Rodgers celebrates new deal with Killie win

Alistair WATSON
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"I really enjoyed watching the team today and I thought collectively they were outstanding," said Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

Freshly anointed Scottish Premiership champions Celtic got back to winning ways as they defeated Kilmarnock 3-1 at Parkhead on Saturday.

Stuart Armstrong fired the Hoops into a half-time lead before Jordan Jones equalised in the second half.

Scott Sinclair quickly restored Celtic's advantage before James Forrest headed in to seal victory.

It ended a run of two consecutive draws at Celtic Park as manager Brendan Rodgers celebrated signing his new four-year contract on Friday with his side's 29th win from 32 league games.

"I really enjoyed watching the team today and I thought collectively they were outstanding," Rodgers said.

"We were playing against a team that sat in, but we showed patience in the game, we showed quality and then we got the goals."

Kilmarnock's interim manager Lee McCulloch had no complaints.

"I thought in the first half we were affected by a fear factor as individuals and as a team," he said.

"Celtic are a very good team and we didn't deserve to win, but maybe on another day we could have stolen a point."

Celtic made five changes for the visit of Kilmarnock as Rodgers restored his strongest starting XI following the mid-week draw with Partick Thistle.

The Hoops looked in the mood as they dominated possession, but struggled to create clear-cut chances as Killie put 10 men behind the ball.

The champions needed a moment of inspiration and it came from Armstrong in the 22nd minute.

Callum McGregor won the ball back after a Celtic attack broke down and rolled the ball to Armstrong, who let fly from 25 yards with a sizzling low strike that flew into the bottom corner.

Celtic started the second half in the same dominant manner, but it was Killie who equalised against the run of play in the 65th minute.

Connor Sammon's strike was deflected into the path of Jones, whose effort took a nick off a Celtic player on its way past goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Kilmarnock were only on level terms for six minutes as Sinclair fired Celtic in front again.

A Celtic free-kick was headed back across the six-yard box by Dedryck Boyata and Patrick Roberts was alert enough to cut the ball back for the English winger to tap home from close range.

Australian international Tom Rogic replaced McGregor and the midfielder had an instant impact as he set up Sinclair for a shot that was cleared off the line.

Fellow substitute Moussa Dembele, back after two weeks out with injury, had a hand in Celtic's third as his deflected shot came back off the post to Forrest, who headed home from close range.

Elsewhere, Partick Thistle sealed their place in the top six with a 1-0 win over Motherwell.

St Johnstone closed to within three points of Rangers, who visit Aberdeen on Sunday, with a 3-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Inverness.