The start was very good, and the finish wasn’t too shabby either.
But St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus was a frustrated man at what happened in between.
After going a goal in front early in the game and keeping their hosts at bay with relative ease, Saints looked to be set fair for another famous Parkhead result.
And there was a grandstand end to the match when Craig Gordon was flinging himself about to keep the ball out of his net.
But the three goals the Perth men conceded left Mannus cursing a combination of misfortune and self-inflicted wounds.
“We had a great start and got the goal without them having too many chances,” he explained.
“Then we gave away the deflected goal. It seems when teams get shots deflected us against they go on target.
“The most disappointing thing was the second goal, in the timing and the manner of it. It killed us more than anything. We had a chance to clear it.
“It would have changed the game coming out for the second half if it had been 1-1.
“Second half they got their third goal. If we keep it at 2-1 coming into the last 10 minutes then we get corners and free-kicks and we get chances.
“We hit the crossbar, had a chance from six yards out headed over the bar then Craig Gordon made the unbelievable double save. If you get those chances at 2-1 then there’s pressure on them and you might get another goal. At 3-1 it’s a bit different.
“We’ve done that before in the past and got a scrappy goal but it didn’t happen today.”
Mannus had an early save to make from Emilio Izaguirre but, other than that, it was a comfortable start to the game for Saints.
And it was even more comfortable when the opening goal was scored on 11 minutes, Derdyck Boyata finding his own net after Michael O’Halloran had delivered a low cross into the danger area.
With pre-match “gutless in Malmo” and “clueless in boardroom” protest banners unfurled by the Green Brigade and restless Celtic fans in every other corner of the stadium on the back of the soft goal conceded, it was a shame for the Perth men that they couldn’t crank up the pressure for longer than just seven minutes.
That was how long they managed to hold on to their lead, with a Leigh Griffiths long-range shot taking a deflection over Mannus for the equaliser.
In the 45th minute Celtic were in front when Tomas Rogic worked himself into space all too easily and gave Mannus no chance with a fierce shot.
Celtic had far more territorial dominance in the second half and they got their third on 67 minutes.
Mannus did brilliantly to tip a Kris Commons outside-of-the-boot shot past the post but from the subsequent corner Saints went to sleep and Charlie Mulgrew headed home.
John Sutton was brought on for Steven MacLean and he made his presence felt first by setting up Graham Cummins, who couldn’t get a shot away, and then with a volley that grazed the top of the bar.
An in injury-time Brian Easton saw free-kick well saved by Gordon, followed by a stunning double save to keep out close range Joe Shaughnessy and O’Halloran efforts.
The majority of the Saints team will have a fortnight to brood on what might have been, but not Mannus.
He now joins up with a Northern Ireland squad tantalisingly close to qualifying for Euro 2016.
Mannus is well aware of the expectation in his homeland going into the double header against the Faroe Islands and Hungary.
“It’s a bit crazy to think about,” he admitted. “In my time growing up you never really had an expectation on it happening. It’s the same for the supporters.
“But in this campaign everything has just clicked. The manager’s been brilliant, the players have been brilliant and we’ve got some really good results. We’ve got this far so hopefully now we can finish it off and get the results we need.
“There’s a lot of good things coming out of Northern Ireland the boxer Colin Frampton, Rory McIlroy and people like that.
”It’s not that long ago that everything was very negative surrounding the Northern Ireland football team. But we’ve got good players now Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt and the like. I went to school with Chris. He was the year below me.
“It’s just good for people from Northern Ireland to be making such a name for themselves.”
Injury-plagued midfielder Murray Davidson suffered a first half head knock. He was able to play on but was substituted at half-time. Manager Tommy Wright has confirmed that he was OK by the time they left Glasgow, though.