Dubai calls next but one might have been forgiven for assuming that Celtic had disappeared into the sun already. Certainly, by the end of Saturday’s encounter at Ibrox there were a few red faces after exposure to a different kind of heat.

As the glare on this result quietens it will not take long for some feverish pointing in the direction of the January transfer window. Celtic unquestionably need reinforcements but that should not be allowed to deflect from the fact that they were the architects of their own downfall against Rangers with a woefully insipid display. It was difficult to escape the notion that Rangers simply wanted it more.

Any idea that Brendan Rodgers is invincible in this fixture was crudely exposed with the manner in which Rangers went for the jugular. There is an argument to suggest that the law of averages meant the Ibrox side were eventually going to win one of these but it was the manner of the performance and the belief it encourages that is arguably the most wounding stat of all. Against a team who had netted 31 times against them in the previous 12 games, Rangers showed courage in terms of an appetite and aggression that Celtic could not return.

The result also revealed a worrying trend this season; of the 11 league games that Rodgers’ has played away from home, Celtic have won just four. Perhaps even more concerning is the similarity to the pattern that has revealed itself in defeats on the road against Kilmarnock and Hearts and Hibs.

In a game devoid of colour, craft and creativity from Celtic there were too many players whose heads were in a different time zone. In the opening minutes of this game Andy Halliday went sliding into a tackle on Olivier Ntcham before roaring in his face, a bizarre moment that drew a withering glare from Rodgers on the touchline but seemed to be sufficient reason for Ntcham to retreat into his shell.

From there on in he was present in body if not in mind. Not that he was alone.

Dedryck Boyata repeatedly caused havoc in his own defence by trying to play the ball out only to pass straight into trouble, Scott Sinclair was anonymous and James Forrest’s monumental game time seemed to catch him up. Scott Brown, the lynchpin so often in these frenzied, heated encounters had the kind of afternoon that will haunt him over the coming weeks. If one moment encapsulated both he and Celtic’s day it came as the Parkhead side tried to force a way into the game in the latter stages.

As a corner fell to Brown on the edge of the box he went to hook the ball out to the touchline and instead hoofed it into the stand. It was that kind of performance from first minute to last. As the game finished and Scott Arfield celebrated with a parody 'Broony' stretch it was difficult to escape the sense that the Celtic captain's best days in this fixture may well be behind him.

Callum McGregor and Craig Gordon were Celtic’s only success stories. Gordon produced a string of saves to ensure that by the time McGregor had netted a borderline offside strike in the second period that Celtic were still in the reckoning to actually take something from the game. It said much about Celtic’s display that an out of position McGregor at left-back was Celtic’s most influential outfield player. Mikey Johnston, a promising winger, was forced to the start the game leading the line, a task that was inevitably just too much for him in a game such as this. Isolated for the majority as Rangers dominated, Johnston had little chance to leave any real impression.

Had Filip Benkovic not pulled up just before the end of the opening period it seems likely that Kieran Tierney might have been introduced at the break. That would have allowed McGregor to move into a more central role where Celtic were continually overrun. Hindsight is always great but the obvious call would have been to start the game with Jonny Hayes at left-back, thereby allowing McGregor – the best midfielder in the country this season – to play in his natural habitat.

However, with Benkovic off and Mikael Lustig in the book and also injured, Rodgers’ was forced to bring on Kristoffer Ajer and Anthony Ralston and hope to hang onto the game before introducing Odsonne Edouard on the hour mark.

Edouard was the gamble that didn’t work. Patched up and sent on to change the game at Pittodrie on Boxing Day, it worked a treat. But with the Frenchman still toiling and Leigh Griffiths out – and there was an odious element to the manner in which the Rangers support celebrated that – it meant there was a decision either to start Edouard or introduce him, knowing that he couldn’t go the full 90 minutes. When he did come on, just before the hour mark, there was time for Celtic to retrieve a toehold of the game but they just couldn’t catch their breath let alone retrieve their shorn composure.

Ultimately, though, it was difficult to escape the feeling that Rangers were up for it while Celtic went through the motions. The Ibrox side were hungry, hard-working, aggressive and spirited where Celtic were pedestrian and wasteful.

Ryan Christie dragged a shot wide of the target at the start of the second period and Forrest forced a save from Allan McGregor in the opening minutes but chances were rare, in sharp contrast to the waves at the other end.

Alfredo Morelos could consider himself fortunate to escape sanction for various infringements on Brown, Christie and Anthony Ralston, while referee John Beaton seemed swayed by the gladitorial crowd as every 50-50 went the way of the home side. Not that it was the reason for the scoreline. Celtic beat themselves in this one.