06.08.2022
Moritz Jenz and Liel Abada score late on as defending champions Celtic beat Ross County

Moritz Jenz headed a late debut goal as Celtic were again made to work in Dingwall as they beat Ross County 3-1.

Kyogo Furuhashi gave Celtic the lead in the 48th minute but Alex Iacovitti levelled with Ross County’s first effort on target 10 minutes later.

Malky Mackay’s side looked like they might frustrate their visitors but Jenz ran in to meet Jota’s inswinging cross and head into the roof of the net from six yards in the 84th minute.

Substitute Liel Abada wrapped up a 3-1 win in stoppage-time when he curled home from 18 yards.

On-loan Lorient defender Jenz had only been drafted in after Stephen Welsh dropped out through illness on Friday.

The 23-year-old German picked up a booking in a shaky moment in defence but looked assured on the ball and made himself an instant hero with the crucial moment of the game on a ground where Celtic needed an Anthony Ralston winner in the seventh minute of stoppage time last season.

David Turnbull replaced the injured Reo Hatate and the midfielder chipped just beyond the far post from a tight angle early on. Jota cut inside and had a shot deflected wide but Celtic initially struggled to break County down.

Their first real chance came just before the half-hour mark when Jota made towards the byline and crossed for Daizen Maeda but the Japanese forward sent a free header over the bar.

Celtic stepped up and Turnbull created another good chance with a reverse pass for Furuhashi, whose shot was parried by Ross Laidlaw before Matt O’Riley sent a first-time volley wide on the rebound.

O’Riley failed to make the most of two more quickfire chances before Laidlaw pulled off a good stop from Maeda’s flick.

County had only threatened from set-pieces in the first half with Ross Callachan and Iacovitti sending efforts over the bar.

Both sides made half-time changes with Owura Edwards on for County and Abada replacing Maeda.

Celtic found an extra gear and took the lead after Callum McGregor drove into the box and found Jota. The Portuguese winger skipped past a defender and cut back for Furuhashi to slot into the bottom corner.

O’Riley headed straight at Laidlaw from a good chance before County levelled.

Iacovitti got above his man to meet Edwards’ corner and headed down. Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart appeared to be unsighted by one of his defenders and the ball bounced into the net.

Jota sent a curling effort just wide before Hart pulled off an excellent flying save from Edwards’ free-kick after Jenz had brought down Jordy Hiwula.

County full-back Connor Randall injured himself in the process of fouling Jota as the hosts frustrated the champions and they had a dangerous set-piece themselves just before Celtic broke and won the corner that led to Jenz netting.

Celtic were in control in the closing stages and Jota claimed his third assist by laying the ball back for Abada to finish in style.

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Sport Moritz Jenz and Liel Abada score late on as defending champions Celtic beat Ross County