael Lustig’s deft finish had put the Hoops deservedly ahead, following superb supply work from Nir Bitton, before Dembele got in on the act on the stroke of half-time when Owain Fon Williams was unable to keep out his low shot.

    He made it 3-0 early in the second half with a measured finish and completed his hat-trick with a powerful header after meeting a cross from the outstanding James Forrest.

    Forrest again turned provider as Kieran Tierney struck number five, before captain Scott Brown piled on the visitors’ misery by lashing the ball into the top corner in the dying seconds as Paradise stood to acclaim another dazzling display.  

    Still on track for a domestic clean sweep, Brendan Rodgers’ side will now take their place in tomorrow’s (Sunday) draw for the quarter-finals of the competition.

    There were two changes to the side that beat St Johnstone 5-2 at McDiarmid Park last weekend, with Forrest restored to the side and hat-trick hero, Dembele, leading the line. Patrick Roberts and Gary Mackay-Steven were the players to drop out, with the latter named among the substitutes.

    Liam Henderson, who opened the scoring last Sunday, retained his place in the starting XI and it was the young midfielder who threatened first for the Bhoys when he fired wide from 20 yards inside the opening 60 seconds.  

    As Celtic continued to make the early running, Tierney was next to try his luck but he was unable to control his half-volley after a surging run from Forrest down the right.

    After this initial flurry of chances, however, the Hoops had to be content with bossing possession as the visitors threw men behind the ball and tightly-marked several Hoops forwards, such as Scott Sinclair, who was followed by David Raven wherever he roamed.

    But in the 21st minute they unlocked the Inverness rearguard to open the scoring after a piece of superb invention from Bitton and Lustig. The Israeli internationalist picked out the run of the right-back with a sublime lofted pass, and Lustig controlled it an instant before cleverly flicking the ball into the net.

    The champions looked keen to quickly inflict further punishment, with Henderson curling a shot over and Forrest having an attempt blocked by the backtracking Gary Warren.

    To try and stem the Celtic tide, Richie Foran’s side restored to some roughhouse tactics, with Carl Tremarco, Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs all seeing yellow for reckless challenges in the space of eight minutes.  

    Apart from increasing their card count, it had no affect on the flow of the match as Brendan Rodgers’ side remained in complete control and Warren became the fourth Inverness player to enter the book for a foul on Dembele.  

    Playing with his usual vigour, Henderson continued to supplement the attack and he found himself in another good position as half-time approached, but he couldn’t keep his a shot down after good work from Sinclair.

    Moments before the interval, Celtic doubled their advantage. Forrest was the architect, leaving Tremarco for dead and teeing up Dembele, whose low effort crept under Owain Fon Williams and trickled over the line.

    It only took the Hoops five minutes of the second period to add to their tally. The visitors failed to clear their lines and when Raven’s last-gasp challenge on Sinclair rolled invitingly into the path of Dembele, he dispatched the ball into the corner.

    It now looked a matter of how many more goals Celtic would score as Fon Williams saved smartly from Henderson, following some slick, one-touch build-up play, and Bitton dragged a shot wide.

    Just before the hour-mark, the Highlanders’ resistance crumbed again. As the home side surged forward on the counter, Dembele swept a pass wide to Forrest on the right. The winger reached the byline and delivered an inviting cross which the onrushing Dembele headed emphatically into the net for his second treble in the space of six days.  

    The impressive Forrest should have got on the act himself in the 68th minute after he dispossessed the dithering Brad McKay but he drilled inches wide with only Fon Williams to beat.  

    Vigurs belatedly blasted wide for the away side, before Dembele and Brown came close. In the closing stages, the Hoops broke through again as Tierney powered a header into the net from Forrest’s centre.

    And right at the death, Brown smashed the ball beyond Fon Williams after Sinclair had wreaked havoc on the left as the Celtic juggernaut rolled on.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata (Toure 88), Sviatchenko, Tierney; Bitton, Brown; Forrest, Henderson (McGregor 66), Sinclair; Dembele (Ciftci 81)
    Not Used: De Vries, Izaguirre, Gamboa, Mackay-Steven

    INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE (4-5-1) Fon Williams; Raven, Warren, McKay, Tremarco; King (Mulraney 54), Draper (Cole 64), Tansey, Vigurs, Anier; Billy McKay (Ebbe 64)
    Not Used: Hoban, Polworth, Fisher, Boden

    Website Man of the Match: Moussa Dembele

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