Celtic swaggered back to the top of the table with an emphatic win over Kilmarnock that knocked the Rugby Park side off their lofty perch.

In what was a ferocious performance from Brendan Rodgers' side, Celtic had the points done and dusted within the opening half as they headed into the break with a 4-0 cushion.

And while Kilmarnock deserved credit for their willingness to play and try to take the game to Celtic, on the aggressive and clinical form the Parkhead side were in, there was always the chance of a mismatch.

James Forrest added the first and last of the day while Odsonne Edouard, Mikael Lustig and Ryan Christie all got in on the act. Kilmarnock pulled a goal back with a penalty at the opening of the second period but it proved to be little more than a statistical footnote.

The biggest surprise of the afternoon was the surprise omission of Kieran Tierney from the starting line-up, with the full-back declared ill before the game. Nor was there a starting berth for Scott Brown, who played his first 90 minutes at Fir Park on Wednesday night.

Tierney’s absence, though, did not deter Celtic from getting off to a flying start; Izaguirre was the architect with a perfect ball floated into the box for Forrest to volley into the net. Celtic almost doubled their lead minutes later when Tom Rogic stung the palms of Daniel Bachmann and was foiled shortly after by the Kilmarnock stopper.

In those frantic early exchanges, Kilmarnock struggled to get out of their own half.

Craig Gordon denied Jordan Jones at one stage but the bulk of the action was one-way as Celtic showed a driving ruthlessness. By the time Edouard had added a second – having scorned a decent chance shortly before – Celtic had the look of a team with the bit between their teeth.

Callum McGregor, so impressive again in that deep midfield role as he dictated play for the Parkhead side, had linked with Christie and Rogic before Edouard had converted with a lashed finish high into the net after taking one simple touch and even at that stage, Kilmarnock looked overwhelmed.

Where Celtic were sluggish against Motherwell midweek, they were aggressive, fluent and creative on their own turf. If Kilmarnock felt as though the fairytale was souring, Celtic did not hesitate to turn the screw.

Lustig added the third when he flicked on a McGregor free-kick before Christie added another trick to his recent repertoire with a ferocious free-kick before the interval to give Celtic a 4-0 advantage.

Kilmarnock pulled one back just after the restart when Filip Benkovic was judged to have brought down Rory McKenzie. The infringement looked just outside the box but a penalty was given. Killie sub Eamonn Brophy duly converted but it did not take long for Celtic to restore their four-goal cushion.

Christie’s clever flick took him through on goal before Bachmann raced off his line. The Killie keeper looked to have taken the playmaker out but the ball broke to Forrest and, from a tight angle, he lifted a fierce effort high into the net.

Scott Sinclair whacked the crossbar with an arching effort from the edge of the box while Forrest was bundled over in the box amidst claims for a penalty.

Not that they needed it.