Celtic thrash Kilmarnock 5-0 to top SPL table on goal difference

Moritz Jenz and Giorgos Giakoumakis both netted acrobatic efforts as Celtic cruised to a 5-0 victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

Jenz, Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota – with another stunning strike – all notched their second goals of the season as the champions wrapped up three points before half-time.

Substitute Carl Starfelt added a fourth to put Celtic ahead of Rangers on goal difference at the top of the cinch Premiership and Giakoumakis completed the rout with an overhead kick.

An unchanged Celtic side took less than seven minutes to break down their hosts, with former Killie left-back Greg Taylor playing a crucial role.

Taylor’s pass inside Fraser Murray sent Daizen Maeda through the left channel and he squared for Furuhashi to finish off the post.

The visitors remained in control but Killie had a couple of half-chances just before a water break. Kyle Lafferty sent a weak effort straight at Joe Hart from 25 yards after Oli Shaw had got the better of Celtic’s centre-backs, before Murray curled just beyond the far post.

The second goal came out of nothing in the 35th minute. Jota collected a pass from Maeda a unleashed a powerful strike from at least 30 yards which flew into the top corner.

Jota pays tribute (Steve Welsh/PA)

The goalscorer immediately ran towards photographers to show off his sweatband tribute to fellow former Benfica winger Fernando Chalana, who died aged 63 days earlier.

Jota soon had a chance to set up Madea but opted to shoot and was denied by Sam Walker. Killie left-back Jeriel Dorsett injured himself trying to track back following Furuhashi’s pass inside him and was replaced by Calum Waters.

David Turnbull had two efforts blocked before Celtic increased their lead following a stoppage-time corner.

Callum McGregor’s deflected shot broke for centre-back Jenz, who showed a striker’s instinct to hook the ball home on the turn.

Oli Shaw forced Hart into a diving save after latching on to a high ball from the restart but that was Kilmarnock’s last effort of note.

Furuhashi headed against the bar following Turnbull’s free-kick early in the second half.

Starfelt made his first appearance of the season after Jenz walked off after receiving treatment and was soon involved in a flashpoint when Lafferty went down inside the box. The former Rangers striker claimed a penalty but was instead penalised for backing in, and was booked moments later following an aerial clash with Taylor.

Ange Postecoglou made a triple change midway through the half as Giakoumakis, Aaron Mooy and Liel Abada injected more energy into Celtic’s attacking play.

Starfelt scored at the second attempt from close range in the 76th minute after Sam Walker had parried Cameron Carter-Vickers’ corner.

And Giakoumakis finished brilliantly six minutes later after throwing himself into the air to meet a headed clearance.