IT took Celtic over an hour and a fortunate deflection from a Cameron Carter-Vickers' shot to breach a stubborn Ross County outfit at Celtic Park on Saturday, but a subsequent double from Albian Ajeti eventually gave Ange Postecoglou’s side a comfortable win.

Here are five things we learned as Postecoglou gave the Celtic fans a glimpse of some more fresh faces…


The defender couldn’t have hoped for a better debut, as his deflected strike from long range spun off Ross Callachan and over the helpless Ross Laidlaw to put Celtic ahead at last.

The American international had the look of a Linebacker about him as he emerged from the tunnel, and while perhaps not the tallest, he certainly looks like it won’t be easy for Premiership defenders to push him around.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, County striker Jordan White spent most of the afternoon trying to pin Carter-Vickers’ defensive partner Carl Starfelt rather than get involved in too many wrestling matches against the on-loan Tottenham Hotspur man.

It is early days of course for the 23-year-old, and he will face sterner defensive tests in the future than he did here. But he had enough about him on the ball and looked reasonably mobile too given his stocky build, suggesting he may be able to bring something to the Celtic defence.


The other debutant on display was Joao Jota, who is so new to the club that we’re all still trying to get his name right. Announced as Joao Filipe, it was Joao Jota on the teamsheet on Saturday, but it was on the left wing that the on-loan Benfica man showed he may be able to make a name for himself in a Celtic jersey.

Jota was particularly lively in the opening stages of the game, with his pace and trickery causing County all sorts of problems. His final ball was decent too, and he may have had an assist or two to his name had some of the finishing from his teammates been a little sharper.

His influence faded a little as the match wore on, but again, there were signs that the 22-year-old may be a useful addition to Postecoglou’s squad.


The ultimate scoreline on the day may not have flattered Celtic such was their dominance of the match, but there were times during the afternoon when it looked as though there may be potential for things to go awry for the hosts.

The biggest moment of joy that County got in an attacking sense came just after Celtic had made the breakthrough, with Regan Charles-Cook getting past Josip Juranovic on the left and dinking the ball to the back post for the arriving Dominic Samuel.

The County substitute threw himself at the ball all of eight yards from goal, but Celtic keeper Hart was equal to the effort and pushed clear.

Had County so quickly cancelled out Celtic’s lead after so much huffing and puffing from the home side to get in front, it may well have been a demoralising blow for Celtic. As it was, the ball was quickly shuttled up the other end and Ajeti headed in Liel Abada’s cross to kill the game stone dead.

Perhaps the real value of Hart though is in his leadership skills, and after Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic had both been substituted, the crowd greeted Hart being presented with the captain’s armband with warm approval.


Celtic were left a little light of numbers in attack for this game, with the injury to Kyogo Furuhashi coming before Giorgos Giakoumakis was ready to be pitched in for his debut.

It was therefore up to forgotten man Ajeti to lead the line, and in truth, he looked a little rusty for the majority of the game.

Despite his lack of gametime recently though, Ajeti showed late on that he does still possess the goalscoring touch, with his first of two headed goals particularly impressive. The second was a little more straightforward, nodding the ball home from a yard or two after James McCarthy’s header had come back off the crossbar, but the old predatory instincts were still there.

In all honesty, Ajeti is probably third in the queue for the striker’s position, but he at least showed that he can be called upon as a decent enough back-up option.


Visiting manager Malky MacKay made a point after the match to have a jibe at those who had tipped his side for relegation, after coming through a torrid opening sequence of fixtures with some credit for their performances and something tangible by way of points on the board.

County have faced last season’s top five in the Premiership to date, and while they have just two points so far and sit second bottom of the table, MacKay believes they have shown enough to be confident of moving up the standings as the fixtures start to become a little kinder.

Certainly, they gave a decent enough account of themselves at Celtic Park, and if they show a similar resolve throughout the season, they may prove one or two people wrong.