BRENDAN RODGERS watched his side go a massive SIXTEEN points clear at the top of the Premiership after coasting to a victory over the Highlanders at Parkhead this evening.

And the Hoops can take a remarkable 19-point advantage if they win the Hogmanay clash at Ibrox on Saturday.

Sevco Rangers settled for a point against St Johnstone in Perth tonight in a 1-1 draw.

It took the champions, who also have a game in hand, until the 38th minute before they claimed the all-important breakthrough goal.

And it was perfect timing from Danish defender Erik Sviatchenko with his first strike of the season.

There appeared little danger when he strode purposefully into the County half. The Highlanders looked to where the centre-half might play in a colleague.

But Sviatchenko had other ideas as he ambled forward before unleashing a long-range drive that seemed to bamboozle Scott Fox as it flashed into the net.

And the former Hoops keeper was fishing the ball out of his net again just on the interval when Stuart Armstrong doubled his side’s superiority.

Mikael Lustig was the architect with a clever ball forward that the in-form midfielder collected, moved one way and then the other before finishing with a superb effort.

Earlier, skipper Scott Brown had been wasteful with his finishing effort after being presented with a reasonable opportunity. He lashed at the ball and sent it flying harmlessly over the crossbar.

There had been another scare for the Dingwall outfit when Emilio Izaguirre clipped over an inviting cross from the left.

Scott Sinclair’s timing was wonderful, but his precision was out and his glancing header flew just wide of the upright.  

Celtic took the game to the opposition at the start of the second-half with Ryan Christie linking with Leigh Griffiths before winning a corner-kick which came to nothing.

Fox’s goal was threatened again when Giffiths seized on an opportunity, but the keeper held on well.

And there was another chance for last season’s 40-goal man when he missed with a header. His immediate reaction said it all – he should have scored.

And referee Nick Walsh was the target for the home support’s ire when he waved play on after Sinclair was downed in the box following a challenge from Marcus Fraser. 

Boss Rodgers introduced Moussa Dembele, Patrick Roberts and Liam Henderson for Griffiths, Forrest and Christie as he freshened up the line-up with an eye to the Glasgow derby – and a third successive win over Sevco.

Who would bet against Celtic bringing down the curtain on 2016 with another resounding display as they head effortlessly towards their sixth successive Premiership crown?

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Sviatchenko, Izaguirre; Brown, Armstrong; Forrest (sub: Roberts), Christie (sub: Henderson), Sinclair; Griffiths (sub: Dembele). 

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