Celtic came out of hibernation yesterday afternoon with St Johnstone the focal point for their renewed sense of self.

If James Forrest felt he had to atone for his red-card in Thursday night’s Europa League defeat in Salzburg then he did that and a little bit more.

The Celtic winger set the tone for the 6-0 win - the biggest league win of Rodgers’ Celtic career and only the second time Brendan Rodgers has seen Celtic hit six in one game. It was also the first time they have hit more than three goals this term with a performance that was not just clinical but fluent and devastating in its delivery.

If Forrest was the hero of the afternoon with four goals netted in an opening half blitz on St Johnstone, the performance as a whole was far more akin to the aggressive and attacking philosophy that was so evident under Rodgers’ early tenure at the club.

Forrest became the first Celtic player to score four goals in an away game since Maciej Zurawski did the same in an 8-1 thumping of Dunfermline in 2006. Curiously, it was also the biggest win Celtic have had in Perth since 1968 – when Bobby Murdoch netted four in a 6-1 win.

The end result was a display that left St Johnstone struggling for breath as the pressure just kept on coming. It has been an odd season for Celtic and for Rodgers so far. For the first time under the Irishman’s charge there has been a negativity around the club following a lacklustre transfer window and a series of insipid performances this term. On the back of a defeat to Salzburg on Thursday night a performance and win of this magnitude was badly needed. And in some sense for the Celtic support it would have felt like watching their team properly in action action. The menace of Celtic every time they went forward, with Forrest the inspiration behind much of it, offered a reminder of just how ruthless Celtic can be when it clicks. The challenge now is to sustain it once league duty resumes after the international break.

Even before Forrest had netted the opener in 15 minutes there was a sense that the Scotland internationalist was set to be St Johnstone’s tormentor-in-chief. Direct and dangerous, Forrest was at the heart of every attacking move Celtic made in that opening period.

The Parkhead side had netted just six goals in their last seven games prior to yesterday’s encounter.

Forrest breached St Johnstone’ defence for the first time after just 15 minutes after starting and finishing the move which led to the opener.

The winger had sent Tom Rogic through who had then teed up Odsonne Edouard. As the French striker’s effort was parried back out by Zander Clark, Forrest was first to bury the rebound.

It was a sign of what was to come as St Johnstone collapsed and Celtic turned the screw.

Edouard netted the second after been teed up by Kieran Tierney when he swung out a leg to lob a delightful effort into the net from the edge of the box and from there the roof caved in.

Forrest added the third, the fourth and the fifth all before St Johnstone were able to reach the sanctuary of the dressing room.

The third had come after an exquisite one-two with Rogic before Forrest finished, the fourth came after Leigh Griffiths had tried to play in Edouard. As the ball rolled through the beleaguered St Johnstone defence, Forrest was quick to pounce and net his hat-trick.

There was still more to come. As Forrest caused panic every time he had the ball at his feet, it seemed inevitable that more goals would come.

As St Johnstone’s torturous afternoon endured, Rogic flicked the ball into Forrest path with the winger easing his way into the box before sending the ball into the net. It was the first time that Forrest has netted four goals in any one game and only his second hat-trick for the club – the first came in the League Cup against Partick Thistle last February.

The second period opened where the first had left off with Edouard bringing out a save from the beleaguered Clark as Celtic kept up their attacking intentions.

There were just three minutes of the second period played when Forrest took the full force of Danny Swanson’s ire; with Forrest skipping past him, the St Johnstone player crudely lunged in with referee Kevin Clancy quick to flash the red card.

Olivier Ntcham almost added another shortly after with a raking effort from the edge of the box while substitute Jozo Simunovic also let fly with an effort from the edge of the box.

The sixth arrived as the game drew to a close. Mikael Lustig provided the cutback for Callum McGregor to convert from close range.

It set the seal on a result that Celtic have craved for some weeks. How and if they build on it now will provide some interest.