Celtic’s defence of the Scottish Premiership title has got of to the perfect start. The Hoops hammered St Johnstone 7-0, in a result which puts a marker down to the rest of the clubs in the division.
Dominant midfield display
The star of the show was midfielder Ryan Christie, who scored a hat-trick in a dominant midfield display. There were no poor performances on display from the Hoops on the day. Whilst the defenders didn’t have a lot to do, they managed their workload well.
Manager will be delighted with performance
Manager Neil Lennon will be delighted with Celtic’s display. It will give the Hoops plenty of encouragement for the midweek trip to Romania to play Cluj.
Here we will look at how Neil Lennon’s side performed in the league curtain raiser against St Johnstone:
Scott Bain – 6
It is hard to judge Bain’s performance as he didn’t have a single thing to do. However, he will be pleased to start the domestic season with a clean sheet. Hopefully this will be the first of many for the Hoops number one in the league this season.
Hatem Abd Elhamed – 6
The right-back made his Hoops debut against St Johnstone, and he turned in a decent display. His pace was noticeable, and he looked good in defence as well. Unfortunately his debut ended early in the second-half was a slight injury. Hopefully he recovers in time to face Cluj on Wednesday night.
Nir Bitton – 6
Probably one of his easiest days as a centre-back for the Hoops. Had practically nothing to do in the game. Unlikely to feature at centre-back against Cluj, but he showed that once more he can play as a centre-back in domestic action when called upon.
Kristoffer Ajer – 6
Similarly to Nir Bitton, it is hard to judge Ajer’s performance as he practically had nothing to do. Still, it was good for him to get another game under his belt ahead of the match against Cluj. Depending on Elhamed’s injury, he may end up at right-back in that game, only time will tell.
Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo – 7
Liked to get forward as much as defend. He was solid in defence, and will get plenty of assists for the Hoops going forward this season. Has done well so far for the Hoops. However, he will face his biggest test as a Celtic player when the Hoops play Cluj in the Champions League qualifier.
Scott Brown – 6
A relatively quiet game for the Celtic skipper. He was content to let the forward players in front of him take the glory on the day. However, when called upon he was able to win the ball consistently and recycle it forward. He will be a huge player for the Hoops in Romania.
Callum McGregor – 6
Will be disappointed that he didn’t get his name on the score sheet on a day when Celtic were in rampant form. However, McGregor was his usual consistent self for the team. Didn’t have as much of an impact as a few of his team-mates did, but can be pleased with his performance.
James Forrest – 7
Only thing that let him down on the day was his finishing. Was a constant threat to St Johnstone, and was unfortunate not to find the back of the net. Still, he looks as if he will be a key player for the Hoops as usual this season, and will be hopeful of finding the back of the net soon.
Ryan Christie – 9
A brilliant performance from a player who is arguably the best in Scotland at the moment. Two of his finishes were spectacular, and he has already scored six goals this season. Quickly on his way to become Celtic’s most important player, if he isn’t already. A terrific performance.
Mikey Johnston – 8
Kept up his excellent early season form. Gave Celtic the lead with a touch of glass, as he sent the defender this way and that before finding the back of the net. Looks set to become a first-team regular this season. With the form that Johnston is in, he has more than earned his place in the side.
Odsonne Edouard – 8
Was a constant threat to St Johnstone. Was unlucky not to end up with at least a hat-trick, but can be satisfied with getting his league campaign off to a start with a goal. A bit surprising that he wasn’t substituted with the trip to Romania in mind, however he was very good on the day and took his goal well.
Anthony Ralston (5) replaced Elhamed and didn’t really have much to do, but he could well be involved against Cluj. Olivier Ntcham (6) continued his good return to the side by scoring with his first touch, whilst Leigh Griffiths (6) signalled his return to league action with a brilliant goal.