Celtic 4-2 Inverness: Armstrong double seals Hoops win
Last Updated: 16/08/15 2:44pm
A second-half double from Stuart Armstrong helped Celtic on their way to a largely comfortable 4-2 win over last season’s Scottish Cup winners Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Celtic Park.
Recent signing Scott Allan was presented to the home fans ahead of the kick-off and he watched as his new team-mates got back to winning ways in the Scottish Premiership following a disappointing midweek draw at Kilmarnock.
The hosts dominated the opening half, with two goals in the first 12 minutes from Mikael Lustig and Leigh Griffiths sending them securely into the break.
Armstrong struck twice after the interval to seemingly put Celtic on easy street before Inverness goals from Ryan Christie and Dani Lopez gave the home side a nervier final 12 minutes than they would have expected.
Despite switching off somewhat towards the end of the game, the win will give Ronny Deila’s side a bit of momentum ahead of their Champions League play-off first leg against Malmo on Wednesday.
Celtic took the lead after seven minutes when Lustig managed to get the final touch on Stefan Johansen’s free-kick to head home from close range.
The champions were rampant and keen to put the game to bed early with Nir Bitton soon picking out Leigh Griffiths who headed into the net at the back post.
It was proving to be a frustrating afternoon for the Highlanders and Ross Draper found his way into the book after 15 minutes for hacking down Scott Brown.
Celtic really should have been 3-0 up after 25 minutes. Johansen was unlucky to see his shot come back off the crossbar before Armstrong’s follow-up effort was cleared off the line.
Griffiths then had two chances to add to Celtic’s lead, first driving an effort just over the bar before latching on to a ball over the top from Emilio Izaguirre but his strike was blocked by Caley goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams.
Despite Celtic’s dominance, Inverness had the last chance of the half when Craig Gordon was forced to tip Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo’s effort over the bar.
Nir Bitton scored a spectacular strike in midweek against Kilmarnock and he tried to go for glory from distance again shortly after the break but his effort was deflected and saved by Fon Williams.
Celtic then extended their lead when Griffiths picked up a loose ball after Johansen’s shot was saved, and the forward teed it up for Armstrong who curled his effort past the Caley goalkeeper.
Johansen went close for the home side again shortly afterwards but could only watch as his volley from Armstrong’s corner drifted wide.
Armstrong then took advantage of some sloppy play in the Inverness defence to stretch his side’s lead further after 69 minutes.
Danny Devine gave the ball away on the edge of his box which the midfielder picked up and he danced his way through the Caley backline before firing past Fon Williams.
The visitors pulled one back just three minutes later, however, when substitute Christie made the most of some sloppy defending to race clear and slot the ball past Gordon.
Christie then turned provider as he laid on Dani Lopez to fire home from 18 yards as Inverness finished the game strongly.
Gordon was then forced into a good save to deny a Draper header as Inverness continued to look for a third.