BRENDAN RODGERS applauded new Bhoy Luis Palma and veteran James Forrest as Celtic shot down Ross County in Dingwall to push their Premiership advantage to eight points.
The Hoops boss singled out the Honduran and the one-club man for special praise as he reflected on a job well done in the Highlands against stuffy, stubborn 10-man opposition.
The hosts had defender James Brown banished in the tenth minute after a reckless challenge on Yang Hyun-jun that sent the South Korean crashing to the turf.
HIGHLAND FLING…Brendan Rodgers acknowledges the Celtic support after the 3-0 win in Dingwall.
With the Highlanders packing their defence, it took a low whiplash 25-yard drive from David Turnbull, with his third against County this season, to open the scoring in the sixth minute of first-half stoppage-time.
And there was dogged resistance from Malky Mackay’s side until the 78th minute when Palma exploded another long-range drive high into Ross Laidlaw’s net.
It was a deliberate ploy by the champions to fire in a bombardment of shots from outside the box and they had 39 attempts with 16 on target in a one-sided encounter.
Explaining the long-range shooting policy, a delighted Rodgers said: “I was talking to our analysts the other day about it because when you play against a low block and a line of bodies, sometimes you have to shoot from outside the box.
“We have guys such as David Turnbull and Luis Palma who have quality shooting from outside the box and we see the benefits of it.
“He [Palma] has tremendous quality which we saw when we were watching him before he came in.
CELTIC’S BIG SHOT…Luis Palma watches as his long-range drive explodes high past Ross County keeper Ross Laidlaw for the Hoops’ second goal.
GLOVE AFFAIR…Luis Palma celebrates his outstanding strike.
“He has a wonderful technical quality and he’s working hard at his game with a long way to go.
“The club is used to having players with a style that gets you off your seat and he has the quality to do that.
“A wonderful strike and he also showed his finesse to dink it to the back post [for Forrest’s goal]so I’m really pleased for him.”
Rodgers was also thrilled for 32-year-old Forrest who has now scored in every season since he opened his account back in 2009/10 when he claimed one against Motherwell on his debut on May 1 2010.
The Hoops gaffer, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “I said to him that I couldn’t remember him scoring a header when I was here and he said it’s his third header.
“He’s a fantastic professional and I can trust him.
“He might not get the starts he has had over a number of years, but I know he can make an impact in games and he’s in the right place for a nice cushioned header for another one on his tally.”
15-IN-A-ROW…James Forrest celebrates his historic goal with Luis Palma who set up the chance.
Looking at the game, Rodgers added: “Overall, it was a very good performance.
“We had to cope with the red card because the space is not as readily there for us as they drop deeper and become man-to-man so you have to really work.
“David scores right on half-time with a fantastic finish again and that settles the team.
“In the second-half, it was about keeping that persistence and the structure of the team to sustain the attacks.
“The guys did that and we made the changes to keep the energy in the game and the guys that come on did really well.
“I’m really pleased because playing against 10 men is never easy.”