Giorgos Giakoumakis scores another hat-trick as Celtic move six points clear of Rangers


Giorgos Giakoumakis scored a back-to-back hat-trick from Parkhead as Celtic took a six-point lead at the Premiership top with a 4-0 rout of Ross County to 10.

A brace from the Greek striker and a block from compatriot Daizen Maeda preceded Kayne Ramsay’s sending off for a foul on Tom Rogic, with all that drama unfolding in the opening 28 minutes.

The Hoops’ onslaught continued in the second half with Giakoumakis scoring an hour-time penalty for another hat-trick following his hat-trick at home to Dundee last month.

The pressure shifts to second-placed Rangers, who travel to Dundee on Sunday.

However, Celtic have not lost a league game since a 1-0 defeat at Livingston in September and, with seven league games remaining, show no signs of letting up with their trip to Ibrox after the international break takes place. even more importance.

Battered and battered County, meanwhile, must recover from their first defeat in four games as they attempt to finish in the first half.

There was a minute of applause before the game in tribute to former Celtic coach and caretaker boss Frank Connor, who recently died aged 86 before Jota, who returned with Rogic, started a convincing performance from Hoops shooting just over the bar.

County appeared to settle into the game but were initially undone when Jota fired a cross towards the back post where Giakoumakis rose highest to head from close range for his 10th of the season.

Moments later, Staggies striker Joseph Hungbo shouted a handball penalty into the County penalty area, but referee Don Robertson waved on.

However, the home side didn’t have to wait too long for their second and Giakoumakis once again put their header to good use.

The Greek striker’s first effort, after Jota’s cross to the back post was returned by Maeda, was cleared off the line by centre-back Jack Baldwin, but the striker simply sent the ball back into the corner fillet.

County keeper Ross Laidlaw made saves from a Maeda header and a drive from Callum McGregor, but from the final corner in the 26th minute the league leaders added a third.

Jota’s delivery was directed by Giakoumakis towards Maeda, who caught Laidlaw on the wrong foot from a few yards.

Things escalated for the visitors moments later when Ramsay, on loan from Southampton, was shown a direct red for a challenge on Rogic which infuriated Hoops fans.

Keith Watson replaced Hungbo as County boss Malky Mackay was reshuffled, with Rogic limping off to be replaced by Matt O’Riley, who moved close with a drive from the edge of the box.

Celtic pressure was relentless before and after the break and when referee Robertson ruled County defender Alex Iacovitti had managed inside the box, Giakoumakis sent Laidlaw the wrong way with the penalty to claim another match ball.

There was a bonus for Hoops fans in the 73rd minute when midfielder David Turnbull came off the bench after a three-month layoff with a torn hamstring, County holding on desperately to avoid further punishment .

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