Inverness CT 1-3 Celtic: Makeshift Hoops secure Highland victory to remain clear at the top

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Goals from Kris Commons, Rami Gershon and Miku helped a makeshift Celtic side survive their Highland test to beat Inverness CT.

Midfielder Nick Ross had put Caley Thistle into an early lead but they were unable to hang on to it and reduce the deficit on the league leaders.

Home boss Terry Butcher made just one change from the side that crashed out of the Scottish Cup at the hands of Kilmarnock last Saturday, with skipper Richie Foran, who limped off early on in that tie failing to make it back and he was replaced by Ross.

With a crucial Champions League knock-out first leg tie on Tuesday against Juventus, Hoops boss Neil Lennon rang the changes, a total of nine from the side who defeated Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup.

Inverness CT looked the better side early on as the visitors looked to adjust to a new formation and line-up, which allowed Andrew Shinnie to play the ball through the Celtic midfield for Ross Draper, who then found Billy McKay, but his strike went just wide.

The Highland side did claim an early lead when Aaron Doran received the ball on the left wing after Celtic failed to properly clear a corner and that allowed the former Blackburn youngster to cross into the box, with Fraser Forster failing to clear properly, allowing Ross to rifle the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Celtic finally started to get back into the game and eventually claimed an equaliser when Australian new-boy Tom Rogic raced down the right-hand side of the box, before crossing to the back post, with Commons was on hand to fire the ball into the top corner.

From then on it was the visitors who took full control of the first half, with Paddy McCourt playing the ball to Anthony Stokes on the left and he in turn played in Rogic, just outside the box, but the former Central Coast Mariners midfielder saw his strike sail over the bar.    

With five minutes remaining in the half, Stokes had a chance to put Celtic ahead when Commons played him in on the left-hand side, but before the Irish striker could find the net, Josh Meekings slid in to clear for a corner.

Celtic took the lead early on in the second half, as Dylan McGeouch weaved his way past a couple of defender on the right-hand side and his cross was pinpoint, onto the new of Gershon, who headed home from close range.

The home side started to get the better of the game as it made its way into the latter stages, but they could not find a way past the Celtic defence to get back on level terms.

And with the game coming to a close Celtic secured all three points as they broke out after an Inverness corner and Stokes played in Miku to tap home and claim all three points.

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