Celtic’s flag day was marked with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Aberdeen.
A stunning full stadium display pre match was followed by an early Stephen Welsh header along with a terrific long range effort from Jota to make sure of three points in the Hoops’ first game of the season. Here’s how the players rated.
Joe Hart – 7/10
It was a relatively quiet afternoon for Joe Hart in his first competitive game wearing the number one jersey for Celtic. Aberdeen didn’t have many opportunities with the Englishman getting involved in a lot of build up play for his side, coming quite far off his goal line as we seen in pre-season.
Josip Juranovic – 6/10
Getting the nod ahead of Anthony Ralston at right back, Josip Juranovic was adequate in his performance. The Croatian did misplace a few passes, granted, however he remained solid at the back when tested.
Cameron Carter-Vickers – 7/10
Along with the rest of the Celtic backline, Cameron Carter-Vickers was rarely challenged by the Aberdeen frontline. The centre half didn’t standout yet wasn’t noticeably poor, something you probably want from a player in his position.
Stephen Welsh – 9/10
Stephen Welsh brushed away speculation linking him with a move to Toulouse midweek as he put in an admirable performance at the heart of the Celtic defence this afternoon. The academy graduate glanced home from a teasing Matt O’Riley corner three minutes in and was also stout at the back as well as not afraid to step up with the ball and amply ping it around. It is clear to see why Ange Postecoglou sees him as a part of his long term plans.
Greg Taylor – 8/10
Despite competition from new signing Alexandro Bernabei, Greg Taylor got the nod at left back for Celtic today. Going forward, Taylor played some clever passes and at the back was sound. An instance in the first half where the 24 year old managed to deceive a number of Aberdeen players near his own corner flag to quickly transition Celtic onto the attack was particularly pleasing on the eye. Taylor continues to fly under the radar with his performances which proceed to be consistent week in, week out and the left back is undoubtedly a player Ange Postecoglou is a fan of.
Callum McGregor – 7/10
Once again Callum McGregor took up the holding role in the Celtic midfield for today’s game. The captain kept play ticking over for his side and made a few driving runs from deep as he completed 90 minutes.
Reo Hatate – 7/10
Before coming off with a head knock on the 66th minute, Reo Hatate was involved in some bright passages of play for Celtic in the midfield and final third. The Japanese wasn’t particularly astounding but done what he was asked of nonetheless.
Matt O’Riley – 7/10
Constantly involved in play in and around the opposition box, Matt O’Riley disclosed his tremendous set-piece taking ability as he set up Stephen Welsh for the opener early on with a whipped, in-swinging corner. Playing the full game, O’Riley didn’t have many opportunities to score himself although kept moving things forward for the Bhoys.
Jota – 8/10
After a rather quiet first half, Jota stepped up his game in the second 45. Along with Cameron Carter-Vickers, the Portuguese was playing competitively as a permanent Celtic player for the first time today and marked the occasion with a sensational strike. Cutting in from the left hand side, Jota took the ball past Dante Polvara and arrowed an absolute pile-driver of an effort into the top left corner of Kelle Roose’s net to double his team’s lead and all but wrap up three points. It was certainly a goal of the season contender on opening day and a reminder of just what the 23 year old is capable of.
Kyogo – 6/10
Kyogo didn’t have many sightings of goal in the 65 minutes he played however the 27 year old was constantly shutting down the Aberdeen backline, putting testament to his unfeigned work rate. Despite not netting today, you feel it won’t be long before the Japanese gets himself among the goals because he is, well, Kyogo.
Daizen Maeda – 6/10
Operating predominantly on the left hand side today, Daizen Maeda looked sharp and quick as ever, getting a lot of joy down the left hand side in the early stages as he put in numerous crosses before being hooked with just under 25 to play for Liel Abada.
Ange Postecoglou utilised all five substitutes that were available to him today.
Giakoumakis was a thorn in the side of the Aberdeen defence and missed a glorious opportunity to make it 3-0 late on meanwhile Liel Abada was lively on the right hand side. David Turnbull, who scored thrice in pre-season, was passable in midfield and played in Jota for Celtic’s second of the afternoon.
The Hoops’ final two changes of the game saw Matt O’Riley and Josip Juranovic come off for Anthony Ralston and Aaron Mooy. Ralston put in a couple of late challenges with Mooy looking much sharper than he did in his cameo versus Norwich last weekend, keeping it simple in the engine room.
Today’s two goal victory means Celtic have gone top of the league on opening weekend, albeit by a single goal.
It was a dominant display from Ange Postecoglou’s side this afternoon with a trip to Dingwall next up on the agenda.
Three o’clock is the kick off time next Saturday although supporters who aren’t attending the match face somewhat of a nightmare scenario with the game not being shown on any TV channel in the UK.