Celtic breezed into the quarter finals of the Premier Sports Cup in the Highlands on Wednesday evening as they defeated Ross County by four goals to one.
Wholesale changes were made by Ange Postecoglou although this didn’t mean his team’s groove was messed up. Here’s how the players rated.
Benjamin Siegrist – 7/10
Making his competitive debut in goal for Celtic, Benjamin Siegrist didn’t seem to put a foot wrong. The Swiss ‘keeper did appear slightly hesitant to come off his line at times yet was comfortable with the ball at his feet and made a substantial save with the score at 3-1 to Celtic in the second half. Joe Hart wasn’t in the squad tonight and it is odds-on Siegrist will start against Rangers on Saturday should the Englishman not return to fitness in time.
Anthony Ralston – 8/10
As well as providing defensive acumen, Anthony Ralston also contributed going forward this evening, registering two assists. His clever flick set up Giorgos Giakoumakis for the Hoops’ second of the night with the Scot also getting high on the right to put it on a plate for James Forrest late on. To put it simply, tonight we seen a vintage Anthony Ralston display although it is almost certain Josip Juranovic will be restored to the lineup at the weekend.
Stephen Welsh – 7/10
Before he came off injured on the 56th minute, Stephen Welsh was mature in defence, bringing the ball out amply from the back. The 22 year old rattled the crossbar early doors from a corner as he looked to add to his single goal thus far in the 2022/23 campaign which came on flag day against Aberdeen.
Moritz Jenz – 7/10
Not much threatened Moritz Jenz in central defence tonight. The German was calm and composed with the ball at his feet as he continued to go neck and neck with Carl Starfelt for the coveted spot next to Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Alexandro Bernabei – 7/10
Many a Celtic fan were eager to see Alexandro Bernabei in action this evening and they would get their wish with the Argentinian full back playing the full 90. Driving up and down the left, Bernabei looked a dangerous attacking threat although lacked that crucial bit of end product het at 21, has plenty of time to develop.
Aaron Mooy – 8/10
The Australian midfielder kept it simple in the middle of the park throughout the match, playing countless accurate passes yet also winning tackles and dealing with opposition threats. Mooy’s experience shone through in the engine room as the 31 year old stood out with his performance being a key positive to take from tonight’s game.
Callum McGregor – 8/10
Due to Aaron Mooy’s inclusion to the Celtic starting eleven, captain Callum McGregor was able to be pushed slightly further forward in midfield. And this alteration was evident with the 29 year old’s first half strike which opened the scoring. A quick worked corner saw McGregor finish, albeit via a deflection, from close range with his effort from outside the box in the second 45 leading to his side’s third of the evening. Overall, it was a productive night’s work for the Scotland international who was spared on the 76th minute.
David Turnbull – 7/10
David Turnbull played the full match in the Celtic midfield tonight, cleverly manufacturing his team’s opener with a quickly taken corner. Moreover, the 23 year old looked sharp and ever creative with his intelligent through pass opening up the Ross County defence for Celtic’s fourth of the tie.
Liel Abada – 6/10
After a second half hat-trick against Dundee United on Sunday, Liel Abada got the nod once more this evening. The Israeli international, though, wasn’t the liveliest player on the park and was replaced by Jame Forrest just prior to the hour mark, a change which likely means Abada will start this Saturday’s Glasgow derby.
Giorgos Giakoumakis – 8/10
It was widely anticipated Giorgos Giakoumakis was going to start tonight in spite of Kyogo’s treble at the weekend and this is precisely what transpired. As ever, the Greek provided a totally different dynamic to that given by the Japanese with Giakoumakis’ physicality up top proving useful. The striker doubled Celtic’s lead on the 25th minute as he controlled well, wrong-footed Alex Iacovitti with a clever dummy and fired into the bottom corner with his weaker left foot to bag his third of the campaign so far.
Daizen Maeda – 8/10
Fast as lightning on the left hand side, Daizen Maeda was sharp as a tac this evening. The Japanese was always willing to run in behind and his ferocity was exemplified as he pounced upon Callum McGregor’s rebounded effort to net his first of the season. It will be intriguing to see who gets the start between Maeda and Liel Abada on Saturday as it is fair to say Jota and Kyogo are rather nailed in the lineup.
Apart from being slightly over-powered in the air by Jordan White for Ross County’s only goal, Starfelt was adequate. On the other hand, James Forrest did look rather energetic on the right hand side when he came on and bagged his team’s fourth of the night with an accurate first time finish from inside the box as he made it 14 consecutive seasons in which he’s scored for Celtic.
McCarthy didn’t particularly do anything of note in midfield although it is fair to say Haksabanovic looked rather vivacious on the left wing in his first Celtic appearance. The Montenegrin drove at the County defence when given the opportunity and played some dangerous balls across goal in a hugely encouraging cameo.
Following tonight’s match, Celtic were drawn to face Motherwell at Fir Park in the quarter finals of the Premier Sports Cup. The tie will take place between the 18th and 20th of October although let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Full focus for Ange Postecoglou and his players will now be on Saturday’s Glasgow derby after several positives were taken from tonight’s victory. These include a lack of change in intensity of performance in spite of the changes made, some encouraging individual performances and yet more well taken goals scored.