The returning Celtic fans discovered a new hero as Kyogo Furuhashi bagged a home-debut hat-trick in a 6-0 victory over Dundee.
The Japan international netted twice from close range in the first half before sealing his treble immediately before going off to the acclaim of 24,500 supporters midway through the second period.
After netting on his first start in Thursday’s Europa League win against Jablonec, Furuhashi further endeared himself to the Celtic support with his skill and work-rate, charging down clearances and winning the ball back.
He might have had more goals too, such was Celtic’s dominance against the cinch Premiership newcomers.
Tom Rogic, Anthony Ralston and substitute Odsonne Edouard were also on target as Celtic made it 10 goals in two consecutive wins after Ange Postecoglou had opened his reign without a win in three matches.
🟢⚪️ 𝑺𝑰𝑿 𝑶𝑭 𝑻𝑯𝑬 𝑩𝑬𝑺𝑻 ✅— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) August 8, 2021
Hundreds of supporters had gathered pre-match to protest against the Celtic board over a perceived lack of backing for Postecoglou, who started with four summer signings.
But those who were permitted to enter Celtic Park ahead of the return of full houses next week had nothing to complain about as their team drew level on three points with Rangers following the champions’ surprise defeat by Dundee United on Saturday.
Postecoglou brought Sean Welsh in for Nir Bitton in central defence and started with an attack-minded midfield with Callum McGregor at the base and David Turnbull and Rogic flanked by Liel Abada and Ryan Christie.
The midfielders vindicated the manager’s bold approach with Turnbull appearing to rediscover his form after a slow start.
The hosts took 10 minutes to settle into a rhythm as Dundee pressed high and Furuhashi missed a glorious chance after a one-touch move ripped Dundee apart.
Christie twice threatened from long range before the 20th-minute opener. Turnbull’s pass got Abada in behind and the winger’s low cross was flicked home by Furuhashi.
Christie set up the second five minutes later after nutmegging Christie Elliott and sending in a low cross for Furuhashi to finish again.
Dundee goalkeeper Adam Legzdins, temporarily, prevented the hat-trick following another close-range effort and he remained busy before the break, saving from Christie, Welsh and several long-range efforts from Turnbull.
Welsh came close again before Celtic went three ahead in the 49th minute. Christie got the better of Elliott again following Turnbull’s searching ball down the left, and he cut the ball back for Rogic to stroke home.
Abada was denied and Furuhashi was off target from a decent chance before getting his big moment courtesy of a sublime reverse pass in between the Dundee centre-backs by Christie. The recent arrival from Vissel Kobe slotted into the corner before making way for Edouard.
Abada and Edouard had shots saved before right-back Ralston netted his second goal of the league campaign in the 84th minute with a turn and finish any striker would have been proud of, following substitute James Forrest’s low cross.
Edouard confidently despatched a 90th-minute penalty after Jordan Marshall, already on a booking, was shown a straight red card for pulling back Abada.
Celtic twice threatened in stoppage-time before Postecoglou joined them in saluting their fans after full-time.
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