Scottish champions Celtic delivered a much-improved performance to see off St Johnstone at Parkhead this afternoon, with the Hoops having been criticised by their manager Ange Postecoglou for their display during the narrow win over Livingston in midweek.
The 57-year-old had suggested that his side had been “not so good” against David Martindale’s men despite sealing all threee points, but that criticism appeared to have “lit a fire” in his players – in the words of journalist John McGinley – as the league leaders produced a rampant display against the Saints today.
Two goals apiece from Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate ensured that the points were well and truly wrapped up inside the opening 52 minutes, with only a late consolation from Drey Wright – and a stoppage-time dismissal for David Turnbull – somewhat blotting the copybook for the hosts.
The performance of Hatate in particular caught the eye as the Japan international produced a “masterclass” in his makeshift right-back role according to McGinley, while compatriot Kyogo was just as influential as he surged his way to the top of the scoring charts in the Premiership.
Another player who was also vital in sealing Celtic’s 11th consecutive league win was returning World Cup star Aaron Mooy, with the playmaker “strolling it” in midfield (as per journalist Sean Martin) in what was a typically classy and controlled performance.
Having been “immense” in Qatar for his country, according to journalist Josh Bunting, the Australian has seemingly brought that rich vein of form back to Glasgow, having excelled at Parkhead today.
The 32-year-old registered a simple assist for Hatate’s thunderous opener, although it was his involvement in the Hoops’ third goal which was particularly impressive, having split the defence with a delightful dinked pass for James Forrest to set up Kyogo’s finish.
That was one of three key passes that the former Brighton and Hove Albion man produced from his 88 touches, having also enjoyed an eye-catching 88% pass accuracy rate as a marker of his composure on the ball.
The ‘heart of everything’ for Celtic on the day, Mooy produced a simply ‘outstanding’ performance – as per Glasgow Live‘s Ryan Thorn – having certainly made his mark on his recall to the starting line-up.
That performance, which earned the 57-cap stalwart a solid 7.3 match rating from Sofascore, will no doubt have given Postecoglou food for thought moving forward, and there is now undoubtedly some real competition for places in midfield for the Hoops.