Duffy nets on debut in Celtic cruise, Rangers win comes at injury cost

Glasgow (AFP) – Shane Duffy enjoyed a dream Celtic debut as the Irish international scored in a 5-0 thrashing of Ross County in front of 300 fans at Dingwall in a test event for getting supporters back in stadiums.

Rangers eased past Dundee United 4-0 and remain six points clear of their Glasgow rivals at the top of the table, having played two games more. But victory came at a cost as Rangers lost Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Jack, Brandon Barker and Leon Balogun to injuries.

Duffy has joined his boyhood club on loan from Brighton for the season and Neil Lennon switched to a 3-5-2 formation to accomodate his new centre-back.

Odsonne Edouard and Albian Ajeti were paired up front for the first time and both struck inside the first 20 minutes. Edouard won and converted a penalty before Swiss international Ajeti fired home a loose ball inside the area from a Callum McGregor free-kick.

Duffy scored in his first game as Ireland captain last weekend and showed his threat from set-pieces with a commanding header from McGregor’s corner to make it 3-0 after half-time.

Another member of the back three, Kristoffer Ajer, then burst forward to tap home Celtic’s fourth before Patryk Klimala came off the bench to round off the scoring.

Rangers have yet to concede a goal after seven games and easily saw off Dundee United despite the disruption to Steven Gerrard’s team.

Balogun limped off before during the warm-up and was quickly followed by Jack and Barker.

However, Ryan Kent’s scintillating form continued as his jinking run and finish opened the scoring before Rangers’ flying full-backs combined to double the lead as James Tavernier converted Borna Barsic’s cross.

Morelos was left out of the starting line-up by Gerrard for a third straight game with his future still in doubt. But any chance of a big money move in this window may have disappeared as he too had to go off after a horrible challenge from Ryan Edwards left the Colombian with stud marks on his knee.

The absence of their top scorer for the past three seasons did not stop Rangers, as Kemar Roofe and Scott Arfield rounded off the scoring.

Hibs remain second after beating a coronavirus-hit St Mirren 3-0. The hosts had to sign Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal on an emergency loan just hours before the game after all three of their goalkeepers were forced into isolation after two positive COVID tests.

Kevin Nisbet, Joe Newell and Martin Boyle scored for Jack Ross’s men who sit three points behind Rangers.

Aberdeen stretched their winning run to five games with a 1-0 home win over Kilmarnock before a crowd of 300 at Pittodrie as Ross McCrorie scored the only goal.

Motherwell secured their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over St Johnstone, while Hamilton were 2-1 winners at Livingston.

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