Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-3 Celtic: Bhoys back to winning ways in the highlands
Leigh Griffiths celebrates his goal | Credit: Celtic Football Club

Celtic stretched their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership back to seven points as they defeated Inverness by three goals to one at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

Callum McGregor's early opener for The Bhoys was canceled out by Miles Storey. However the visitors proved the stronger team over the 90 minutes as Leigh Griffiths and Danny Devine's late own goal solidified the deserved win.

Pre-match changes for the two sides

Inverness Caley manager, John Hughes, tinkered his starting line-up, opting to go for a powerful set-up and changed his usual back four. Celtic manager, Ronny Deila, found a place for Europa League scorer, McGregor, out on the wing as James Forrest was feeling a tight leg. Also featuring was impressive young left-back, Kieran Tierney and Stefan Johansen, who returned after a spell out the team. 

Equal first half with both teams scoring

It didn't take long before the first goal of the match came to fruition when Callum McGregor scored his second goal of the week on seven minutes. In similar circumstances to his Ajax opener on Thursday, a break down the middle allowed him to open his foot on the ball and place the ball to the bottom right corner. His goal will not only please his manager, but it will also give him a dilemma on who to play in the three key attacking-midfield positions behind the striker.

Inverness were quick to respond after going behind. Defender, Gary Warren, managed to head towards goal from a corner which forced keeper, Craig Gordon, to make a save with his chest that he never knew too much about. 

Caley kept the pressure up on Celtic, and had a few forays around in the final third. They were then rewarded with their positive play when parity was restored through Miles Storey. A slack pass from Stuart Armstrong was intercepted by the scorer who went onto force a save from Gordon. The blocked shot fell back into the direction of Storey who stuck his second attempt into the empty net.

Stronger Celtic performance in the second half 

The second half started much the same as the entire first played out with Celtic playing at a slower tempo and Inverness creating some opportunities but without any real conviction. The first change from the champions came on 55 minutes when Scott Allan replaced Armstrong who hasn't looked 100% of late. 

The game's new man had an immediate impact when he played a part in Celtic's second goal. Allan rolled a perfectly weighted pass to the byline which Tierney then crossed to Griffiths to hit by Owain Fôn Williams. The travelling Celtic fans' joy was pushed up a gear when cult-hero, Carlton Cole, came on to make his debut, replacing Tom Rogić

The former West Ham United striker almost kicked off his Celtic career with a bang when he headed down McGregor's floated ball, only for Fôn Williams to act quickly and collect the ball. At the other end, Caley Thistle almost equalised for a second time following a corner, but Johansen managed to clear off the line before Josh Meekings could pounce. 

The game was sewn up for Celtic five minutes from the end when Danny Devine walked the ball into his own net. Following a stramash inside the box, Cole's unsuspecting hand nudged the ball on to Devine's path and followed on into the net. After the match, Cole said he wouldn't claim the goal however it didn't stop the Celtic fans from awarding it to the Englishman.

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