DIRE in Europe, dominant in Scotland.

This meeting with Ross County away in Dingwall on a miserable Sunday afternoon in November was not a straightforward one for Celtic to atone for a disappointing result in.

The Scottish champions have only won in three of their six visits to the Global Energy Stadium since their Highland rivals were promoted three years ago.

Jim McIntrye’s side, too, has performed well this term and are currently in fifth place in the Premiership table as well as being in the semi-finals of the League Cup.

Ronny Deila’s charges, though, despatched their opponents with the minimum of fuss to restore their six point advantage over Hearts at the head of the league table.

A Tom Rogic strike in the first half and a quickfire Leigh Griffiths double and Nir Bitton header in the second ensured the visitors won comfortably.

The confident display and emphatic win quelled any unrest which may have been brewing about Deila or his players following the Europa League reverse to Molde at Celtic Park on Thursday evening.

The travelling fans would have been entitled to ask why their side were so impressive given how poor they had been in their previous outing. But they seemed content that such an awkward fixture had been safely negotiated.

“There was a good response,” said a satisfied Deila afterwards. “We scored some nice goals and got three points. It’s been a very, very good day.

“We had a lot of the ball in the first half without creating too much, but I knew if we kept the ball they’d get tired. Once that happened we’d get more and more space to score goals.

“The most important thing was that we won but scoring four goals was pleasing too. We controlled the game. I felt the desire from the players was better than last week.”

Emilio Izaguirre, who was overlooked for the Molde match, took his place in the starting line-up at left back. Kieran Tierney, the teenager who had performed so well three days earlier, found himself back on the bench.

It will have been disappointing for the youngster given how maturely he had acquitted himself against the Norwegian champions and for those Celtic supporters who had enjoyed his contribution.

It was, however, the correct decision by his manager. Tierney’s talent has to be nurtured carefully. Fielding him in every game would, no matter how great the temptation to do so might be, be ill-advised.

“Kieran Tierney didn’t play today because he was very tired after last week’s game and you cannot have too many players on the pitch who you know you’ll need to take off,” he said. “He was one of them so the best thing was for him to start on the bench.”

The Celtic supporters have adopted the anthem their West Ham counterparts used to sing in praise of Carlton Cole even though the former England internationalist, who has signed a deal until the end of the season, has still to play a game for the first team.

Cole, sung to the tune of the Spandau Ballet hit Gold, was given several hearty renditions in the first half as their new acquisition, who was included in the squad for the first time, warmed up in front of them. Goodness knows what the reaction will be once he starts playing and, heaven forbid, netting goals.

Rogic had, like so many Celtic players, a poor night in midweek. But he was back to his best yesterday and opened the scoring seven minutes before half-time. He shrugged aside the close attentions of Martin Woods and whipped a left foot shot beyond Gary Woods from the edge of the area.

“It’s always good to have a player who can beat a man and shoot, like Tom did,” said Deila. “That was a very good goal and made things easier for us in the second half.”

Griffiths effectively sewed up the triumph with two goals in the space of just three minutes. In the 51st minute he received the ball from Nir Bitton, sidestepped Scott Boyd and whipped a left foot effort beyond the outstretched Woods.

His second – which took his tally for the 2015/16 campaign to 18 in all competitions – was even easier and followed some good work by James Forrest down the right . He was perfectly positioned for the winger’s cutback and drilled the ball into the roof of an inviting empty net

Game over - or so you would have thought. But credit to Ross County. They persevered and pulled a goal back five minutes later through Tony Dingwall. The Celtic defence, as they had been on several occasions last week, was once again posted missing.

Gordon had to show good reactions to palm an Alex Shalk header from a Wood cross over his crossbar in 68 minutes. But, those two incidents aside, Celtic were untroubled defensively in what proved to be a one-sided encounter.

When Bitton met a Stuart Armstrong corner and angled a glancing header beyond Woods in 75 minutes it killed off any hope the home team had of snatching an improbable result.

The minute’s silence in memory of the war dead was, sadly, not observed by everyone inside ground. A few inebriated imbeciles in the away end – who, it should be noted, were reprimanded by those around them – were unable to keep quiet for 60 seconds.

But their conduct was the only blot on an otherwise satisfying afternoon for Celtic.