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  • Dominant Celts extend unbeaten run with victory over Killie

    Dominant Celts extend unbeaten run with victory over Killie

    By: Jo Hendry on 08 Apr, 2017 17:04

  • SPFL Premiership
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Saturday, April 8, 2017

    (Armstrong 22, Sinclair 71, Forrest 75)

    (Jones 64)

    CHAMPIONS Celtic brushed aside Kilmarnock to go 39 games unbeaten with a comfortable 3-1 victory in Paradise today (Saturday). Goals from Stuart Armstrong, Scott Sinclair and James Forrest ensured Brendan Rodgers’ side continue their incredible domestic run this season as six-in-a-row champions.

    Armstrong with his 14th goal of the season opened the scoring for the Hoops after 22 minutes, and though Kilmarnock stunned the home support with an equaliser from Jordan Jones just after the hour mark, strikes from Scott Sinclair and James Forrest in quick succession reinforced Celtic’s dominance and ensured that all three points remained at Paradise.

    Captain Scott Brown was one of five Celtic players restored to the starting line-up for the game, the midfielder returning to the team along with Dedryck Boyata, James Forrest, Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney following Wednesday’s derby draw with Partick Thistle.

    From the first whistle it was clear that Kilmarnock’s game-plan was to put everyone behind the ball except for Conor Sammon in a bid to frustrate Celtic’s attacking intent, but the champions showed both patience and determination in maintaining possession and probing for openings.

    Sinclair came agonisingly close to opening the scoring for Celtic after 12 minutes, picking up a lovely pass from Forrest and shooting low and hard across the face of goal, but the ball flashed just past Woodman’s far post.

    Armstrong then set up McGregor five minutes later who unleashed a shot from 25 yards, but the Killie keeper produced a good save to deny the Celtic midfielder.

    But there was nothing he could do to prevent Armstrong giving the home side the lead as he fired in a powerful shot from outside the area which took a deflection on its way into the Kilmarnock net.

    There was a great atmosphere inside the sun-kissed Celtic Park as the Hoops fans celebrated the goal, as well as the title success and Friday’s news that Brendan Rodgers had signed a new four-year deal to keep him at the club until June 2021.

    And as the Irishman’s side went in search of a second goal, Kieran Tierney came close with a half-volley after 36 minutes from inside the box. And the last action of the half saw an Armstrong shot blocked by Killie defender Scott Boyd.

    The pattern of the game continued in the same vein into the second-half, with Roberts and Sinclair both coming close, but Kilmarnock, with a rare foray forward, grabbed an unexpected equaliser. Jones hit a shot from inside the box which ricocheted its way past Gordon to make it 1-1 after 64 minutes.

    However, within six minutes, the Hoops were back in front. Armstrong delivered a free-kick into the box, Boyata headed the ball across the face of goal, and Roberts nudged it into the path of Sinclair who, from a couple of yards out, fired home his 23rd goal of the season. Three minutes later Sinclair almost clinched his second goal of the game but his effort was cleared off the line.

    Brendan Rodgers then introduced Tom Rogic and Moussa Dembele, and the Frenchman had an immediate impact on proceedings. His looping effort from 20 yards out beat the keeper but came back off the post, and Forrest was first to react with a header to make it 3-1 and a comfortable win for the Champions.

    CELTIC (3-4-2-1) Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata; Forrest, Brown, Armstrong (Kouassi, 84), Tierney; McGregor (Rogic, 72), Sinclair; Roberts (Dembele, 72).
    Unused subs: Hazard, Izaguirre, Bitton, Sviatchenko,

    KILMARNOCK (5-4-1) Woodman; Hendrie, Wilson, Dicker, S. Boyd, Taylor; Roberts, M. Smith, Longstaff, Jones; Sammon Subs: MacDonald, Osborne, K. Boyd, Frizzell, Hawkshaw, Graham, Cameron

    Man of the match: Stuart Armstrong


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