It is fair to say the Hoops’ performance today was their best ever under Ange Postecoglou as Kyogo and Liel Abada both netted respective hat-tricks whilst the likes of Jota, Carl Starfelt and Josip Juranovic also got on the scoresheet.
Let’s see how each player rated in today’s glorious win, which restored the Bhoys’ two-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Joe Hart – 8/10
Despite a colossal 9-0 victory, Joe Hart did have some saves to make today. The Englishman was alert when called into action to preserve his side’s clean sheet and showed great bravery to carry on after the boot of Steven Fletcher came crashing off his head early on.
Josip Juranovic – 8/10
The Croatian right-back opened his account for the season but not from the penalty spot, as many would have expected. In fact, Juranovic’s first goal of the 2022/23 season was a long-range effort as he finished into the bottom corner following a Celtic free-kick which rebounded off Kyogo. The 27-year-old also got up and down the right-hand side with ease, playing the full 90 minutes for the fourth time in a row.
Cameron Carter-Vickers – 8/10
Cameron Carter-Vickers remained stout at the back for Celtic today. The American central defender read the game superbly and helped his team build numerous attacks from the back with his calmness on the ball. The £6m the Hoops splashed out on the 24-year-old continued to pay dividends as the weeks go on.
Carl Starfelt – 8/10
After bagging his maiden Celtic goal against Kilmarnock a few weeks ago, Carl Starfelt doubled his goal tally for the club with a sublime glancing header which kissed the post as it went in today. The Swede may not have enjoyed his physical battle with Steven Fletcher, although the threat posed by the veteran striker seemed to fade as the match went on. Starfelt certainly presented his case to start over Moritz Jenz in the Celtic defence well with his performance today, and it will be intriguing to see which of the pair gets the nod on Wednesday night in Dingwall, as it is fair to say Cameron Carter-Vickers is fairly nailed on to start.
Greg Taylor – 7/10
The left-back may have been disappointed not to get in on the act today, although Greg Taylor carried out his job effectively. The 24-year-old did have an effort whistle wide of the post early in the second half, although was relatively quiet going forward other than that but as mentioned, didn’t seem to put a foot wrong otherwise.
Callum McGregor – 8/10
The Celtic captain took up his regular holding role in midfield today, keeping play ticking over and making several forward-thinking passes. It was a sufficient display from Callum McGregor, with the 29-year-old unfortunate not to net his side’s tenth of the match after being moved further forward as a result of Aaron Mooy’s introduction.
Reo Hatate – 9/10
Making his first start since a return from injury, Reo Hatate was a key figure for Celtic in midfield today. The Japanese midfielder was a class act, playing several eye-pleasing, positive passes and getting in behind to set up Liel Abada for a goal that was not too dissimilar to the iconic third in the Glasgow Derby back in February, both in terms of look and contributors. Hatate was replaced just past the hour mark by David Turnbull yet still managed to affect the game conclusively before coming off.
Matt O’Riley – 9/10
The Danish midfielder brushed aside speculation of a big move away from Celtic today as he, along with a lot of his teammates, played the best he has thus far this season. O’Riley bagged two assists, firstly to set up Kyogo for the Japanese’s second of the afternoon and secondly to play in Liel Abada for the Israeli’s first. It is no wonder the 21-year-old is attracting a wealth of interest, although his primary focus right now seems to be on Celtic.
Liel Abada – 10/10
A hat-trick and assist, Ange Postecoglou’s decision to start Liel Abada ahead of Daizen Maeda was a master stroke. The young Israeli winger netted three goals within 27 second-half minutes. Two of his trio were almost identical as he tapped in from close range with his third a classy chip which showed maturity way beyond his years. As well as displaying his goalscoring abilities, Abada also showed the creative side of his game amply as he countlessly broke the lines with some tremendous passes and set up Kyogo for his hat-trick goal. Today’s performance showed just how mighty the 20-year-old’s potential is.
Kyogo Furuhashi – 10/10
Along with Liel Abada, the Japanese striker is the first player to earn full marks in this season’s player ratings. Kyogo opened the scoring early on when he finished with composure after a sweeping move which cut open Dundee United’s rearguard. He then bagged his second five minutes from halftime with a wonderful effort from outside the box, which bent into the top corner. The 27-year-old’s hat-trick goal would follow not long after as he instinctively tapped into an empty net from a few yards out to complete an outstanding performance which was one of his foremost in a Celtic shirt. The comparisons between Henrik Larsson and Kyogo, although potentially ludicrous, are clear to see.
Jota – 9/10
Celtic ‘superstar from Portugal’ undoubtedly lived up to that billing today, bagging himself a goal and assist. He set up Kyogo for the first of many with a classy, first-time, low cross and got himself on the scoresheet with a close-range finish that admittedly did look offside in the replay. Nonetheless, Jota is now up to seven-goal contributions in just five league matches so far this campaign, astoundingly averaging a goal or assist every 59 minutes to put testament to his sheer quality, prestige and elegance.
All five available substitutes were utilised by Ange Postecoglou today, with the Australian making four at the same time just after the hour mark. Jota, Kyogo, O’Riley and Hatate were replaced by James Forrest, Daizen Maeda, David Turnbull and Aaron Mooy.
Aaron Mooy was a figure of experience and composure in the holding role, failing to misplace any passes and making sure the tempo was as high as ever with Daizen Maeda being his lively self in attack, setting up Liel Abada with a clever through ball on the spin.
The Hoops’ final change saw Alexandro Bernabei come on with just over ten to play as he replaced Liel Abada and took up a position on the left wing.
Despite two cosmic matches against both Rangers and Real Madrid next Saturday and the following Tuesday, the focus for Celtic and Ange Postecoglou will now be fixed on Wednesday evening’s league cup last 16 tie with Ross County in Dingwall.
It is certain Malky Mackay and his squad will have had a wealth of fear put into them after watching Celtic’s wrath be ruthlessly released today in a historic victory that will assuredly live long in the memory of the Hoops faithful all over the world.