CELTIC warmed up for their Champions League second round qualifier by thumping Shamrock Rovers 9-0 at the Tallaght Stadium.
The Hoops, who return to Ireland on Friday to play Linfield in Belfast, dawned their new away kit and were comfortable in possession throughout.
However, the first real chance of the half came after 8 minutes when Craig Gordon was forced to back-peddle and save off his line from a wonderful effort from Sean Boyd from 60 yards out.
This chance clearly gave Brendan Rodgers’ side an extra incentive to up their level to open the scoring and that they did through Mikel Lustig after 10 minutes. The Swedish right back bombed forward and was on the end of lovely link up between midfield and attack guiding the ball into the net.
The Celts attacked and were unlucky not to double their lead before the 23rd minute when Stuart Armstrong popped up
Celtic took no time in tripling their lead as Kieran Tierney played Moussa Dembele in for a tap-in as the Rovers players looked on despondently. A good striker’s goal for the Frenchman, who turns 21 next week.
However, there were worrying signs for Celtic ahead of the game at the Windsor Stadium as Scott Brown limped off injured after 31 minutes.
The tempo of the game did not suffer now Celtic posed such an obvious gulf in class to their Dublin opponents. Tom Rogic, who was impressive as ever, was unfortunate not to score with numerous attempts being thwarted by a resilient Rovers defence.
The fourth of the half came through Scott Sinclair, who won numerous accolades last season. The left attacker produced a carbon copy of Dembele’s goal to get on the end of a Tierney cross to make the game 4-0.
Celtic started the second half making no changes, despite Rovers making three. The Treble winners were more relaxed in possession and didn’t really begin to attack until Dembele hit a volley wide after 52 minutes.
The fifth goal came after 61 minutes when Tom Rogic had a shot blocked and it fell at the feet of James Forrest, who beat two men and cut in to curl the ball into the far corner.
The Bhoys began to ring the changes with Griffiths, Hayes, Izaguirre and De Vries coming on to replace Dembele, Forrest, Tierney and Gordon.
The sixth didn’t come to soon after in the 66th minute as Sinclair got on the end of a terrific Griffiths pass to take it round the oncoming keeper, keep his composure and pass the all into the vacant net.
Stuart Armstrong added his second of the afternoon after being played in by Tom Rogic before breaking into the penalty box and firing the ball into the net to make it 7-0 to Celtic after 70 minutes.
On the 81st minute, Jonny Hayes got his first goal for Celtic after meeting a Scott Sinclair cross with the inside of his left foot and curling the ball into the side netting.
Tom Rogic finally got on the scoresheet as he was picked out by Scott Sinclair with a pinpoint cross before the Australian headed the ball into the goal to make it 9-0.
A completely dominant and professional display by the Champions that will give the team enormous confidence going into the games against Linfield as they hope to make the Champions League group stages for the second time in a row.
NEW CQN PODCAST WITH SFA PRESIDENT ALAN RAE OUT NOW!
Episode 2 of ‘A Celtic State of Mind’ finds Paul John Dykes and Kevin Graham discussing a variety of topical subjects concerning Celtic Football Club, including:
* Callum McGregor: The Youth of Today;
* Death of the Cult Hero;
* Norwegian Wood – Ronnie Deila’s Exit Interview;
* Farewell to The Stone Roses;
* Hillsborough: The Truth.
Paul John Dykes also chats to SFA President, Alan McRae, to challenge him over recent comments made about Celtic’s domination of Scottish football.
Connect with A Celtic State of Mind @PaulDykes and @CQNMagazine or just listen using the link below…