Ross County started their league campaign on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat at Tynecastle. Last season that kind of result was title winning form. Prior to that, they had three League Cup wins without conceding, although it took penalties for them to overcome Buckie Thistle in their first game in that tournament.
The big moments of last season are easy to recall. The 3-0 win over Newco in February and the 1-0 over Dundee United a few days earlier. Our first domestic away win in 8 months, at Pittodrie, and coming from behind at Ibrox in April. High on the list, though, is our visit to Dingwall in December.
Playing with 10 men for the last 18 minutes (including added time), Tom Rogic dinked a cross to the far post for Tony Ralston to outleap a clutch of defenders and score a 97th minute winner. You will not need to be reminded that Ross County have caused Celtic problems since they first emerged on the scene.
They lost Regan Charles-Cook and Blair Spittal, which will blunt them, but you know to expect a battle.
The big question for me is about selection. Celtic failed to build on an early lead against Aberdeen, prompting Ange to hook Kyogo, Hatate and Maeda. David Turnbull will be hopeful of a start. It is too early to expect Moritz Jenz, Aaron Mooy or Alexandro Bernabei to force their way into the starting 11.
Delighted Dundee United got the win over AZ Alkmaar last night. The moved the dial for Scottish clubs in European qualifiers, who until then recorded three defeats without scoring. Tony Watt provided more evidence of the quality he has had for a decade, without being truly fulfilled.
Jack Ross is a manager I have admired since he took his Championship St Mirren team to Celtic Park on Scottish Cup duty five years ago. His time at Sunderland was captured in the Netflix documentary, Sunderland ‘Til I die, a perfect example of why not to join a shambles of a club. It is worth watching, if only to try to figure out how Sunderland managed to replace ex-Rangers chief executive, Martin Bain, with a less empathetic, David Brent-type character.
Last season he was rewarded for getting Hibs into the League Cup Final with the sack, a decision that looked strange to begin with, and now just looks ludicrous.
European group stage football would give United a chance to curtail the baked-in structural losses they have experienced in recent years. Their smallest loss in the last three years was £2.52m, their highest turnover in that time was £3.9m.
This is a club living way beyond its means, maybe they caught the casino bug off Monaco all those years ago.