Connect to share and comment

Football: Van Dijk, Ledley at double as Celtic win

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Ledley both grabbed doubles as a much-changed Celtic strolled to a comfortable 4-1 win at Ross County to continue their unbeaten record in the Scottish Premiership.

Dutch defender van Dijk had been his side's main threat with a host of missed chances before he headed home Emilio Izaguirre's cross to open the scoring in the 41st minute.

The summer signing from Groningen then grabbed his second in the 52nd minute as he nodded home Charlie Mulgrew's corner.

The game then went a bit flat until a burst of three goals in six minutes. Substitute Ivan Sproule had only been on the pitch for just over a minute when he pulled one back for County in the 68th minute but Celtic immediately responded with Ledley heading home Izaguirre's cross just two minutes later.

The Welshman's backward header in the 73rd minute sealed his side's first ever league win at Victoria Park as they bounced back in impressive fashion following their midweek Champions League defeat to Ajax.

"I'm thrilled with the performance and we played very well for the 90 minutes," said Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

"The new boys who came in I thought had exceptional games and have started to blend in with the rest of them so it is very pleasing.

"I am also delighted with the four headers we scored as it's been a constant source of frustration for us so far this season. You wait and you wait and then you get four in one day."

His Ross County counterpart Derek Adams said it was a fair result.

" I thought Celtic were very strong. They freshened things up and the ones they brought in played very well," Adams said.

"Individually and collectively we have to do a lot better but I don't have any complaints with the end result as Celtic were very good today."

Celtic had made five changes from the side that lost in Amsterdam with Georgios Samaras, Beram Kayal and Mikael Lustig dropping out completely while Anthony Stokes and Kris Commons dropped to the bench as Israeli Nir Biton was handed his first start for the Hoops.

Celtic were relentless going forward and Scott Brown, restored to the side following his European suspension, saw a deflected shot fizz just wide of the County goal.

Van Dijk finally made the breakthrough in the 41st minutes, though. A short corner was quickly taken and Izaguirre swung the ball into the box where the Dutchman rose to send a header in off the post for his first Celtic goal.

Celtic started the second half in a similar fashion and soon doubled their lead.

Brown saw his angled shot turned onto the post by the County 'keeper and from the resultant corner the unmarked van Dijk glanced Mulgrew's delivery into the net from close range.

The goal seemed to deflate County and the game went flat until substitute Sproule pulled one back for his side. Rocco Quinn's deflected shot was parried by Fraser Forster and Sproule reacted quickest to slide the rebound under the English 'keeper.

County's joy was short-lived with Ledley restoring his side's two-goal advantage two minutes later. Izaguirre jinked one way then the other in the County box before delivering a perfect cross for the Welshman to nod past Brown for his first goal of the season.

The game was then finished as a contest when Darnell Fisher sent over a sumptuous cross which Ledley met with a superb backward glancing header that gave Brown in the County goal no chance.

Australian international Tom Rogic came on for a rare appearance with 10 minutes to go and the midfielder saw a low drive well saved by Brown before Ledley smashed the rebound into the post as he was denied a hat-trick.

str/pi

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131109/football-van-dijk-ledley-at-double-celtic-win-0