Celtic 3-1 Kilmarnock: Edouard double sees off resilient Killie
Getty Images/Craig Williamson- SNS Group

The match started with Celtic controlling the tempo of the game and dominating possession with Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor combining well in midfield to create a couple of early shooting opportunities, restricting Kilmarnock to limited half-chances on the counter-attack in the process. 

Story of the match

Celtic nearly scored the opener just prior to the 20th minute mark, Boli Bolingoli spotting James Forrest on the right side of the penalty area and excellently playing through the in-form winger which allowed Forrest to get the shot away only to see it crash off the near post of the helpless Kilmarnock Goalkeeper, Laurențiu Brănescu.

However, despite relentless Celtic pressure and a series of chances from Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest to put Celtic ahead, it would be Kilmarnock who would eventually take a surprising lead. Dutch Midfielder Mohamed El Makrini played a near inch-perfect pass into the path of striker Eamonn Brophy who somehow managed to fashion a gap between Celtic centre-back pairing Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer to rifle the ball into the top left corner, well beyond the reach of Celtic Goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

This would not deter Celtic who proceeded to sustain the same attacking momentum they had built up prior to going a goal behind and eventually, right on the stroke of half time their attacking endeavour would be rewarded.

The familiar combination of Forrest and Edouard linked up once again, with Forrest going on a superb driving run down the left wing before putting in a great cross onto the head of Edouard who headed it hard and low, leaving Brănescu with no chance to ensure that both sides went in level at the break. This was also coincidentally Edouard's first headed goal for Celtic and there would be little better time to score it.

It didn't take long after the restart for Celtic to add a second. In the 52nd minute Moritz Bauer cleverly played in Edouard down the right side of the penalty area and just as the pass looked to be slightly overhit, Edouard latched on to it and showed his incredible finishing ability to score from what appeared to be a very difficult angle. With each passing game, Edouard seems to add more onto his value, the strikers importance to this Celtic attack cannot be stressed enough.

Ryan Christie added to his impressive goal tally for the season just moments later in the 56th minute. The in-form Boli Bolingoli delivering another quality ball into the Kilmarnock box from the left, James Forrest was in a significant amount of space inside the box and almost couldn't believe his luck to get a free header only to somehow miss but Ryan Christie was on hand for the tap-in to secure his 10th goal of the season from Midfield and this goal would ultimately prove to be the one that killed the game as a contest.

The remainder of the game would turn out to be fairly uneventful, both sides having chances to score however, Kilmarnock were given a golden opportunity to get themselves back in the game with 5 minutes to go. Scott Brown recklessly bringing down Osman Sow in the box to the displeasure of Neil Lennon. However, Fraser Forster got down brilliantly to deny Irish Midfielder Alan Power from pulling a goal back for Kilmarnock from the spot. 

James Forrest will be baffled as to how he didn't add to his tally for the season to the season as well today. After a great effort that hit the post in the first half, he hit the bar this time with a deflected effort off Ex-Celtic Defender Stuart Findlay after a nice lay-off from Ryan Christie moments earlier.

The full-time whistle blew shortly after and Neil Lennon can take pride in what was overall an impressive performance just days after a gruelling European away fixture at Rennes to maintain his side's excellent domestic start to the season.

For Kilmarnock on the other hand, Angelo Alessio will have questions asked and plenty to think about but overall shouldn't be too disheartened. His Kilmarnock side were well-organised for large parts of the game and created some decent chances on the counter attack.

Takeaways from the match

Edouard and Forrest are big game players:

This settles any debate over their importance to this Celtic side. Odsonne Edouard is arguably going to be Celtic's record sale in the future when he eventually does leave. The improvement in his finishing over the last two seasons has been sensational and his pace, movement off the ball and technical ability in a lone-striker role make him arguably the most important asset to this Celtic side.

Forrest continually proves time and time again that he delivers at the right time when Celtic need him the most and yes whilst he could improve on his finishing there is no questioning his commitment to get on the ball, take players on and create chances especially in difficult situations such as going a goal behind today.

McGregor and Brown need a rest:

It was determined today that Callum McGregor had played every single minute of competitive action for Celtic and Scotland since the first European qualifier against Sarajevo. Scott Brown at the age of 34 simply cannot play 90+ minutes every game over the course of a 50+ game season if he wants to maintain peak performance levels. Rotation is needed in Celtic's center-midfield area to prevent injury and maintain high performance levels from both Brown and McGregor. Perhaps a midfield duo of Olivier Ntcham and Nir Bitton is worth a try?

Alessio needs time:

In the face of criticism from Kirk Broadfoot and Kris Boyd, the knee-jerk reaction to Alessio's "foreign" training methods is perhaps over-exaggerated. For large parts of the game Alessio's defensive principles served Kilmarnock well and allowed them to stay in the game up until Christie added a third. When attacking they showed some promise even when 3-1 down to try and get back in the game and even earned a penalty. With time and work on the training ground Kilmarnock could well put themselves in a decent position for a strong second half of the season.

Man of the match: Odsonne Edouard. Nothing really more to be said, an exceptional talent once again proving his worth to ensure that Celtic's 3 point lead at the top of the SPFL Premiership is maintained for at least another week.