Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers hails super-sub Leigh Griffiths
Striker comes off the bench to score late free-kick and secure win at Ross County
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with goalscorer Leigh Griffiths after the final whistle of the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match against Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium. Photograph: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
Ross County 0 Celtic 1
Brendan Rodgers hailed substitute Leigh Griffiths’s free-kick winner as “amazing” after Celtic’s 1-0 win at Ross County.
The Scotland striker returned to the bench after recovering from a calf injury but was called upon in the second half as the Premiership leaders struggled against Owen Coyle’s well-organised side.
And when Griffiths got his opportunity from 30 yards after 78 minutes he curled the ball past Ross County’s Irish goalkeeper Aaron McCarey to give the visitors all three points and extend Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run to 64 games.
Afterwards Rodgers said: “It was a brilliant goal and anything their keeper had to do today, he dealt with it really well.
“But the free-kick must have been nearly 30 yards and to getting it up and over with that speed and into the corner was amazing. And it was going to take something like that.
“You are never going to be at your fluent best all the time but mentally we are very strong.
“Okay we can’t play perfect football, it was tough on that pitch today.
“It is the first time we have been up here and the pitch has been as long as that and bobbly as that so it was never going to be fluent for that reason.
“But you still have to keep digging in, ensure you are defensively strong and not give anything away and so that when the moment comes you can take it and see the game through.
“So it is a brilliant victory for us and clean sheet.”
Staggies manager Coyle acknowledged the talent of Griffiths and Celtic but claimed his side were deserving of a point.
He said: “It was going to take a bit of magic to beat us and we all have to concede that he is more than capable of doing that.
“He is a wonderful player and when you have that quality not even starting games, that is why they are a fantastic side and play the football they do and are carrying all before them domestically.
“But for our part, we were terrific today and that is what I have to concentrate on our development and how we are getting better.
“We are going the right way, but it was hard to take. I felt we deserved a point from the game, given what we offered the match.”