New season, new manager, and yet it remained business as usual for Celtic on opening day.

The second Brendan Rodgers era commenced with a ruthless 4-1 victory over Ross County as the reigning champions set their stall out for another Premiership title defence. The resurgent David Turnbull was vital, bagging two goals in an impressive display.

Kyogo Furuhashi opened his account for the campaign, and Matt O’Riley added a fourth after Jordan White had briefly the deficit, with Josh Brown scoring a late consolation. Here are five talking points from Celtic Park.

Flag day fanfare

There was a celebratory air around Celtic Park as the recommencement of Premiership business met the honouring of last season’s league success. It’s become an almost annual tradition here, and this was the first step on what promises to be a fascinating contest for the title.

The Rodgers factor could hardly be more narratively enticing – a previously all-conquering manager returning for a second crack at success, up against a Rangers side rebuilding from the ground up. They expect no less than a treble at Celtic these days, and those three trophies sat on a pedestal were the first thing that greeted Rodgers when he emerged from the tunnel. It could hardly have been more symbolic.

After his midweek testominial, James Forrest was handed the task of hoisting the league flag into the sky, and you feel it will take a monumental effort to drag it away from this side of the city come May.

Turnbull gets his chance

There was, in hindsight, a clear hint in the effusiveness with which Rodgers spoke of Turnbull in midweek that he would be given the nod here. It’s always difficult to glean too much from pre-season friendlies but the 24-year-old certainly conducted himself like a man with a point to prove.

Those efforts were rewarded with a place in the starting XI for a notable fixture, a real rarity for Turnbull under Ange Postecoglou. Rodgers has an enthusiasm and flair for bringing the best out of players who were previously on the fringes – Stuart Armstrong being a prime example during his first Celtic tenure – and it seems Turnbull could now be one to benefit from the manager’s return.

READ MORE: Carl Starfelt benched for Celtic due to transfer talks, says Rodgers

His ability to find the back of the net has never been in doubt, and he took little over 15 minutes to do so here as he calmly slotted away a penalty after Greg Taylor was brought down by Josh Sims. It was a classic case of a willing winger causing more harm than good having retreated into his own box, and it allowed Turnbull to open his account for the season.

His endeavour was crucial for the second goal, attacking a header in the middle of the park to set Liel Abada free with County having ill-advisedly pushed up. That allowed the winger to cross low for Kyogo and his first-time finish was typically unerring.

Turnbull has that uncanny knack of turning up in the right place at the right time, and he was on-hand again to turn home O’Riley’s lofted ball to the back post.

Ruthless efficiency, but work to do

He built a rather astonishing winning habit last time he was in Glasgow, and it’s not one that has been broken by four years’ absence. Visiting teams generally do not recover from significant deficits on this venue, and Celtic’s three points were as good as confirmed by the time Kyogo’s strike found its way past Ross Laidlaw.

An important three points, no doubt, for Rodgers on his first competitive outing since June’s dramatic return, one which was not universally well-received given the manner of his departure in 2019. The Green Brigade were in attendance after their absence from James Forrest’s testimonial raised an eyebrow or two in midweek. There was to be no pointed messages to Rodgers in the vein of their social media response to his appointment, but they did not sing his name either.

More wins will go a long way to assuaging any lingering resentment.  Mind you, County were the better side until Celtic were rightly awarded a penalty, and could have led had Simon Murray kept his feet after pouncing on a Joe Hart mistake.

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Celtic were a little error-strewn and lacking fluency, and Rodgers was frequently and visibly frustrated on the sidelines. It stands to reason, though, that this is a group that will require some time to adjust from two years of relentless Angeball.

Their ruthless streak hasn’t gone anywhere, though, and the all-round display was much improved after the break, with some tantalising glimpses of what this team could look like in full flight. There were a few thrilling counter-attacks which should have added more goals, with Forrest and Kyogo denied from close range. County were given a brief glimmer of hope when White headed home from a poorly defended corner, but a sumptuous Celtic move ended with O’Riley gliding in behind and hammering high past Laidlaw.

The deficit was reduced again in the dying seconds, though, as Brown charged in off the right and his shot deflected in off Carl Starfelt.

Fine margins for County

Malky Mackay may just have been left feeling that his team were a little hard done by to be trudging in at the interval three goals down. They were aggressive off the ball and composed off it at the outset, but the simple fact is you cannot come to Celtic Park and make such costly errors. Sims did not really need to make contact with Taylor at the penalty, and he could have little complaint with Nick Walsh’s decision.

The second goal was an ugly one from an organisational perspective, with too many players caught high up and a failure to win a second ball in the middle of the park. The third involved brilliant, persistent play from O’Riley but there were more than enough dark blue shirts in the box to ensure it was dealt with before Turnbull could pounce.

Notable absentees

In a somewhat surprising development, it appears Starfelt’s Celtic career is coming to an end. His partnership with Cameron Carter-Vickers last season was the foundation the Parkhead side’s success, the pair of them often impassable for domestic opponents.

It’s a partnership the manager will have been in no hurry to break up, but his pre-match revelation that Starfelt had been left on the bench due to the possibility of a departure indicates the duo will soon be no more. The Sweden international has been linked with several clubs of late, and it may well be has decided the time is right for a move.

That opens the door for Maik Nawrocki to make himself first choice, and he did those prospects no harm with a composed display – he looks robust, aggressive and is very comfortable handling the ball. Starfelt was joined on the bench by Reo Hatate, who found himself dropped for Turnbull.

Hatate had a decidedly mixed evening against Athletic Club in midweek, and some observers had suggested his body language was concerning, but to be honest he always has a somewhat detached look about him, and he looked keen to make an impression when subbed on in the second-half.