MOVE along, nothing to see here.

Any cup meeting between these two sides is inevitably presaged by a recap of those ubiquitous upsets in 2000 and 2003, but for the second year running Celtic produced the kind of efficient, muscular performance in a cup match at Inverness which suggests we all might have to look elsewhere for our reference points. It saw the Scottish Cup holders glide serenely into the last eight, and moved their winning domestic run in all competitions on to the 15 mark, with a treble looking a more realistic possibility with each passing week.

Terry Butcher was an angry man afterwards as he bemoaned a defeat which was as comprehensive as any Celtic have inflicted upon them in the Highlands since Inverness returned to the SPL.

"It was like a training match for Celtic today," said Butcher, who coincidentally takes his side to the East End of Glasgow next Saturday.

"They worked harder which is an awful thing for me to say about my team, but they did. We just let everybody down. We are lucky it finished 2-0. We were an easy team to beat. It was our worst performance of the season. To do that on a big stage like this is woeful."

If his opposite number Neil Lennon was unhappy, it was only because of how some of his comments about Rangers' financial predicament had been used in yesterday's newspapers.

He was enthused by his side's performance, and there were special mentions for captain Scott Brown – who again scored from the spot to register his third goal in three games, and who had to contend with some serious provocation in a duel with Richie Foran – the outstanding Gary Hooper, and Kelvin Wilson, who dealt well with the dangerous Gregory Tade.

"There is a long way to go yet," Lennon said. "But we wanted to be in all the competitions come the end of the day and we are. The game was very competitive, but we ended physically the stronger and you couldn't have said that about some of the teams which have come here before."

With the biting wind at their backs, Celtic made four changes from the team which beat Falkirk at Hampden last Sunday, while Inverness boss Terry Butcher rotated his goalkeepers for the cup, with Jonny Tuffey replacing Ryan Esson, while Jonny Hayes took up his usual role just days after the Irishman had been linked with a move to Parkhead.

The first chance fell to Hooper, Tuffey managing to block his backheel after he had controlled a difficult, swirling ball. But for a while at least Fraser Forster also had to be on his toes. The Englishman gave another indication of his excellent recent form when he got down well to tip a Nick Ross shot away from his post. His goal was threatened again from the resultant corner, as Josh Meekings got his head to Greg Tansey's delivery.

Hooper tested Tuffey with a shot on the turn, but it was his strike partner's turn to grab the limelight. Georgios Samaras's main claim to fame on his last visit to this venue was his involvement in the "death by fingernail" incident which led to Tansey's sending off, but just after the half-hour mark he came up with an altogether more positive contribution.

Kris Commons' clever pass wasn't dealt with by Ross Tokely, and Samaras ran through to fire in a wind-assisted strike from the angle which swerved viciously and made Tuffey look silly.

Another Tokely mistake soon after almost led to a second, with Tuffey just about able to clear from Hooper and then Ledley, but the Inverness veteran also went close from a Hayes corner.

There was no let-up from the elements as the second half began and none either from a relentless Celtic side. Samaras and Ledley got in each other's way a yard out after nice work from Hooper and Commons, then the second goal arrived from the penalty spot.

Hooper chased after his own errant pass and was too strong and clever for David Proctor, preventing him from ushering the ball out, then toppling to the ground when the defender grappled with him to recover his position. Brown swept in the spot kick.

James Forrest came off the bench on the hour to wreak his usual havoc and Brown and Foran spent much of the last 10 minutes throwing elbows and grappling with each other. They were pretty much the only blows Inverness managed to land yesterday.