Hooper double crowns Celtic's second-half romp

Celtic 4 Ross County 0

celtic park

Drawn against Juventus in the Champions League one moment, up against Ross County the next. Celtic, however, did not allow themselves to be distracted from Premier League business yesterday as they romped to a comfortable win underpinned by two goals from Gary Hooper.

The Scottish champions did, though, take their time to get going, dominating the first period but kept at bay by Staggies' former Celtic goalkeeper, Mark Brown, who made several fine saves. Also, the former Celtic player Rocco Quinn and Alex Cooper both missed excellent early opportunities for the visitors.

However, when the Celtic skipper, Scott Brown, struck a minute after the interval the Highlanders' resistance was broken. Hooper quickly helped himself to two classic poacher's goals before substitute James Forrest capped his return to action after being out since October with a hamstring injury by grabbing the fourth.

County approached this fixture having taken a point off the champions early in the season in Dingwall, but were without a win in eight games. And things looked ominous for them after only three minutes, the time it took for the the Hoops to create their first opening. Lassad Nouioui's header at the back post was held by Brown, who also saved smartly moments later from Charlie Mulgrew's shot on the turn after a Georgios Samaras free-kick.

It looked as though Brown was in for a long afternoon and in the 11th minute he made another good save from Hooper's close-range header after an Emilio Izaguirre cross from the left found the striker unmarked in the box. However, seconds from the break County had a chance when, with the Hoops defence static, Quinn set up Cooper, but Fraser Forster came to the rescue with a fine blocking save.

Any chance of a County upset disappeared just over a minute into the second half when Hooper set up Brown to fire in low from 14 yards. With the pressure off, Celtic relaxed and when Hooper flicked Lassad's cross past Brown with his head in the 53rd minute the points were effectively secured.

Forrest was given a rousing cheer when he replaced Beram Kayal, but it was Hooper who had the fans off their seats again in the 64th minute when he nodded in after Victor Wanyama's header from a Mulgrew corner had spun into the air.

Six minutes later Forrest sped into the County box after taking a pass from Hooper and shot past the helpless Brown.

Manager Neil Lennon will be thankful his side found their ruthlessness in the second period as victory moved Celtic five points ahead of Inverness at the top of the table.

Celtic (4-3-3): Forster; Izaguirre, Ambrose, Wilson, Mulgrew; Kayal (Forrest, 58), Brown, Nouioui (Watt, 75); Hooper, Samaras (Herron, 83), Wanyama.

Ross County (4-5-1): Brown; Fitzpatrick, Munro, Boyd, Kovacevic; Kettlewell (Glen, 88), Brittain, Vigurs, Quinn (Lawson, 77), Cooper (Corcoran, 54); McMenamin.

Referee Euan Norris.

Man of the match Hooper (Celtic).

Match rating 6/10.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project