Gordon Strachan's temporary signing of Georgios Samaras could prove to be a buy one, get one free offer. The Greek striker made an eye-catching debut in the 5-1 demolition of a dispirited, dilapidated Kilmarnock; as much for his luminous orange boots as his dazzling goal.

Yet it was the casual figure of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink who stole the show, even after Scott McDonald crossed the 20-goal threshold in his player-of-the-year season. Vennegoor of Hesselink did not so much react to Samaras's loan signing as reawaken. This hitherto dormant Dutchman offered a timely reminder of the capabilities that prompted Celtic to spend £3.6m on him when the rest of Europe's elite window-shopped the enigmatic former PSV Eindhoven striker.

The arrival of Samaras coincided with Vennegoor of Hesselink's return to the international squad for this week's Euro 2008 tune-up friendly against Croatia in Split. It can only be assumed Marco van Basten based his inclusion on past performances rather than recent form.

Vennegoor of Hesselink has been pilloried for his part in a seemingly unequal partnership with McDonald; the relative snip from Motherwell who at times this season has worn the burden of a man playing a lone-striking role. His sidekick sprang to life with his position under threat from the imposing and hungry Greek. "My two strikers worked extremely hard today. I put pressure on them to perform and they did," was Strachan's succinct assessment.

Competition for attacking places yielded four of Celtic's quintet. Strachan may wish the transfer window would have stayed open long enough to provide others, not least Lee Naylor, with similar motivation to perform to their potential.

The case of the floundering Dutchman is intriguing. He arrived to much fanfare and promptly plopped in a goal against Manchester United. In unearthing a more complementary partner than Maciej Zurawski - now consigned to one-season wonder status after his transfer to Larissa - McDonald's arrival has succeeded only in upstaging Vennegoor of Hesselink and exposing what is euphemistically known as economy of effort. He has managed a dozen goals this season almost in spite of himself.

Alas, Celtic fans were given a glimpse of the old Vennegoor of Hesselink on Saturday. With Samaras making a scene stealing cameo, the Dutchman in the No.10 jersey marked his territory before being joined by the new No.9. It is inconceivable that McDonald will be sacrificed to accommodate the Greek, and it would defeat the point of the short-term arrangement to keep Manchester City's employee on the bench. The dilemma now for Strachan is whether all three can be accommodated, or whether Vennegoor of Hesselink's contribution on Saturday is sufficient to earn him a reprieve.

Worryingly for a ravaged Kilmarnock side that has lurched to second bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, Celtic's superiority verged on humiliating. Jamie Hammill, the oldest-looking 23-year-old in the game, was a beacon of hope at a bleak Rugby Park. The harsh financial climate at Kilmarnock has necessitated the sale of Kris Boyd and Steven Naismith in recent years. Colin Nish's move to Hibernian could prove the final straw for a club in qualitative freefall.

Gary Wales worked tirelessly in a 4-3-3 formation that almost instantly became a 4-5-1, yet the former Hearts striker was little more than a fringe man two years ago. Kilmarnock's Spartan resources were highlighted by the rather awkward presence of Martyn Corrigan as the holding central midfielder.

Corrigan was a fine full-back at Falkirk and Motherwell, and made a decent stab at centre-back as time curbed his athleticism. Wholehearted and experienced but a midfielder he is not. Jim Jefferies had no palatable alternative, save for traumatising the thirty-something by assigning him to the rampant young upstart, Aiden McGeady.

Playing central midfield was for his own good. After all, Scott Brown and Massimo Donati have done little to improve their ominous rapport. Donati, in particular, was due a performance. He started competently and receded quickly. Unlike Vennegoor of Hesselink, he has little currency to offer now that Barry Robson can begin his Celtic career after being cup-tied on Saturday.

"The difference in quality was obvious before the game, but when you consider we had five or six players who did not play to their best, we were not going to win," said Jefferies with customary clarity.

The chasm became apparent by the time McDonald opened the scoring after 22 minutes. Paul Caddis made his starting debut for Celtic but any fears were soon alleviated when Willie Gibson wilted badly. The young full-back claimed an early assist with a fine drilled cross that was headed in at the near post by the Australian.

It took a half hour for Celtic to double their advantage, thanks largely to Alan Combe's futile defiance. Shunsuke Nakamura's corner was flicked on by Donati and Gary Caldwell enhanced a fine display with an emphatic header. The third was an act of self-destruction. David Fernandez's ill-considered back pass was intercepted by McGeady, he fed Vennegoor of Hesselink and the striker smashed a left-foot shot past Combe.

Hammill offered faint hope of a comeback but such optimism was short lived. Vennegoor's umpteenth shot of a productive day was blocked but he fed McDonald at the second attempt to tap-in. The Australian was replaced by Samaras and the Greek immediately ingratiated himself by whizzing past a forlorn Simon Ford to shoot home handsomely.