GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST may indeed have ‘sussed out’ how Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou sets up his team, but it doesn’t mean he has any idea how to stop them.

The proclamations of former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson this week now seem more than a little foolish after Celtic – just as they had done in February – produced a three-goal first-half blitz to move five points clear at the top of the table.

Ferguson doesn’t look anywhere near as foolish as the Rangers players though, who seemed to have learned precisely nothing from that mauling here earlier in the year. Celtic were too quick of thought and movement for the dozy visiting players, who continually failed to realise that in the frenzy of an Old Firm match, it might be prudent to maintain a rudimentary level of concentration.

Time and again though, the men in blue were more preoccupied with bickering with referee Nick Walsh and one another rather than picking up their opposing number. Unsurprisingly, Celtic made hay, and Liel Abada in particular had yet another field day up against Borna Barisic.

The inclusion of the Israeli winger on the right in place of Daizen Maeda was perhaps the only deviation from what might be regarded as Postecoglou’s strongest team, though the Celtic manager would deny that he had one. It was clear to anyone who had watched the clash here in February why he was in the line-up.

He hit two of his team’s three first-half goals either side of a delicious Jota dink, with Barisic providing only token resistance. The clash between the pair was a microcosm of what was happening all over the pitch, with Celtic just too good for Rangers.

The hosts didn’t need a helping hand from anyone in the visiting ranks, but after this showing, there must also be serious question marks surrounding the choice of goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin as number one over Allan McGregor this season.

He didn’t look clever at any of the goals, but his pass straight to substitute David Turnbull from a goal kick to allow the midfielder to put the icing on the cake for Celtic late on was a doozy.

There was an early blow for Celtic after just a few seconds, when a coming together between Kyogo and John Lundstram left the striker nursing a shoulder injury. He tried to play on, but within a minute had to admit defeat with his arm hanging limp by his side, and Giorgos Giakoumakis was sent on in his stead.

It was Abada who showed up first though, ghosting inside off Barisic with an eery familiarity to open the scoring.

Celtic were just too quick, taking throw-ins and corners as soon as they had won them. Rangers should have known this, given it forms the basis of Postecoglou’s trademark catchphrase, but apparently it had escaped their attention.

Jota didn’t hang around with a shy on the left, putting Matt O’Riley in down the line, and his first time ball took a nick off Lundstram to land at Abada, who had drifted into space to meet it perfectly.

McLaughlin got down to his low shot, but will be disappointed not to have been able to do more than simply help the ball on its way into the net.

The visitors were stunned, and Celtic were swarming all over the top of them. Abada had a huge penalty shout turned away after a Ryan Kent challenge sent him tumbling in the area, before Giakoumakis mistimed a header from point blank range after an O’Riley cross when he really should have scored.

Barisic was particularly struggling, and picked up a booking for hauling down Abada as he looked to break after a Rangers attack had been broken up.

The strength of Barisic though is in his attacking deliveries, and he got forward for the first time after a strong Kent run to swing an inviting ball towards Antonio Colak. Like Giakoumakis, he should have done better than glance wide.

Rangers were settling a little and managed to put together some decent possession, and a few nerves started creeping into the home players and fans. Carl Starfelt’s unnecessary header when the ball was drifting through to Joe Hart gave Colak another sighter, but the forward couldn’t execute the first time lob and the hosts were off the hook.

They made the most of the reprieve, again catching Rangers cold to double their lead.  A quickly taken free-kick allowed O’Riley to find the run of Jota in behind with an incisive pass, and while the visiting players called in vein for an offside, he took a delightful touch and clipped a sumptuous finish over McLaughlin.

Suddenly, a repeat of that scintillating first-half from last season was well and truly on the cards, and it was no surprise when Celtic did hit a third before the interval with Rangers rocking. Again, it came from a throw-in on the left, where Greg Taylor was given acres to put a low ball across the area that somehow squirmed all the way to the back post. There was Abada – to no one’s surprise – again free as a bird to rifle the ball low through the legs of McLaughlin.

Scott Wright was thrown on at the interval in place of Glen Kamara, while an hour in, the arrival of Alfredo Morelos for Colak brought loud cheers from the Celtic support, but Celtic were content to manage the game with Rangers offering little up top, and try to pick the visitors off the counter.

As it turned out, they didn’t even have to, with McLaughlin having an absolute shocker as he rolled a goal kick straight into Turnbull’s path, and the midfielder stroked it coolly home. If you hadn’t known better, from a distance you might have sworn it had been the Celtic keeper passing it out to his centre-back.

Humiliating for McLaughlin, of course, but it was the embarrassing gulf between the sides on the day that will most concern van Bronckhorst. As for Postecoglou, he might just be sticking with Plan A for a good while yet.