It was a portent of what was to come that when Celtic scored their second of the night Motherwell already looked punch-drunk.

At that stage there were still ten long minutes to get through before the brief sanctuary of the dressing room beckoned. Inevitably, though, they came again – and again and again – as Motherwell buckled and Celtic meandered their way into the quarter-finals of the BetFred Cup.

By the time Motherwell staggered out of this 5-0 hammering, the towel had firmly been thrown in as Celtic produced their first heavyweight performance of the domestic season.

The Parkhead side played the kind of football that was slick and easy on the eye with its propensity always taking them forward. Motherwell had no answer to the recurring incursions as Celtic, with Scott Sinclair, Tom Rogic and James Forrest at its core, pulled them apart.

There is always a rush to judgement in these parts but even in these early days, Sinclair looks like a safe bet this season for Celtic. He scored one, created another but it was his pace and trickery that caused Motherwell all manner of discomfort.

Brendan Rodgers was dogged in his pursuit of Sinclair, whom he worked with at both Chelsea and Swansea, and even on such premature evidence there is an acknowledgement of why. Sinclair has added pace to a Celtic midfield that has routinely been criticised as too one-dimensional and last night he was at the heart of much of what was good about the Parkhead side.

There was a zip and menace about Celtic from the opening minutes and while it took 20 minutes from the opener to come, on this kind of form there was an inevitability about the fact they were spoiling to dish out a hefty defeat.

The dexterous attacking display was not just the only source of satisfaction for Rodgers to take from the game.

While Sinclair will be regarding as crucial going into next week’s UEFA Champions league qualifier against Hapoel Be’er Sheva, there was also much for Moussa Dembele to take from this routine slaying of Motherwell.

Tom Rogic netted the first and last of the night but Moussa Dembele adding a brace will do no harm to his confidence at all. The player broke his duck last week with a ballsy penalty against Astana in the final minute of a pulsating and nervy qualifier, but the two he got against Motherwell last night will have further aided his confidence as he seeks to make a name for himself at Celtic.

As for Rodgers himself, there will be a quiet feeling that he is ready to pen a successful opening chapter to his Celtic career.

There was that short, sharp shock against Lincoln Red Imps that might have shaken him from any notions he had about the job that lay in wait, but as he opened the Premier League season with a win at Tynecastle and eased Celtic into the quarter-finals of the League Cup last night, the Hoops boss will have felt justified in viewing his opening chapter with some satisfaction.

The only thing that could blot his paper would be failing to make the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.

And where a game like last night will come into its own for Celtic is the fact it provided another layer of momentum as the club seek to underpin the season with the kind of tension and prestige that playing in Europe’s premier competition brings.

It was Rogic who opened the scoring after just 20 minutes with a classy effort, but the architect of the goal also deserved to take a bow. Callum McGregor dinked a deft chip from the edge of the box where Rogic brought the ball down with his right foot, swivelled and connected with his left to give Celtic a lead they were never likely to relinquish.

Sinclair looks like a player ready to unleash the pent up frustration of kicking his heels for the best part of a couple of seasons.

It was he who brought forth the second when he was felled in the box by Richard Tait, creating the opportunity for Dembele to ram home from the spot.

By the time the interval came Celtic were relentless, pressing and pushing and opening holes with every incursion. Sinclair had an attempt deflected onto the crossbar while Dembele crashed the rebound off the woodwork.

Motherwell changed things at the break as they introduced Lionel Ainsworth for Steven Hammell as the visitors tried to claw their way back into the game but Celtic’s movement kept them on the backfoot.

Dembele could have added a second when he rode a tackle at the back post before sending an effort just over the bar but it simply a stay of execution.

Sinclair added a third and Motherwell caved. The former Aston Villa midfielder cut inside before sinking a shot into the top right-hand corner, a goal that was quickly followed by Dembele’s second and Celtic’s fourth.

Rogic polished it off with a fifth but by that stage, Motherwell were long gone.

Rodgers threw in some of the Hops kids, with Jamie McCart, son of former Motherwell player and current head of youth development at Celtic, making his competitive debut for the club while Anthony Ralston also got some game time under his belt.

By the time the whistle sounded, though, it was music to Motherwell’s ears.