Celtic Destroy Kilmarnock with 27 Minute Goal Blitz

A stunning 4 goal blitz inside the opening 27 minutes at Rugby Park saw Celtic blow away their hosts and take another step towards retaining the title.

Goals from Kyogo, Maeda, and a Matt O’Riley double had the Hoops four up inside half an hour before Liam Donnelly scored a consolation shortly before the break.  The second half, while goal less, was a mere formality for Celtic who now move to within 7 points of being crowned Champions for the 53rd time.

Major Absences, No Concerns

The pre-match discussion centred around the surprise omissions of Carter-Vickers and Jota from the match day squad.  Ange had not hinted at either players absence at Friday’s press conference, however, concerns over the artificial surface was confirmed as the reason why neither player was considered for selection.

Carter-Vickers and Jota dropping out and joining Hatate, Abadaa, and James Forrest on the missing list provided an opportunity for some of the fringe players to stake a claim for a place in the side.

Yuki Kobayashi, Tomoki Iwata, and Sead Hakšabanović all started with hotly tipped prospects Ben Summers and Rocco Vata on the bench.

Celtic began in blistering style and opened the scoring after 6 minutes. Kyogo latched on to a slack back pass by Fraser Watson before bearing in on goal and placing a shot beyond Sam Walker.

The goal was Kyogo’s 29th of the season and Celtic’s 99th league goal of the campaign.

Goal number 100 arrived just 6 minutes later when Daizen Maeda stole in at the back post to head home an Alistair Johnston cross.

Kilmarnock were left stunned and shell shocked by the start Celtic had made and their afternoon went from bad to worse on 18 minutes when Matt O’Riley ended the game as any sort of a contest.

The Danish U21 international received an inch perfect pass from Greg Taylor and, under pressure, cooly dispatched his effort into the net to give Celtic a 3-0 lead.

There was even time for Kyogo to miss a penalty before O’Riley added his second to leave the Celts four up inside the opening 30 minutes.

Not for the first time this season, Celtic had the game wrapped up before their opponents had managed to lay a glove on them.  The ruthlessness of Celtic’s attack that has become a trademark of the season was once again evident, as was the control with which Iwata and McGregor were dominating the midfield.

Kilmarnock made changes after losing the fourth goal and did force a consolation towards the end of the first half, however by the time Donnelly’s shot hit the net, the game was already over.

The Calm After the Blitz

Oh was introduced at the start of the second half, given an opportunity to impress under the watchful eyes of national coach Jurgen Klinsmann.  The South Korean went closest to scoring on 75 minutes, knocking a near post cross from fellow sub Vata narrowly wide of target.

Vata, son of ex-Celt Rudi Vata, entered the fray on 67 minutes and showed some glimpses of his undoubted talent during his time on the pitch.  The Irish youth international was confident and assured in possession, and showed good vision more than once as he looked to create goal scoring opportunities.

At 17 years of age, young Vata looks like an exciting prospect and one who should expect to see an increase in playing time once the league is officially won.  Vata was joined by fellow B team graduate Ben Summers for the closing minutes as the 18-year-old made his first team debut.

 Vata and Summers Making the Grade

While the second 45 may not have lived up to the first, the introduction of Vata and Summers was a noticeable high point.  Both are exciting young talents and it is always great to see the Academy payers make the breakthrough to first team level.

Of the fringe players thrust into action today, Kobayashi was solid defensively alongside Carl Starfelt.  Naturally left footed, Kobayashi brought additional balance to the defence and his composed passing out from the back was a real highlight.

Tomoki Iwata continued his recent good form in midfield, complimenting Callum McGregor expertly in the centre park.  Combative when needed and assured on the ball, Iwata is already showing signs of being another excellent capture from the Japanese market.

Up front, Hakšabanović struggled to find his rhythm on the right wing and made little impact on the game.  The Montenegrin’s effort could not be faulted, however, his performance was outshone by sub Vata who looks to be a more natural option on the right than Hakšabanović.  A late switch to the left did see his impact increase slightly, but by this time the intensity had dropped from the game and Celtic’s attacking in general was not a precise as earlier in the game.

Champagne on Ice

The opening 30 minutes had allowed Celtic the luxury of a relaxed second 45. The three points were safely in the bag as was the 100-goal milestone.  With 6 games left to play, Celtic sit 12 points clear.

The champagne is on ice and chilling nicely.

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