With a number of important games on the horizon, Brendan Rodgers was always going to shuffle his pack for the visit of Kilmarnock in the BetFred Cup last night.
He knew he’d be without the suspended captain Scott Brown, and with his usual understudy Mikael Lustig rested, the gaffer chose 20 year-old Kieran Tierney to skipper a much changed side from Saturday’s opening day win against Hearts.
Celtic started, and finished, the game with Anthony Ralston (18), Kristoffer Ajer (19), Kieran Tierney (20) and Calvin Miller (18) as their back four. Koussi Eboue (19) and Kundai Benyu (19) also featured in the starting eleven, though Eboue went off injured in the second half, after an impressive first 45.
Brendan sprinkled enough experience throughout the side, Craig Gordon, Jonny Hayes, Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths to help the young Bhoys out.
And it worked a treat.
After taking the lead courtesy of a 14th minute Leigh Griffiths penalty, Kilmarnock never really lay a glove on this Celtic side. Further goals from Anthony Ralson, a debut header on 21 minutes and another Leigh Griffiths strike on 29 minutes, effectively finished the game as a contest.
The second half was much more of the same, with the Hoops keeping total control of the ball, but will be forever remembered for captain for the night, and man of the match, Kieran Tierney’s 35-yard screamer on 65 minutes!
Stuart Armstrong completed the scoring six minutes later after another strong run and cross by Anthony Ralston, who was a good candidate for man of the match himself.
The stats show a comfortable 5-0 victory for the cup holders, with an impressive 70% possession, against another Premiership team. Incredibly, it was also the InVIncibles 50th domestic match unbeaten under Brendan Rodgers tenure.
A wonderful achievement.
And more importantly, the future’s bright, it’s without doubt, green and white!