IT was just champion as eight-in-a-row title kings Celtic launched their Premiership campaign with a rollicking, rampant 7-0 romp against St Johnstone at Parkhead on Saturday, August 3.

The Perth outfit were blown away by Neil Lennon’s side as they put down a marker on their bid for a history-equalling ninth successive crown. It was a goal parade in Paradise as Mikey Johnston, with a little bit of trickery, cut in from the left to clip the opening goal of the league campaign beyond the helpless Zander Clark.

Ryan Christie then took centre stage with a sensational hat-trick and a seven-goal sunshine rout was completed with other efforts from Odsonne Edouard, Olivier Ntcham and Leigh Griffiths.

It was the comeback striker’s first Premiership counter since he rifled in a trademark free-kick in a 3-0 win over Hamilton Accies on November 24 the previous year. And, Bhoy, did Griff and the fans lap it up.

After a 1-1 draw with Cluj in Romania in the first leg of the Champions League and a 5-2 triumph over Motherwell at Fir Park, the unthinkable happened when the Hoops crashed out of qualifiers for the elite tournament when they nosedived 4-3 in Glasgow against Dan Petrescu’s surprise packet.

Four days later, it took an extra-time strike from James Forrest to edge the holders past Championship outfit Dunfermline in the opening Betfred League Cup-tie and the winger repeated the feat in the 2-0 success over AIK Stockholm in the Europa League qualifier the following midweek. Odsonne Edouard made the return in Sweden a little more comfortable and the visitors duly notched a 4-1 triumph.

In between, Fraser Forster had returned to the club on a season-long loan from Southampton and made his second debut in a 3-1 victory over Hearts at Parkhead.

As ever, CQN‘s ace snappers were there to capture the action. Here is the pick of the pics.

PRIZE GUY…Scott Brown with the gleaming silverware before the 7-0 triumph over St Johnstone on Flag Day.

THE FIRST OF MANY…Mikey Johnston bamboozles the Saints defence as he fires in the opening goal in the romp.

TAKE A BOW, SIR…Ryan Christie celebrates his brilliant hat-trick with new Bhoy Hatem Abd Elhamed about to join the celebrations.

FRENCH FANCY…Odsonne Edouard displays some neat footwork as he sweeps past Saints defender Matt Kennedy.

BADGE OF HONOUR…Leigh Griffiths is delighted after thumping in his first league goal in nine months.

OH, NO…Odsonne Edouard and Mikey Johnston display their despair as the Champions League dream dies against Cluj.

BY THE RIGHT…James Forrest fires in the Betfred League Cup extra-time winner in the 2-1 victory over gallant Dunfermline.

ACTION REPLAY…it’s James Forrest on target again with the opener against AIK Stockholm.

NICE’N’EASY…Odsonne Edouard clips in the second against the Swedes.

BIG-HITTER BAYO…the Hoops fans got a rare glimpse of Ivorian striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo in the 3-1 success over Hearts.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT…the ball is on its way into the Hearts net with Bayo menacing the defensive trio of Christophe Berra, keeper Joel Pereira and Craig Halkett. It looked like the Ivorian’s first Hoops’ goal, but it was later ‘awarded’ to the Edinburgh outfit’s No.6.

WELCOME BACK…Fraser Forster shows his penalty-kick saving prowess as he dives to push out an effort from Conor Washington. Unfortunately, the Hearts forward claimed a consolation strike from the rebound.

TOMORROW: The best in words and pics for September.


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