BRENDAN RODGERS got the Glasgow derby-winning show on the road again when he masterminded the 1-0 triumph at Ibrox on September 3.
Following 10 victories, two draws and a solitary loss in his first stint, the Irishman returned to the fixture for the first time following an absence of over four and a half years with an intriguing contest in Govan.
Rodgers was forced to put together a patched-up central defence with Cameron Carter-Vickers and new £4.3million recruit Maik Nawrocki out through injury. Liam Scales and Gustaf Lagerbielke, signed for £3million in the summer, were pitched into the toxic atmosphere.
It was an afternoon for the champions to stand up and be counted – on and off the field.
LOOKING UP…Brendan Rodgers enjoys heaven in Govan after Celtic’s early-season triumph.
September 3 2023: Premiership
CELTIC 1 (Kyogo) RANGERS 0
A FLASH of breathtaking brilliance from master marksman Kyogo Furuhashi settled the High Noon shoot-out and left Ibrox stunned and silent.
It was an awesome true grit performance from the visitors in a hostile stadium without a Hoops supporter in sight. However, that did not prevent Brendan Rodgers from celebrating his eleventh success over the city foes.
Kyogo whipped in the only goal of a tense confrontation on a day for heroes where captain Callum McGregor, veteran keeper Joe Hart, who proved unbeatable, and Liam Scales, almost out on his feet at the end, led the way for the Parkhead men to edge four points clear at the top of the table so early in the campaign.
Rodgers won four of his previous five games in this arena and got off to his second stint as gaffer with another impressive triumph.
STUNNER…Kygo Furuhashi lashes in the only goal of the game with a ferocious first-time drive.
STUNNED…the fans at Ibrox are left in silence as Liel Abada congratulates goal hero Kyogo Furuhashi.
Just before the interval, the home backline tried to play Kyogo offside when Matt O’Riley picked up a wayward clearance from Connor Goldson straight from a downfield punt by Hart.
The stylish playmaker sent a powerful header into the danger zone. The Japanese speedster, clearly played onside by John Souttar, raced after the ball and unleashed an unstoppable right-foot drive from just outside the box.
Keeper Jack Butland didn’t stand a chance as the effort hurtled past his outstretched right hand to nestle low in the corner of the net.
The stadium was struck dumb in that instant as the Hoops players celebrated in silence.
On this occasion, silence was indeed golden.
TEAM: Hart; Johnston (sub: Ralston 66), Lagerbielke, Scales, Taylor (sub: Bernabei 74); Turnbull (sub: Holm 66), McGregor, O’Riley; Abada (sub: Yang 66), Kyogo (sub: Oh 76), Maeda.
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss Rodgers v Rangers (Part Seven) – only in your champion CQN.