Celtic have started the defence of their Premiership title with a win over Ross County in Glasgow as a new top-flight campaign kicked-off.
The Hoops got their quest for a three-in-a-row up and running with a 4-2 win thanks to a double from David Turnbull and one each from Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley at Celtic Park.
Jordan White and James Brown got two back for the visitors but it wasn’t enough to dampen the party atmosphere in what as a good game of football to open the campaign.
Brendan Rodgers’ side will be aiming to emulate the success of last season when they won a domestic treble under former manager Ange Postecoglou.
James Forrest raised the league flag before kick-off just a few days after his testimonial match against Athletic Bilbao.
New signing Maik Nawrocki started the game for his debut, with Carl Starfelt dropping to the bench, but it was Turnbull, who started ahead of Reo Hatate, who was the star of the show with a first-half double that could easily have been a 45-minute hat-trick.
Celtic haven’t lost a league opener at home since 1950, and it never seemed in doubt this time either but Ross County did have the best of the opening stages and came close to opening the scoring twice, most notably when Simon Murray nearly capitalised on a mix-up between Cameron Carter-Vickers and Joe Hart.
The defender played it back to Hart who was forced to try and control it on his chest and it fell to Murray in the box, but the ball rolled away from him as he fell to the ground.
Inevitably County’s spell on top never lasted long and the deadlock was broken after 17 minutes when Turnbull scored from the penalty spot after Greg Taylor was fouled in the box.
Then, probably even more inevitably, last season’s Premiership top-scorer Kyogo got off the mark for this campaign when he doubled the lead ten minutes later.
Turnbull, in what was his first league start since November, made it 3-0 when he fired in a close-range finish following a delightful ball in to the back post from O’Riley as the top assist provider in the country last season started this season like he finished the last.
Jordan White got one back for County with a looping header on the hour-mark to make it 3-1 and give the Highlanders a glimmer of hope of taking something from the game back up north.
But O’Riley put the game beyond them with just over 20 minutes ago when he latched on to a through-ball from Kyogo and produced an emphatic finish past Laidlaw to make it 4-1.
James Brown made it 4-2 when his shot deflected off Carl Starfelt and past Hart in the fifth minute of injury-time.
Six other sides play their first league game of the 2023/24 season in the 3pm kick-offs before Kilmarnock host Rangers in the late clash.
Hibs and St Mirren complete the opening weekend fixtures when they meet at Easter Road on Sunday.