COMEBACK Bhoy David Turnbull marked his first start in NINE months with a double and a Man-of-the-Match award as the champions got their assault on the Premiership underway at a rocking Parkhead on Flag Day.

The smooth midfielder was given the nod by Brendan Rodgers to start ahead of Reo Hatate and the Scotland international didn’t disappoint.

He netted two first-half goals – one from the penalty spot – while Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley hit one apiece.

The sponsors gave the player award to Turnbull, but the other goalscorers did enough to be considered for the honour. Both snapped up their goals superbly while their all-round play was convincing and impressive.

JOY BHOYS…Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada celebrate the Japanese striker’s first goal of the season.

Turnbull’s previous start had come in November although he made multiple substitute appearances last season.

The breakthrough goal arrived via his right foot from the penalty spot in the 17th minute following a perplexingly sloppy start from the champions.

The Highlanders were obviously well up for the challenge and had forced five corner-kicks before the home side stirred from their lethargy and netted the opener.

Debutant Maik Nawrocki played his part with a neat pass to Kyogo who touched it in front of Daizen Maeda. His shot was blocked and the ball swirled into the air.

Greg Taylor attacked the ricochet and was sent sprawling by a clumsy challenge from Josh Sims. Referee Nick Walsh didn’t need any assistance from Greg Aitken in the VAR studio to point to the spot.

Turnbull maintained his composure before sliding the ball to Ross Laidlaw’s left as the keeper took off for his right.

SPOT ON…David Turnbull slots in an impeccable penalty-kicks as Ross Laidlaw goes the wrong way.

Kyogo doubled the advantage in the 26th minute with a goal that combined quick-thinking and swift passing ability. Turnbull nodded the ball in front of the darting Liel Abada on the right.

The Israeli took a touch, looked up and then sent an exquisite angled cross in front of the Japanese hitman who whipped it into the net beyond the exposed and stranded Laidlaw.

And it was Turnbull taking centre stage again three minutes from the interval after some delightful play from mastermind O’Riley on the left.

The classy midfielder bamboozled a defender before racing to the bye-line and cleverly dinking over an inviting cross to the back post.

Turnbull arrived with perfect timing to hit the ball into the ground and it bounced up past the flailing arm of the netminder for a deadly finish.

Celtic began the second period brightly and only a superb reflex save from Laidlaw denied Maeda after the pacy attacker had swooped onto a parry from the County shotstopper from a low O’Riley effort.

HAPPY DAZE…David Turnbull is congratulated after making it 3-0 as Matt O’Riley, Liel Abada, Anthony Ralston and Daizen Maeda join in the celebrations.

The lightning-swift raider pounced to thump in the rebound, but the netminder reacted with equal sharpness to push the ball round the post for a corner-kick.

Unsurprisingly, the pace caught up with Turnbull and he was replaced in the 67th minute by Hatate at the same time Carl Starfelt came on for Nawrocki who could be more than satisfied with his first competitive appearance.

On the hour mark, Malky Mackay’s side hauled one back when Jordan White was allowed to climb at the far post to a left-wing corner-kick delivery and his lazy header looped into the net off the inside of the opposite upright.

Joe Hart should have done so much better and would have been well advised to have gone for the cross. He hesitated and was caught in no-man’s land as the Dingwall forward was virtually unchallenged to claim the goal.

FOUR-MIDABLE…Matt O’Riley is congratulated by Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kyogo Furuhashi after belting in No.4 as the champions rack up three points.

Normal service was resumed in the 73rd minute when O’Riley thrashed in the Hoops’ fourth goal with an unstoppable first-time right-foot drive that raged behind Laidlaw who didn;t have an earthly.

It was a first-class finish to an eye-catching passage of play as Cameron Carter-Vickers picked out Kyogo with a neat ball out of defence and the prolific frontman touched it in front of the midfielder.

O’Riley sized up the situation before firing an effort of pulverising power into the rigging.

Six minutes later, a limping Abada and Kyogo made way for the introduction of Yang Hyun-jun and James Forrest. O’Riley was withdrawn in the 84th minute with Odin Thiago Holm making an appearance.

HOME SWEET HOME…Brendan Rodgers back in the Celic dug-out.

The action was edging to a halt when the visitors claimed a second goal courtesy of Starfelt.

James Brown was allowed to cut inside Taylor onto his left foot and he fairly thrashed a drive at goal. Hart had it covered until the Swedish defender lunged in an attempt to clear and only succeeded in diverting the ball high into the net past his helpless keeper.

The main thing, though, is that Brendan Rodgers’ second coming has been marked with a win and three points and there was a lot to satisfy the Irishman.

But he will know there are other aspects of this display that will warrant attention.

Welcome home, Brendan!

TEAM: Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Nawrocki (sub: Starfelt 67), Taylor; Turnbull (sub: Hatate 67), McGregor, O’Riley (sub: Holm 84); Abada (sub: Yang 79), Kyogo (sub: Forrest 79), Maeda.

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