CELTIC overcame a late rally from Kilmarnock to stretch their advantage at the top of the Premiership table as goals from Reo Hatate, Luis Palma and Greg Taylor made sure the three points stayed in Glasgow.

David Watson had hit a counter for Killie in the second half to temporarily reduce the arrears and bring the visitors within a goal of the champions, but any hope of a shock was short lived.

Here are the talking points from a sodden Celtic Park...


It was somewhat surprising that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers opted for Yang over Palma on the left of his attack from the start against Lazio, citing his physicality, but it was no surprise to see the Honduran in from the get-go here after an impressive cameo from the bench on Wednesday night.

He seized his opportunity to impress, showing more of a willingness to run at defenders than has been evident in his fleeting appearances to date and displaying good understanding in linking up with his teammates.

He capped off his display with a brilliant second for Celtic, pouncing on Joe Wright’s error and making the most of his good fortune as he played the ball off Hatate for an inadvertent one-two.

When the ball rebounded back to him, he took a second to steady himself and then curled a beauty into the top right-hand corner past the despairing dive of Will Dennis.


Celtic manager Rodgers has said many kind things about Derek McInnes of late, talking up the Killie manager to step into the dugout on the other side of Glasgow, but none of the organisation defensive that Rodgers so admires in his opponent’s teams was on show here.

Quite the opposite in fact, as the visitors made an already difficult task all the harder for themselves by helping Celtic on the way to their opening two goals.

Due credit has to go to Hatate for the first, mind you, with the midfielder showing brilliant feet to drag the ball away from Watson and send him for a hot dog. He drove towards the box and couldn’t quite believe his luck as the Killie defenders simply stepped out of his way.

He wasn’t about to pass up the invitation to shoot, and he duly placed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of Dennis’s goal.

Quite what Wright was doing for Celtic’s second though, only he knows, attempting a pass that was never on and being punished accordingly by Palma.

Celtic’s third goal to quell Killie’s late fightback was poor from their perspective too as Taylor tapped home in acres of space from a simple Daizen Maeda flick from a corner.


The refereeing team upset both camps with a couple of decisions, with Killie annoyed about a possible offside for Celtic’s second goal and the hosts perturbed when they overturned a penalty awarded for an apparent foul by Watson on Hatate.

As for the first call, Killie may have had justifiable cause for complaint. When Palma plays the ball forward to Hatate, the midfielder does appear to be leaning offside. The goal was checked by VAR team David Dickinson and John McCrossan, but after a short delay it was awarded, much to the surprise and frustration of McInnes in the Killie dugout.

In fairness to referee Matthew MacDermid and the VAR team, it looked to be the correct call to overturn his on-field decision when it came to the spot kick, which looked soft on first viewing. On closer inspection, it seemed to be Hatate who initiated the contact, and Killie almost made the most of their lifeline.


Killie had really struggled to make any sort of impression on the game in the opening 45 minutes, and at 2-0 at the interval it appeared simply a case of how many Celtic would go on to win by.

Indeed, they had a couple of let offs early in the second half too as both Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi went close, but they hung in there and eventually made something of a fist of clawing their way back into the game.

A tweak to their system allowed the hitherto isolated Kyle Vassell to link up with substitute Liam Polworth, who slipped the ball through to the tireless Watson as he was marauding into the Celtic box.

The youngster kept his cool to slip the ball under Joe Hart, and suddenly, it was briefly game on. But Celtic soon overcame that wobble as Killie conspired to shoot themselves in the foot once more.


It seems a little unfair on Taylor to call him a left back, seeing as he was only nominally playing the position. He was here, there and everywhere as he harried and pressed high up the pitch out of possession and continuously supported the attack as Celtic pinned Killie in.

Taylor- like a few of his teammates – had something of a sluggish start to the season, but his performance in the win over Livingston a couple of weeks ago seems to have sparked him back to life, and along with Hatate and Palma he was again one of Celtic’s best performers.

He capped it off by popping up with a goal against his former club, and an important one at that, tapping home the killer third from close range after peeling round the back at a corner.

An injury to Kieran Tierney may well allow Taylor to get some game time for his country in the forthcoming matches against Spain and France, and on this evidence, he is more than capable of making his mark at that level too.