The Sunday Post (Inverness)
Red-hot Celtic turn it on with show of six-y football
Celtic warmed up for next weekend’s Scottish Cup clash with Rangers with a red-hot display against Livingston.
Since taking over as Hoops caretaker boss at the start of March following Neil Lennon’s departure, John Kennedy has been waiting for it all to come together.
And yesterday, in unseasonal snow, it did. With not even a potential injury worry over James Forrest, subbed just before the hour as a precaution, could take the smile off his face.
“I’ve felt this coming for the last few weeks. I thought we were going to score a few goals and give someone a bit of a hiding,” he said.
“The performance gives us the foundation and the basis to get results.
“It has been a case of building back the structure, making sure everybody knows their roles and then the quality always comes through.
“If you get that basis right you can control games and you can build up the confidence which we have seen today in abundance with our important players doing damage in the box.
“It was really pleasing, I thought our decision-making in the final third was very good – we got much more attempts from inside the box. It was a top performance.”
The fact the Forrest brothers, James and Alan, lined up in opposition, meant there was a small personal tussle going on in the middle of the larger contest.
And James it was who got the breakthrough at a time when the game looked in serious danger of stagnating.
Darting through on to a clever ball round the corner by Odsonne
Edouard, he found himself one on one with Robbie Mccrorie.
The Livi keeper narrowed the angle with a dash off his goalline but his opponent was too quick, too composed, and coolly netted.
Up to that point it had been Alan Forrest who had given the Hoops their only anxious moment.
Dispossessing Scott Brown, he scampered clear but Stephen Welsh was alert to the danger and came across to make a saving tackle that gave his side time to regroup. That was something the West Lothian team failed to do themselves after falling behind because all too quickly it was 2-0.
They failed to clear when they had the chance and allowed Mo Elyounoussi to scamper to the byline on Celtic’s left.
Looking up, the Norwegian spotted David Turnbull’s run in support and picked out the midfielder with a cross he only needed to make contact with to score.
They were, to be fair, bang out of luck at the third.
Scott Brown did a great job to fling himself forward to get a diving header on Turnbull’s corner from the right.
His effort was not on target, though. At least not until it struck Livi central defender Jack Fitzwater who was left as the scorer of an unfortunate own goal.
There was zero doubt who to credit, with Celtic’s fourth.
Elyounoussi’s effort was a beauty, a curling right-foot shot from just inside the box that left Mccrorie with no chance.
There was plenty to admire too in his second and Celtic’s fifth, a dinked finish from the angle.
With time running down on what was a by now wearied Livingston side, Christie then added to the competition for the best goal of the afternoon when cashing in on an Efe Ambrose mistake to send an inch-perfect shot into the net.
It is, they say, much easier to score goals when your team are a few goals to the good but that didn’t diminish the quality of the finishing on show.
A minute’s silence was held before the game to mark the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
It was immaculately observed by the couple of hundred inside Celtic Park who stood silent throughout.
However, outside the ground it was clearly a different story with a series of loud bangs heard before and after referee Nick Walsh whistled to mark the end of the tribute.