Gary Hooper's early goal sent Celtic on their way to a comfortable 2-0 win at Dingwall as they avoided another shock against Ross County and bounced back from Old Firm defeat.

Hooper netted from close range after a 14th-minute corner before Scott Boyd's own goal early in the second half removed any doubt about the outcome of the Scottish Communities League Cup third-round tie.

Celtic survived one tense moment in between the goals when Michael Gardyne volleyed against the post but County otherwise did not look like emulating their 2010 Scottish Cup semi-final win over Neil Lennon's men amid torrential rain.

Celtic quickly settled their nerves after a scrappy start when Hooper netted. Daniel Majstorovic was close to connecting with Charlie Mulgrew's inswinging delivery and anthony Stokes retrieved the ball beyond the far post before clipping a cross back in.

Joe Ledley rose to head towards goal and Hooper tapped the ball over the line from two yards in a crowded six-yard box.

Celtic looked to build on their lead and Stokes had a first-time effort deflected over before some desperate defending helped the hosts survive Mulgrew's corner but Celtic survived a scare in the 20th minute when Kelvin Wilson's weak headed clearance was met full on the volley by Gardyne, whose 22-yard strike bounced off the post.

Celtic moved two ahead in the 52nd minute. Michael Fraser held Hooper's 20-yard shot at the second attempt and gave the ball to Iain Vigurs, but the midfielder was caught in possession deep inside his own half.

Celtic eventually worked the ball to Stokes on the right and he sent in a driven cross that was turned home by Boyd without any pressure from a visiting player.

Boyd soon cleared a similar cross from Stokes as Celtic broke and Fraser blocked Hooper's shot after a Ledley knockdown and although the hosts did not drop their efforts, the game petered out in the final quarter.

Irish youngster Paul George almost grabbed his first goal for Celtic moments after coming on when he turned Ledley's low cross towards goal in the closing stages, but Fraser dived to make a brilliant stop.

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Topics:
Football
Anthony Stokes
League Cup
Neil Lennon
Joe Ledley
Kelvin Wilson
Gary Hooper
Charlie Mulgrew