Celtic made to work hard for victory
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Celtic recorded their seventh straight victory in the Scottish Premier League but they were made to work hard for a 1-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Sunday.

The only goal of the game came in the third minute as Celtic's first attack ended with a fine finish from Kris Commons to ensure the Glasgow giants have scored in every league fixture in 2013.

Anthony Stokes should have added to Celtic's advantage on the half hour mark but it wasn't all one-way traffic as goalkeeper Fraser Forster kept out efforts from Aaron Doran, Graeme Shinnie and Billy McKay as Inverness finished the first half the stronger of the two sides.

Celtic looked more comfortable in the second half with Commons coming close to adding to his tally of 15 for the season on a couple of occasions while at the other end the Hoops defence held firm to secure their fifth consecutive clean sheet in the league.

The result means Celtic have made it to the New Year undefeated in the Scottish Premier League for only the fifth time in their history and sees them move 14 points clear at the top of the table ahead of the rest of Sunday's matches.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon thought his side could have done better in the final third of the pitch but was delighted with another victory.

"It was a great win and another clean sheet. We had to work hard for it but that's back to back victories away from home and 18 games unbeaten," said Lennon. "It is a fantastic achievement and the players are giving us everything."

Inverness manager John Hughes was disappointed with the goal his side conceded but was happy with how his side competed.

"We gave them a goal of a start. We gave the ball away and got done by a one two and then a wonderful finish," Hughes said. "But we competed, we worked their goalkeeper a couple of times, our ball retention was good and the shape of the team was good. Celtic knew they were in a game today, that's for sure."

In an explosive start Celtic took the lead as they sliced through the Inverness defence in their first attack. Georgios Samaras and Commons played a neat one two before the latter drilled a low angled shot through the legs of keeper Dean Brill.

The home side looked stunned but quickly regained their composure and Doran soon forced a good save out of Forster with a rasping first time shot after Ross Draper found him in space 20 yards out.

The Hoops could have increased their lead on the half hour mark when Emilio Izaguirre's cross made it to Stokes at the back post but the Irish striker pulled his shot wide of the target from close range.

Moments later McKay should have done better when a cross found him unmarked in the box but his weak header was straight at Forster.

Inverness continued to press for an equaliser and English international Forster had to be alert to stop a ferocious strike from Shinnie on the stroke of half time.

The keeper was called into action immediately after the break to turn a Shinnie shot round the post for a corner. Commons came close to a second on the hour mark when Stokes sent a decent delivery into the box and the midfielder's clever flick went narrowly wide.

Samaras and Stokes then combined to set up Commons for a shot that Brill superbly saved before Scott Brown fired the rebound wide.