Celtic ease past Raith - Reo Hatate's passing class, a return after 410 days and Ange Postecoglou's moment of frustration

Dining on fillet steak, dripping in peppercorn sauce, accompanied by an ice-cold pint of refreshing lager every day is unrealistic. Sometimes there are days where you simply have to make do with some beans on toast and a glass of tap water, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates making it 2-0 to Celtic. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates making it 2-0 to Celtic. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

It was a beans on toast kind of day for Celtic even as they swept aside Raith Rovers 4-0 at Celtic Park to progress into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup, while Christopher Jullien made his first appearance in 410 days.

Since returning from the winter break, we have been so used to devouring the fillet steak served up by Ange Postecoglou and his menacing and merry men.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Celtic have been vivacious, playing with a verve and intensity which truly engages and excites supporters. The type of football which gives fans a skip in their step when heading to the stadium. Pressure on the ball to win it back quickly suffocating the opposition, moving it forward quickly and with numbers, midfield rotations to bamboozle opponents.

Liam Scales fired Celtic in front with a fierce strike. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

The success over Championship side Raith, thanks to a Liam Scales rocket, plus goals from Giorgos Giakoumakis, Daizen Maeda and Nir Bitton, was a professional job.

That is not to say Postecoglou would have been content with that. That's not in his nature, to settle. Nor is it in Celtic's.

That was exemplified in the 27th minute. A backwards pass provoked an angry reaction from the Celtic boss. He spun on his heels in the dugout, roaring an expletive, his hood coming down as he fired his arms into his legs.

Credit has to go to Raith Rovers. It’s not been a great time for the team from the Lang Toun. They may have been backed by a small pocket of fans in the south east of the ground but they made themselves heard, expressing their support for John McGlynn before and during the game.

The former Celtic scout set up his side in a 4-5-1 system and they were very well organised and competitive for long periods. There was a real synergy to their defensive play. Mikey Johnston was forced down routes without an exit. James Forrest was stuck in neutral, while there were few gaps for the midfield to exploit.

Yet, even on slower days there remains a confidence which courses through the team, displayed in an incredible moment where Joe Hart found himself in the corner passing the ball into his own box to Stephen Welsh before taking the return and dinking it over to Scales.

Celtic also have Reo Hatate. A Rolls Royce of a midfielder. There may have been wayward moments but he is one of the most positive players in the country, his passing as accurate and measured as a surgeon with a scalpel. The one delivered to Jota opened up Raith and allowed Giakoumakis to double the lead and secure the victory before Maeda nodded in a third and Nir Bitton converted after missing a penalty.

Read More

Read More
Ange Postecoglou targets Euro glory with Celtic after quipping: 'I thought I cou...

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com – all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.