As we prepare for a trip to the only ground in Scotland where Celtic have tasted defeat this season, we can look back over the last two wins against St Johnstone and Hibernian to gauge our current form.
The controlled and comprehensive victory over Hibs on Wednesday night was the type of response demanded by Brendan Rodgers and the supporters after a Jekyll and Hyde display in Perth.
Rodgers rotated the starting XI to spark a reaction, and he got just that as his big calls paid off. Oh Hyeon-gyu, in particular, stepped into Kyogo Furuhashi’s berth and grabbed a brace. The manager got his line-up bang-on and it has given him selection dilemmas ahead of Celtic’s visit to Rugby Park tomorrow.
Palma stars again
Luis Palma was at the top of his game against Hibs, as he played a starring role in Celtic’s 4-1 victory. The Honduran has been a creative force for Celtic in the wide areas this season and, after the wingers came under a lot of criticism following Sunday’s match at McDiarmid Park, his performance on Wednesday night was a perfect way to silence the critics.
Palma put in a pin-point delivery for Celtic’s opener as Cameron Carter-Vickers’ header was diverted home by Oh Hyeon-gyu. He was excellent out wide to put the ball on a plate for Matt O’Riley’s goal that gave the team a two-goal cushion, and he made up for his penalty woes against Motherwell by slotting home comfortably from 12-yards to give Celtic a three-goal lead.
With Daizen Maeda and Liel Abada both back in training and looking to work their way back into the team, Luis Palma will be doing all that he can to keep them out of the side.
Oh takes his chance
The massive decision that Brendan Rodgers made prior to the game was dropping Celtic’s Japanese talisman for the South Korean forward, but it was a decision that massively paid off for the former Leicester City boss.
He was in the right place at the right time to tap Celtic ahead and he showed all of his strongest qualities when he fired in Celtic’s fourth goal of the game.
The 22-year-old striker easily outmuscled the Hibernian defender before slotting a composed finish past David Marshall to cap off a performance that sent a message to Brendan Rodgers that he must start against Kilmarnock at the weekend.
Freedom in midfield
Since the injury to Reo Hatate, Brendan Rodgers has given starts to Odin Holm, David Turnbull and Paulo Bernardo. One player who waited patiently on the call was Tomoki Iwata, but his chance finally came on Wednesday night.
It was a change that allowed for more defensive solidity, given Iwata’s strengths in that aspect of the game, but it also allowed for more creative freedom for Callum McGregor.
Many supporters have been calling for the captain to be deployed further up the park, a position that he thrived in during Brendan Rodgers’ first tenure as Celtic boss, and he showed a lot of those creative qualities against Hibs during the week.
If there was an award for Assist of the Season, McGregor would be in the running for that already for his throughball to Oh in the 55th minute.
JAMES MCKENZIE // Follow James HERE