Dunfermline 0 Celtic 4
Maciej Zurawski and Shunsuke Nakamura chose East End Park as the venue for their first Celtic goals as the Hoops thrashed Dunfermline 4-0.
The Pole, who would not have played had Shaun Maloney been fit, netted twice as Gordon Strachan’s side moved up into second place in the Bank of Scotland Premier League.
John Hartson was a more familiar name on the scoresheet on a day when nothing went right for Jim Leishman’s Pars.
Celtic had kicked off in the unfamiliar position of fifth and with Neil Lennon and Alan Thompson suspended for their part in a tempestuous Old Firm defeat last week there was an air of frailty about the Hoops line-up.
Adam Virgo was handed his first start in Lennon’s midfield holding role while Zurawski was restored to the starting line-up so Craig Beattie move to the right of a rejigged midfield.
Within 10 minutes however it was clear where the three points were going as the Pars underlined why they are relegation candidates rather than part of the new breed of Old Firm headhunter now stalking the top division.
Zurawski helped himself to his long-awaited debut goal in the sixth minute and it was all his own work too.
The Pole, who had hitherto struggled to justify his £2million-plus price tag, glided into space on the left to receive a Mo Camara pass and having slipped his way past a conveyor belt of challengers beat Bryn Halliwell at his near post with a low drive.
Worse was to come for the goalkeeper, who had kept his side in the game in a midweek cup tie at Gretna, just five minutes later.
Skipper Scott Thomson created an air of uncertainty by getting the ball stuck under his feet on the edge of his own box but when he played the ball back for Halliwell to clear the Englishman should have been able to do just that.
Instead he managed only to scuff it straight to Hartson, who managed to contain his obvious surprise and delight to locate an empty net with ease to notch his seventh of the campaign so far.
The Pars lost midfielder Gary Mason to a Hartson challenge – the Welshman appeared to punch him in the head accidentally – so Derek Young came on in the 21st minute.
A lifeline was handed to the home side in the 27th minute when Virgo, who was already struggling to look the part, barged Mark Burchill over in the box.
The former Celtic striker picked himself up to take the spot-kick himself but Artur Boruc, the other Poland international at Celtic Park, guessed right by diving left and palmed it away.
Nakamura played only a peripheral role in the early proceedings as yet another Scottish game seemed to be passing him by.
But he almost made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute when he was involved in a fine move involving Beattie and Zurawski – the Pole laid the ball back from the left but although Nakamura met it firmly with a first-time effort it was straight at Halliwell.
Beattie might have hurt the Pars further four minutes before the break when Camara found him in space in the box but the Scotland B striker’s first touch was too heavy and he could only locate the sidenetting.
Young Pars defender Iain Campbell was booked five minutes into the second half after Nakamura had gone down on the right touchline clutching his face. Campbell reacted angrily, claiming the Celtic man was faking it, and a linesman had to intervene.
Dunfermline lived dangerously when Lee Makel sold Darren Young short with a pass that Beattie intercepted and, after outpacing Andy Tod, he set up Hartson for a shot that Halliwell was behind.
But a third goal was on its way and Nakamura duly provided it in the 57th minute to open his own Celtic account.
Zurawski was the provider, by turning his marker inside out on the left and then waiting for his team-mate to make his run into the box and slot home.
Zurawski fired over straight afterwards when he should have scored, following another sublime turn, and when he did head past Halliwell a raised flag cut short his celebrations.
Dunfermline had a Pole of their own on the pitch in the shape of striker Bartosz Tarachulski but he had made little impact until a chance came his way just after the hour mark – out came a long leg to poke goalwards but fellow countryman Boruc was in the way.
Zurawski blazed over again at the other end after Celtic, safe in the knowledge that victory was theirs, had ended Virgo’s unimpressive day to give Scotland Under-21 midfielder Paul Lawson a taste of first team action.
The Pole made it 4-0 with a quarter of an hour remaining when he beat Thomson in a chase for a through ball and slotted past Halliwell. The Pars skipper had been injured in the process and was soon replaced by new signing Liam Horsted.
Zurawski was replaced by Aiden McGeady with two minutes remaining and, for the first time, his removal was cheered for positive reasons by the Celtic fans.