Celtic suffered a crushing home defeat on Saturday afternoon in the Glasgow derby against Rangers, but manager Neil Lennon did at least find a positive in the performance of Diego Laxalt on his debut.
The Bhoys had the chance to move top of the league table at the weekend, but a 2-0 loss means they are now four points behind leaders Rangers having played a game less.
Celtic, who never got anywhere near top gear, were struggling all contest without some key players in the final third and have now lost for the first time this season in the league.
It’s still extremely early in the title race, but Lennon’s side want to wrap up a 10th consecutive top-flight title this year and they’ve now given rivals Rangers a real boost following the result at Parkhead.
Laxalt was a fresh face in the Celtic XI at the weekend and he’s an experienced Uruguay international who joined in the window on a season-long loan from AC Milan.
The 27-year-old South American slotted fairly effortlessly into a left wing-back position and looked decent in both areas of the pitch, but it was an off for so many of his new teammates around him.
“Yeah, he did well. It’s difficult for him coming in but I thought his play looked strong. I thought he put some really good balls into the box, his positional sense was good, he looked comfortable in that environment,” Lennon responded when asked about Laxalt’s debut, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
Laxalt is an attack-minded wing-back that is going to add some extra creative flair to the side, but focus has to be on an underwhelming performance from reigning Scottish champions and they dipped well below their levels on the day.
They’re going to be a much stronger side when four or five individuals slot back in, but the players on the pitch missed a real chance to lay down a marker and it looked the Rangers players had more bite about them.
Celtic need to click the refresh button quickly due to the fact they host Italian side AC Milan on Thursday in the Europa League group stages, before a trip to Aberdeen next Sunday in the league.