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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 November 2006, 16:53 GMT
Celtic 3-0 Inverness CT
Magic Zurawski and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink celebrate the opening goal
Zurawski and Vennegoor of Hesselink celebrate the opening goal
Celtic moved 18 points ahead of rivals Rangers with a comfortable win against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The visitors almost took the lead in the first minute when Roy McBain's shot was deflected wide by Paul Telfer.

Darren Dods scored an own goal in 43 minutes when he put the ball over the line under pressure from Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

The Dutch forward fired home from 12 yards in 72 minutes and a Jarosik header in 86 minutes clinched victory.

Celtic striker Kenny Miller was ruled out with an ankle injury and his place was taken by Maciej Zurawski.

Defender Paul Telfer recovered from a hip problem and stopper Gary Caldwell overcame a long standing a knee complaint.

Caley had 23-year-old reserve keeper Michael Fraser making only his second SPL start as replacement for regular number one Mark Brown, who was suspended after his dismissal at Hibernian last week.

Inverness threatened the Celtic goal in the first minute when Roy McBain's shot from 18 yards was deflected by Telfer for a corner - but the visitors failed to capitalise on uncertainty in Celtic's defence.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink wasted a great headed chance after six minutes when his attempt flashed wide after he rose to meet Telfer's cross.

Both sides were keen to attack in the opening stages of the game in front of a quiet Celtic Park.

Celtic thought they had opened the scoring in 26 minutes when Inverness failed to clear a corner.

Hoops' defender Stephen McManus powered in a header which Fraser saved at his feet and, as Vennegoor of Hesselink tried to bundle the ball over the line, a mass of Inverness players scrambled the ball clear.

Graham Bayne could have made Celtic pay for that miss when his header slid wide.

Celtic got the opening goal three minutes before the break with a scrappy effort.

Lee Naylor's cross from the left was headed back towards goal by Zurawski, Vennegoor of Hesselink attempted to stab the ball over from a couple of yards out, but Darren Dods appeared to put it into the net.

In the second half Celtic searched for a second goal to ease the pressure and relax the home support.

Lennon and Gravesen both tried shots from distance but could not find the net.

In 59 minutes, Caldwell was replaced by Darren O'Dea after landing awkwardly - casting doubt on his availability for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Manchester United.

Vennegoor of Hesselink banished the anxiety among the home support when he drilled the ball home from 12 yards after collecting a cross from Telfer.

And Jiri Jarosik compounded Inverness' misery when he headed home Maloney's corner.


Celtic: Boruc, Telfer, Caldwell (O'Dea 60), McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Lennon, Gravesen (Jarosik 76), Maloney (McGeady 87), Vennegoor of Hesselink, Zurawski. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Sno, Riordan, Wilson.

Goals: Dods 43 og, Vennegoor of Hesselink 72, Jarosik 85.

Inverness CT: Fraser, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Rankin, McBain, Hastings, Wilson (Wyness 69), Duncan, Bayne, Dargo. Subs Not Used: Smith, McCaffrey, Black, McSwegan, Soane, Sutherland.

Booked: Rankin.

Att: 56,637

Ref: K Clarke.



SEE ALSO
Christie curses first Celtic goal
18 Nov 06 |  Inverness CT


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