Brendan Rodgers and Celtic got off to a flyer against their new Glasgow rivals on Saturday. Celtic Park was bouncing as the Premiership Champions smashed the Premiership newcomers 5-1.
The Ibrox oufit were assembled predominantly behind the ball throughout the match. However, they did put together a few decent moves with some neat passing as well.
It has to be said though, at no point did this ever overshadow what Celtic were doing. The five goals scored by the Hoops were spread out over the last sixty minutes of the match.
The goal scored by Mark Warburton’s side was merely an interruption to what Celtic were doing. In fact as was better put by my buddy, this goal sharpened the Hoops up for the second half.
Having drawn first blood thanks to Moussa Dembele on 33 minutes, closely followed by the second on 42 minutes,the Ibrox side must have been thinking they were still in with a chance when they pulled back a goal on 44 minutes thanks to Joe Garner. With no disrespect, Dorus de Vries was culpable for poor positioning.
2-1 at half time was no big issue but it kept us all on our toes regardless. The early stages of the second half saw more impetus from the away side and changes were made by Brendan Rodgers to address this.
Tom Rogic made way for Stuart Armstrong whose impact in the centre of midfield was beginning to look effective. How I have longed to see him play in that position.
He would be involved in much of what happened since he came onto the field on 54 minutes and 7 minutes later was involved in Celtic restroring their two goal lead. Armstrong slipped the ball across to Dembele who played a neat touch through the opposition defence that found a preying Scott Sinclair to score in all of Celtic’s league games so far this season.
In high profile games, players can lose the plot unnecessarily and for Phillipe Senderos he found himself on a secod yellow card for handball,thus reducing his team to ten men. That allowed Celtic to turn the screw further on their Glasgow rivals.
Celtic weren’t finished with this game and more importantly, neither was Dembele. Having scored his first goal with his head andthe second with his right foot, he completed his hatrick in the 83rd minute with a left foot finish.
To wrap things up and demonstrate Celtic’s dominance in this fixture, Armstrong helped himself to goal number five for the Hoops in injury time. I was pleased to see him get a goal given his return to the team and impact since coming on.
This was a game with so many positive talking points for Celtic. Even the post match interviews were a good viewing thanks largely to Scott Brown’s banter and Brenda Rodgers’ respectful assessment of the game.
All the fighting talk from Joey Barton since he dismissed his claims as a Celtic supporter and joined the zombies, didnt help the fact that he was posted missing in this match. His assistant manager’s red card drew more attention than Barton’s derby performance.
Now Celtic sit two points clear at the top of Premiership ahead of Hearts who have now moved up to second place. Celtic still have a game at hand and a 100% record in the league so they are in good form going into Tuesday’s game against Barcelona.