CELTIC supporters probably never thought they would be pining for the days of straightforward midweek wins in the depths of winter over the Premiership’s lower order, but the return of something approaching the familiarity of old would have been warmly welcomed last night in a season that has been extraordinary for all of the wrong reasons.

Indeed, it is upon such victories that championships are built, and Celtic’s inability to do the expected has cost them dearly so far this term. That story is told in the fact that the win over Ross County at Celtic Park marked the first time they have strung two league wins together since early October.

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So, the perfunctory nature of a triumph that was gained through goals in either half from the excellent David Turnbull and Leigh Griffiths would have been reassuring to Celtic manager Neil Lennon as he looks to use Celtic’s capture of the quadruple Treble on Sunday to return his side to something approaching their former powers.

Lennon had taken a leaf out of the Mike Bassett manual as he plumped for a good old-fashioned 4-4-2 for this one. Kristoffer Ajer tucked back into central defence, there was a diamond midfield full of energy and a rekindling of the strike force that was so potent in the second half of last season as Griffiths came in alongside Odsonne Edouard.

Opposite number John Hughes had little more than the journey time down from Dingwall to get his message across to his new charges, but he did make a couple of tweaks to Stuart Kettlewell’s side that lost to Hamilton on Saturday to seal his fate, with Sean Kelly and Harry Paton coming in for Oli Shaw and Billy McKay.

Celtic started the match camped around the visitors’ area, but they were served an early reminder of the danger posed by Ross Stewart as he glanced a Keith Watson cross wide following an incisive County counter.

Twenty minutes drifted by with not a great deal else to get excited about, but when Celtic made the breakthrough, it was worth waiting for. Jeremie Frimpong was released down the right, and produced a nifty pirouette to leave Josh Reid for dead. His final ball is a part of his game which is often criticised, but this time he got his head up and cut the ball back perfectly from the byline for Turnbull to divert home with a deft flick of his right boot.

There was a huge blow for County as star man Stewart was forced from the action just after the half hour with an injury, with Shaw coming on to spearhead the attack.

The partnership between Griffiths and Edouard wasn’t being given the oxygen to really catch fire by the massed ranks of the visiting defence, but Edouard especially started to find one or two little pockets of air towards the end of the half. He had a couple of shots that caught Ross Laidlaw’s attention, particularly a curling right-foot effort that the goalkeeper grasped at as it flew just past the post.

The start of the second half saw County look to open up a little with the introduction of Jermaine Hylton, and that left some gaps at the other end for the likes of Griffiths to finally exploit. The forward should have done better when played in by a lovely Callum McGregor pass, but he took too long to shift the ball onto his left foot, allowing Alex Iacovittie to block his effort behind.

Griffiths was presented with an even better chance soon after, with County captain Iain Vigurs clearly getting into the spirit of the season by gifting a ludicrous attempt at a passback to the feet of the striker. This time though Griffiths was denied by Laidlaw, who came out to narrow the angle and block his blasted effort.

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To Griffiths’s credit though, his head never went down, and seconds later he used it to good effect to bury the hardest chance of the three he had since the restart. Christie floated a cross to the back post where the striker reacted brilliantly to plant a header back across goal and into the far corner of the net.

Edouard should have added another after fine set-up play by Turnbull, but he was a little ponderous and a sea of County bodies eventually blocked his effort away.

Still, the two-goal cushion was enough for Lennon to pull Turnbull, Edouard and Christie off with 20 minutes remaining, with Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic and Mikey Johnston given a chance to shine, before Griffiths made way for Albian Ajeti.

It had been a decent enough shift from Griffiths, who eventually took his goal well, but there was perhaps evidence in his overall performance to support his manager’s theory that he is still some way from full fitness.

Despite a few flurries around the County box late on, Celtic couldn’t add a sheen to their win that their dominance probably deserved.

Still, a comfortable win and glimpses of a return to the old routine will likely do the Celtic supporters for now.