CELTIC’s restored reputation evidently goes before them. Dundee took note of the six goals Brendan Rodgers’ men had fired past Kilmarnock the previous weekend and then the further three notched against Manchester City in midweek and chose to take preventative action.

The deployment of a 5-3-2 formation was the equivalent of boarding up the windows and putting sandbags at the doors in anticipation of a gale-force storm.

Against an evidently exhausted Celtic team, those spoiling tactics worked but only to an extent. The hurricane never arrived but Dundee were still blown over by a single gust of wind. That manager Paul Hartley and his players almost seem relieved to have only lost by just the one goal told its own story. That had obviously feared it was going to be a lot, lot worse.

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Rodgers almost seemed to take greater satisfaction from the fact his team had won in such a manner. His preference will always be to play on the front foot with intensity, pressing the opposition high up the pitch. Sometimes, though, there will be days – like at Dens Park on Saturday – when the door has to be opened with a key rather than a sledgehammer.

In the end a solitary Scott Brown goal scored early in the second half proved to be enough. Against an admittedly toothless Dundee side now without a win in their last seven games, Celtic held out comfortably to register their first league clean sheet of the campaign.

“After [the previous league draw against] Inverness I said to the players, “okay, sometimes you will draw a game you should win”, said Rodgers. “But when we are in that moment again, can we win 1-0? And this week we've shown all the attributes this team has.”

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The international break offers scope for a brief moment of reflection and in early October one thing is already clear: this Celtic team has no equals in the Ladbrokes Premiership and should they continue along this path they will win the title by 20 points.

If there was a feeling that perhaps their downfall might be an occasional failure to close out tight matches, then they answered that accusation on Saturday. A manager who will never accept anything less than 100 percent, regardless of setting or circumstance, also ensures there will be no slacking off.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to come from a big night like the Champions League and Man City to play in the Premiership,” admitted midfielder Nir Bitton. “But this is our job, this is why we are professionals and the gaffer talked with us before the game about it. He told us we had to make the adjustment and we did it.

“He just said it’s all about mentality because sometimes you can think because you drew against Man City then it’s going to be easy. But it doesn’t work like that, these games are difficult and you have to work hard.”

Dundee had drawn 0-0 in their two previous games against Celtic but there was an acknowledgement from within their camp on Saturday that teams are facing a different beast this season.

“You can see that under their new manager they’re the best team in the country by far,” said Paul McGowan, the Dundee midfielder once on the books of Celtic. “Nobody can argue with that. The pace they’ve got on the counter-attack leaves teams vulnerable. The only thing that can stop them is the Champions League or the Europa League if they get into that [after Christmas]. Aberdeen are a great side, as are Rangers, but in my opinion Celtic are on a different level. You can tell the confidence is oozing through them. Brendan Rodgers has given their club such a lift.”

Brown’s performance and goal delivered a timely reminder of just what Scotland will miss over the next fortnight when they head into a World Cup double-header without their now-retired former captain.

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“Scott has always been an important player - an amazing player and an amazing captain,” added Bitton. “His professionalism on and off the pitch makes him the most important player, it’s just a joy to play alongside him. We are more attacking as a team now so that has given him more opportunities without the ball and with the ball. Sometimes we are more controlled, sometimes more attacking and against Dundee he was more attacking.

“Scott took his decision about Scotland. He knows his body and if that’s what he’s decided to do then that will be the best thing for him. Sometimes when you finish a season you still have games for the international team and there is the travelling. So he’s looked at that and thought the best thing was for him to quit international football. At the end of the day, Celtic is the bread and butter for him – and all of us – so he’s made that decision for the team.”