ALL good things must come to an end – and so it proved for Brendan Rodgers and Celtic at Rugby Park this afternoon.

The second time-around Hoops manager went into this Viaplay League Cup encounter with an impeccable record in domestic Cup competitions in his previous spell at the club.

Twenty-four games, twenty-four wins. However, the twenty-fifth proved to one too many and the holders, who have won the trophy six times in the past seven years, relinquished their grip on the silverware in an afternoon to forget in Ayrshire.

The champions got lost in a maze of mistakes and misplaced passes and there was an alarming lack of ingenuity and quality about a team that were outmuscled by opponents who did nothing that should have surprised anyone.

We knew they would scrap for every morsel and throw themselves into tackles while contesting everything from start to finish.

ON THE RUN…Kyogo Furuhashi races away from Killie’s Daniel Armstrong.

For whatever reason, the Hoops did not match that vigour on this occasion and too many players just did not step up to the plate. Liel Abada was virtually anonymous before he was replaced by Yang Hyun-jun in the 64th minute at the same time Odin Holm was withdrawn for the introduction of David Turnbull.

Greg Taylor and Daizen Maeda toiled throughout and Kyogo Furuhashi went missing after the interval as the fierce confrontation developed into a mess of clattering challenges with very little football on display.

The only goal of a scrappy Cup-tie arrived in the 59th minute when Killie took advantage of Celtic being down to 10 men with Taylor off the pitch for treatment following an elbow in the face from Daniel Armstrong.

The ball was played to Armstrong who all too easily skipped past Maeda before whipping over a pass from the right.

The Hoops defence was slow to react and Marley Watkins slid in at the back post to divert the ball beyond the exposed Joe Hart.

The visitors called for offside and VAR was called in for a judgement. However, images showed the Killie player was marginally onside.

It was that type of day for Celtic – if it could go wrong it most assuredly would.

And the visitors couldn’t say they weren’t warned. It took a superb flying save from Hart to repel a thunderous drive from Kyle Magennis just two minutes before the winner arrived.

HEADING FOR A FALL…Odin Holm is sent spinning to the ground.

New Bhoy Gustaf Lagerbielke saw a lot of the ball on his debut as the Hoops failed to impose themselves on the midfield.

The Swede was being forced to play the ball long with his team-mates failing to click against stubborn opponents who were snapping into challenges all over the pitch.

Norwegian Holm, making his first start, was clattered a few times and looked more than a little puzzled when he was sent sprawling by a wayward challenge from David Watson that was ignored by referee Alan Muir.

Captain Callum McGregor was finding it difficult to take control and he never had to look too far for the suffocating presence of Magennis when the ball was in his vicinity.

Lagerbielke’s immediate introduction to Scottish football was to gift the hosts a corner-kick inside two minutes with a passback to Hart that picked up pace off the plastic pitch on its way to the keeper.

It was almost costly with left-back Corrie Ndaba rising unchallenged from 12 yards to thump in a header that was uncomfortably close.

The defender did likewise in stoppage time in the first-half with another header at the back post after a right-wing cross from former Celt Stuart Findlay. He failed to hit the target again, but it would have been a source of concern for the Hoops manager to see his defence’s lack of awareness at both incidents.

It wasn’t all one-way and Kyogo had two opportunities to claim the breakthrough goal.

UP FOR THE CUP…new Bhoy Odin Holm shows his commitment.

In the fifth minute, the visitors put together a sequence of passes to unlock the Killie back-door. Lagerbielke was involved with a pass out to Maeda on the left and he switched it inside to Matt O’Riley who knocked a slide-rule pass to Holm running free on the left.

He whipped in a low cross, but Kyogo’s balance was just off and he screwed his attempt wide of the left-hand post.

The Japanese international then made an opening for himself when he robbed Armstrong of the ball and headed straight for the danger zone.

He raced in from the right, but had no support from a colleague. He was left with no alternative but to try a drive from a tight angle and keeper Will Dennis blocked the shot at his near post.

And the netminder also denied the Hoops earlier in the encounter when O’Riley was sent through, but the midfielder failed to hit his shot with power or precision and the Killie No.1 made a comfortable save.

END OF THE ROAD…Marley Watkins races away after leaving Joe Hart helpless for the winner. Anthony Ralston looks on.

However, it was an afternoon where the on-loan Bournemouth shotstopper was never over-stretched which simply emphasised the lack of menace from Rodgers’ team.

There was a bit more urgency from last season’s treble winners after the substitutions and Sead Haksabanovic was also thrown on for O’Riley who was being crowded out any time he got the ball.

Yang might have thrown his team a lifeline in the 81st minute when he swooped onto a ricochet from Kyogo.

He rushed his shot and it flicked off a Killie boot and deflected over the bar for a corner-kick.

Turnbull squandered the award – the story of Celtic’s day.

There was a call for a penalty-kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Haksabanovic was sent tumbling over the outstretched leg of Lewis Mayo, but neither the referee nor VAR backed the claim. Images later showed they should have taken a closer look at the incident.

If we can take positives from such a crushingly disappointing result and fairly lamentable performance is that the game highlighted the urgent need for Rodgers to bring in quality before the transfer deadline on August 31.

TEAM: Hart; Ralston, Nawrocki, Lagerbielke, Taylor; Holm (sub: Turnbull 64), McGregor, O’Riley (sub: Haksabanovic 75); Abada (sub: Yang 64), Kyogo, Maeda.

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