After signing three new players on transfer deadline day, Celtic supporters were eager for the international break to end so they could respond to their Old Firm defeat a fortnight ago.
Fortunately, the Hoops bounced back in perfect style with a 3-0 win over Ross County.
They may have been missing Kyogo Furuhashi through injury but Albian Ajeti popped up with a rare set of goals to help Celtic across the line.
One of the most eye-catching parts of Ange Postecoglou’s team selection on Saturday was not a debut for Cameron Carter-Vickers or Jota but instead the decision at right-back.
Anthony Ralston was nowhere to be seen in the squad as Josip Juranovic began the game on that side.
Juranovic earned his own debut against Rangers last time out but played at left-back with Greg Taylor injured.
It was a competent first outing for the Croatian but as he showed over the international break, he simply has to play on the right.
That was in stark contrast to his performance on the left a few weeks ago when he only produced two deliveries in the entire game.
The 26-year-old’s outing against Ross County showed similar glimpses of quality as he lost just one ground duel and supplied a key pass.
It will take a while before Juranovic is entirely up to speed with Postecoglou’s style of play but it was evident here that he is now the first option on the right.
Ralston has had an excellent start to the season and deserves immense praise for the way he’s taken on the mantle in defence.
The Scot only played once in the entirety of last season but has been nothing short of superb in 2021/22. The full-back has scored two goals that Cristiano Ronaldo would be proud of and has looked untroubled in defensive situations.
Speaking earlier this term, the manager said: “From the first training session he has been really keen to understand the role and how I want him to play. And I think he has done exceptionally well, not just from an individual perspective but how he helps the team.”
However, the fear was always how his quality would match up against the best teams, particularly in continental action.
This is why Juranovic’s introduction at the moment is so vital. The Croat has plenty of international experience and that level of competency should stand Celtic in excellent stead when they kick off their Europa League campaign this week.
The £5.5k-per-week Ralston has done little wrong this season but seems to have been overtaken in the pecking order now. He should be extremely fearful.