CELTIC’S away form in the 2020/21 campaign hadn’t been entirely convincing before the weekend – they were held to a draw by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and required a late goal to edge out Dundee United at Tannadice.

So returning to Premiership action after the international break with a win against Ross County up in Dingwall on Saturday was no certainty for the Glasgow club.

But an early Odsonne Edouard penalty steadied any nerves they may have been feeling and goals from Albian Ajeti, new boy Shane Duffy, Kristoffer Ajer and substitute Patryk Klimala made it an enjoyable afternoon for Neil Lennon’s men.

The resounding triumph kept the defending Scottish champions, who are set to take on St Mirren in a rescheduled league game in Paisley on Wednesday night, six points behind top flight leaders Rangers with two games in hand

What else did we learn from events in the Highlands at the weekend?


Forget about the football for just a minute. Put the implications of this result for both Celtic and Ross County to one side for a second. This match was significant because supporters were allowed through the turnstiles for the first time in six long months.

It was a welcome, if small, step towards a return of some sort of normality in the Scottish game and society as a whole.

The sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent days means the exercise will probably not be repeated for some time to come. Lockdown restrictions have been reimposed in many areas of the country. Stands will sit empty once again this week.

However, Ross County showed they are more than capable of coping with the return of supporters to the Global Energy Arena. The same was true at Pittodrie where Aberdeen hosted Kilmarnock. It was a successful and worthwhile experiment that augurs well for the future.

The atmosphere generated by the 300 home supporters whose names came out in a ballot was hardly electric. Those in attendance were spaced out and prohibited from chanting, shouting or singing due to strict Covid-19 rules. Still, it was better, just, than nobody being inside the ground at all.

Iain Vigurs, the County midfielder, certainly appreciated their presence. “It was good to come out to fans again and hear applause when the teams kicked off,” he said. "Hopefully everyone was happy with it and we can get closer to bringing more fans back soon."


The length of time it took Celtic to secure the services of the Republic of Ireland internationalist on loan from Brighton for the season led to the excitement about his arrival growing tangibly among supporters.

The centre half had an awful lot to live up to when the game kicked off. However, he showed exactly why Lennon had been so keen to bring him in by enjoying, one momentary lapse in concentration in the first-half aside, an accomplished debut.

He was vocal, comfortable on the ball, impressive in the air and weighed in with the third goal when he rose and headed home a Callum McGregor corner from a few yards out in the second-half.

Duffy, who played alongside Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer, also enabled his manager to switch to the 3-5-2 formation that had worked so well in the second half of last season.

How good will he be when he has had time to settle in to his new surroundings and get to know his team mates better? It is a mouthwatering prospect for fans.


That the Swiss forward started his first match for Celtic since completing his £5m move from West Ham last month against County was an indication that his fitness is steadily improving.

So was his contribution during his time on the park. Ajeti showed good poacher’s reactions in the opposition box to put the visitors two ahead in the first-half. But he dropped deep and worked hard too.

The 23-year-old has now scored three times in just five appearances. Early days still, but all the signs are promising.


The Greek goalkeeper has had little to do in many of his outings in Scotland to date. But at the weekend he was called on to pull off some vital saves and did so. He denied Billy McKay and Ross Stewart brilliantly in the first-half and Stewart twice in the second.

Barkas, who admitted he has taken time to adapt, was encouraged by his performance and clean sheet. “It was not so easy for me in the opening weeks because I was coming from another country and the football here is different,” he said. “Game by game, I feel that it gets better.”


The change of system saw Jeremie Frimpong and James Forrest deployed as wing backs and it is fair to say neither player exactly excelled in their roles. There was no shortage of endeavour from the pair. They weren’t, however, overly influential. Frimpong and Forrest will clearly need time to adapt to the new demands on them.