Brilliant Bhoys crush Killie

In a breathtaking performance, a Kris Commons double and a Gary

Hooper strike had the points tied up for the visitors before the

interval. Anthony Stokes scored a fourth at the start of the second

half and in the end the punch-drunk Ayrshire side were happy not to

concede any more goals. After such a convincing victory Celtic, who

have a game in hand over Rangers, will travel to Ibrox on Sunday

for the last Old Firm clash of the season in confident mood. The

mood around Rugby Park before tonight’s game with Killie was

peculiar. Most of the attention was on Neil Lennon after morning

revelations that parcel bombs had been sent to him, a lawyer and a

politician. The Hoops fans behind both goals sang in support of

their boss and they had something to cheer in the fourth minute

when the electric Commons fired them into the lead. Hooper slipped

the ball to the Scotland midfielder who dispatched his shot from

just inside the box so quickly that Killie goalkeeper Anssi

Jaakkola had no chance. The visitors were clearly fired up and

Kilmarnock, try as they might with some neat passing, could barely

get out of their own half. In the 12th minute Commons flashed a

shot from distance over the bar before, in Killie’s first real

attack moments later, striker William Gros cut the ball back from

the byline after going past Commons but found no takers. Then David

Da Silva tested Fraser Forster from close range after playing a

one-two with midfielder Alexei Eremenko, but the Celtic goalkeeper

blocked with his feet. After another orchestrated vocal show of

support for Lennon from the travelling support which was

acknowledged by the former Hoops skipper, Commons drove wide from a

narrow angle. It was only a matter of time before the second goal

arrived and in the 34th minute, after midfielder Jamie Fowler was

caught in possession by Commons, Hooper again set him up and the

former Derby player confidently slipped the ball past Jaakkola. It

looked all over for the bedraggled home side four minutes from the

break when Hooper drove in number three. The former Scunthorpe

striker took a pass from Stokes, eased past Manuel Pascali and

rifled a shot home from the edge of the box with the help of a

slight deflection. There was no respite for Killie in a whirlwind

start to the second half. From a Commons corner, Stokes forced a

save from Jaakkola seconds before Commons’ angled shot from the

edge of the box crashed off the crossbar. In the 49th minute Stokes

clipped the bar with a curling shot which had beaten the

beleaguered Jaakkola, who soon had to deal with an effort from

James Forrest, in for the injured Joe Ledley. Stokes eventually got

himself on to the scoresheet in the 58th minute after Charlie

Mulgrew’s long pass down the left found Hooper, who controlled the

ball and laid it off to the former Sunderland striker to drive high

past the hapless Jaakkola. Killie were all over the place as the

Celtic support celebrated a sparkling performance from their side

while anticipating more goals. Celtic were toying with Killie at

times and in the 70th minute the overworked Jaakkola had to make a

decent save from Hooper’s point-blank drive. The visitors were not

for letting up and Forrest came close with an angled drive from the

edge of the box with two minutes remaining which sped past the far

post. There was no addition to the scoreline and Lennon took the

acclaim of the Celtic supporters at the end of the match.