Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou hailed an “incredible” home debut for Kyogo Furuhashi after the Japan forward netted a hat-trick in a 6-0 victory over Dundee.
The 26-year-old supplied two close-range finishes in the first half and slotted home immediately before going off to a hero’s reception from 24,500 fans midway through the second period.
Postecoglou said: “It’s quite incredible, and he could have probably had a couple more as well.
“I think people see what I’ve seen in him from the past three or four years. It’s not just his goals, it’s his movement and just his willingness to work.
“He closed down players, and I think if anything that buys you more into the kind of person he is, and I think the fans will appreciate that.
“It’s great getting the goals, but when they see his efforts in a defensive sense, they know he’s working for the shirt.”
Postecoglou also praised the “brilliant” Ryan Christie, who set up three goals. The Scotland forward’s contract expires in January and his future remains uncertain but his manager has not given up hope of keeping him.
Pointing to the stands after being asked about Christie’s future, Postecoglou said: “I don’t think I need to twist his arm. I’ve already said that if this doesn’t convince him, I don’t think anything can.
“I’d love to have him as part of the club. All I can do is treat people as I have seen them, and he has been fantastic from the moment I’ve come into the place.
“With the way he’s training and the way he’s playing his football, he’s a fantastic footballer and he suits the way I want to play. But I’m not the master of his future, that’s in his hands.”
The victory put Celtic level on points with Rangers after the champions’ defeat at Tannadice offset the opening loss against Hearts that Postecoglou’s side suffered.
But the nature of it was just as important for Postecoglou after Tom Rogic, Anthony Ralston and Odsonne Edouard’s penalty added to Furuhashi’s hat-trick.
The Australian said: “I know you were all emphasising the fact that we had to get a win to start off our season after last week’s disappointing result, particularly here at home, but I was just as keen for a strong performance.
“That was the pleasing thing, it was a strong performance. We started the game well with really good intent, being aggressive, and we got our goals.
“That gave us the confidence and the best part of it was that we didn’t let up. Right until the end we were still trying to score goals, and I think that sort of intent gives our fans the impression of the kind of team we want to be.”
And, after a first clean sheet in his five matches, Postecoglou added: “There is still stuff we have to work on, it’s far from the finished product, but it was pleasing to see that we were much better in terms of our organisation.”
Dundee manager James McPake felt his team contributed to their own downfall.
“I said before the game, to get anything at a venue like this, you have got to be on top of your game and hope Celtic have an off day,” said McPake, who criticised Jordan Marshall for a “needless” 89th-minute red card for hauling back Liel Abada.
“We were nowhere near as good as we could be. To be fair to Celtic I thought they were excellent but my focus is on Dundee and defensively in particular, as a team, we were really poor.
“We didn’t defend anywhere near well enough as a team and made some very poor decisions throughout the day.”