The champions made a winning start to their road to The Five with a two goal win over Ross County. First half goals, an early penalty from Leigh Griffiths and a Stefan Johansen effort secured the points before Ross County settled into the game.
Virgil van Dijk pinged a ball into the box allowing Leigh Griffiths to turn County defender Davies, who mistimed his challenge and took the legs from Griffiths inside the box. This time the Celtic striker was able to take the kick undisputed before hitting his penalty low and hard. Keeper Scott Fox got his body to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
James Forrest was recalled from the start and made a powerful run on 17 minutes but his shot was saved. A quick break by County tempted Craig Gordon off his line, in an echo of a similar situation against Qarabag on Wednesday, but County’s Jackson Irvine controlled well and knocked the ball beyond Gordon, who committed to the challenge but only succeeded in felling Irvine.
Scott Brown and Virgil van Dijk managed to get back inside the box, and Irvine was heading wide, so referee Willie Collum only cautioned the Celtic goalkeeper. Gordon redeemed himself a moment later by saving the resultant fee kick.
A fine passing move by Celtic created space inside the box for Gary Mackay-Steven but his shot was weak and Fox saved. van Dijk then made space but could not find the target. The big Dutch defender later dribbled 30 yards but was dispossessed 10 yards out.
Stefan Johansen made it 2-0 on 35 minutes. Ross County were under incessant Celtic pressure and failed to pick up Mackay-Steven inside the box. The Celtic winger feigned to shoot before rolling the ball into the path of Johansen who made no mistake.
Ross County had a better second half but not until Stuart Armstrong rounded Fox and saw his effort cleared off the line. Gordon was forced into a stunning save on 65 minutes when Quinn’s effort from 13 yards. The Celtic keeper flew himself to his left.
Kris Commons then saw his rocket shot from 25 yards touched over. A moment later Armstrong’s audacious chip almost caught the keeper off his line but Fox stretched to deflect. Armstrong continued his search for a goal but his shot from outside the box was deflected wide.
Craig Gordon ended the game by making another fine diving save in added time.