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Celtic Emilio Izaguirre goal during the Scottish Premierships match at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

Celtic Emilio Izaguirre goal during the Scottish Premierships match at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

PA

Celtic's manager Ronny Delia gestures to their supporters following their victory over Kilmarnock in their Scottish Premier League match at Rugby Park

Celtic's manager Ronny Delia gestures to their supporters following their victory over Kilmarnock in their Scottish Premier League match at Rugby Park

Reuters

Celtic's Virgil Van Dijk (right) and Kilmarnock's Ross Barbour during the Scottish Premiership match at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

Celtic's Virgil Van Dijk (right) and Kilmarnock's Ross Barbour during the Scottish Premiership match at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

PA

Celtic's Stefan Scepovic scores his side's second goal of during the Scottish Premierships match at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

Celtic's Stefan Scepovic scores his side's second goal of during the Scottish Premierships match at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

PA

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Celtic Emilio Izaguirre goal during the Scottish Premierships match at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

Celtic closed the gap on Scottish Premiership leaders Aberdeen to one point with a convincing win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

The returning Kris Commons hit the bar twice in the first half before left-back Emilio Izaguirre drove the dominant visitors ahead in the 36th minute.

Striker Stefan Scepovic, also handed a rare start by boss Ronny Deila, made it 2-0 from close range in the 71st minute.

While having a game in hand over the Dons, Deila takes his side off to a winter break in Gran Canaria this morning - they will play PSV Eindhoven and Sparta Prague - with next week's game against St Johnstone cancelled.

And, following such an impressive victory - the scoreline did not come close to reflecting the grip the champions had on a one-sided affair - they will return to resume the title battle full of confidence.

Patience

Deila, though, has clearly lost patience with on-loan Manchester City striker John Guidetti who had failed to hit the net in five appearances.

The Swede's place was taken by Scepovic, who had only scored three times since his £2.3m move from Sporting Gijon in the summer.

Celtic had reportedly been refused permission to train on Killie's artificial pitch ahead of the match. However, the visitors did not appear to have any problems in adapting to the surface and the only surprise was that it took them so long to go ahead.

Celtic completely controlled proceedings in the second half and they sealed the victory on 71 minutes.

Stefan Johansen's corner was headed towards goal by Efe Ambrose, leaving Scepovic to poke the ball over the line from a yard out.

Irish Independent