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Johnston saves the day as Celtic hang on to beat Ross County

Alastair Johnston scored the only goal of the game as Celtic toiled and laboured to a 1-0 home win over Ross County to re-establish their five point lead at the top of the SPFL Premiership.

On the back of five successive victories there was an air of expectation around the stadium as they kicked off against opponents fielding six SPFL debutants on the back of successive 3-0 home defeats from Aberdeen and Partick Thistle.

It looked promising for the hoops when a deflected shot from Johnston scrambled over the line in the first minute but that proved to be a false start for fans expecting a goal surge.

The visitors brushed that set-back aside to take the game to Celtic with the home side never getting into their stride.

It was a tough watch for the home fans, summarised just before the half hour mark when Luis Palma had a penalty saved, after a VAR check the penalty was retaken with the same outcome with Palma’s shot easily pushed away by the goalkeeper.

Nicolas Kuhn made his Celtic debut in the 64th minute, replacing Palma and played initially on the left then switched to the right without being given the chance to make much of an impact.

In the closing stages Ross County had the better of the chances but after four minutes of stoppage time the final whistle blew on a sub-standard performance with the only consolation being full points.

Late in the first half Matt O’Riley pulled up with a back injury, after a sort spell of treatment he recovered to play till the final whistle but that knock will be a concern.

Celtic now face three testing away matches in nine days against Aberdeen, Hibs and St Mirren that will require a vast improvement if they are to claim three victories to progress in the SPFL and Scottish Cup.

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