Celtic drew 1-1 with Ayr United at Somerset Park, as Brendan Rodgers and Scott Brown locked horns for the first time in their respective managerial careers.

In the club's first pre-season game after 41 days away, they took the lead from the spot, following Odin Thiago Holm's contact with an Ayr defender in the penalty box. Kyogo Furuhashi stepped up and slotted it into the right of Harry Stone's net, which put the visitors up on the night. Their lead would only last 10 minutes, however, as substitute Lenny Agbaire took down his marker in the box following his dispossession of the ball, leading to the home side gaining a spot-kick for their troubles. Anton Dowd stepped up and sent Scott Bain the wrong way, levelling the score up at the 35-minute mark.

A plethora of changes occurred before the start of the second half, as the likes of Bosun Lawal, Tobi Oluwayemi and Mitchel Frame took to the pitch. The game largely lost its flow due to the number of changes, as the goals dried up after the break.

Bain started in goals, with the club still on the hunt for Joe Hart's successor, Josh Dede and Yuki Kobayashi were handed rare starts, as Maik Nawrocki and captain for the evening Stephen Welsh occupied the centre of defence. It was a midfield three of Tomoki Iwata, Holm and Kyle Ure, whilst Andrew Kyle, Nicolas Kuhn and Kyogo were deployed in the forward areas.

With all of that being said, what were the key and noteworthy events in tonight's match? The Celtic Way's Ryan McGinlay has his say...

Is it Holm-time?

Holm became a bit of a forgotten man last season, as the young Norwegian midfielder was very much a bit-part player in his debut Celtic campaign. Though he did show nice touches against the likes of Buckie Thistle and Aberdeen in doses, the player sometimes struggled to make the bench and was barely seen in the latter stages of proceedings for his new club. Starting this game tonight in the midfield alongside Iwata and Ure, Holm’s touch was on point from the get-go, as the talented middle-man endeavoured to make things happen for his team and manager. His sharpness would come home to roost in the box, as his injection of pace to get to a loose ball forced his Ayr marker to take him down in the penalty area, forcing a spot-kick. His low centre of gravity in the middle of the park was a nightmare for his opponents to handle, as he looked to get the ball forward with speed and purpose at every opportunity. A big season ahead for the Norway U21 international, and one that he has to deliver in, for himself as much as the club he plays for. The time is now for Holm to make that midfield his home, or he may need to look elsewhere for the game-time he surely craves. A promising showing from Celtic’s number 15 on the night, with 45 minutes safely in the tank from Holm’s perspective. More to come, for sure.

 Another knock for Nawrocki

Unfortunately, it's another season, another injury for Nawrocki at Celtic. Plagued by knocks and setbacks in his first campaign following his big-money move from Legia Warsaw in his homeland, the Poland defender only lasted 19 minutes before being taken off due to his latest casualty. He had started the game positively, as the imposing defender looked to make things happen, both in possession and his defensive work when Ayr United ventured forward. Thanks to this injury, Celtic B team stalwart Agbaire took to the field, though his performance was shaky at best. Having been dispossessed on the ball, the young defender took his man down in the box, costing his team a spot-kick just minutes after being awarded one at the other end. Defensively, Celtic clearly need reinforcements in this area, despite Cameron Carter-Vickers and Liam Scales not featuring as of yet in pre-season. With this harsh fact, the recent links to the likes of Flavius Daniliuc, Scott McKenna and most recently Dara O’Shea point to an understanding of the need for strengthening in this key position. For the stricken Nawrocki, this injury may very well kill any forward momentum that the defender had. Fingers crossed that his latest ailment will keep him out for as little time as possible, as the stopper has had a rough time of it since his move to Scotland and Celtic. A shame, but a reoccurring one for the big defender.

Much to like about Lawal

There has been a lot of excitement surrounding Bosun Lawal since his return from Fleetwood Town, where he spent a full season on loan in League One. Coming onto the pitch for the second half in place of Iwata, Lawal was playing in his favoured position at the base of midfield, his only senior appearance for Celtic being at centre-back a couple of years ago. He could not have started his first game back any worse, as he immediately gave the ball away when it came to his feet. Clearly an imposing figure physically, the Republic of Ireland U21 stalwart made his presence known both on the ball and when pressing the opposition, managed by the individual who brokered his move to Fleetwood a year ago. Five minutes into his first appearance back, he broke the Ayr midfield lines by galloping through, passing the ball out to Yang Hyun-jun, who should have scored from close range. This creative side will impress his manager, who may be on the lookout for a new holding midfielder, especially in the Champions League. Though it is early days with Lawal concerning his senior Celtic career, his manager may not need to look far for the answer to that number six conundrum.

Celtic's Korean contingent get a run-out

Tonight was a chance to witness all three of Celtic’s South Korean players in action for the club, with Rodgers electing to give Kwon Hyeok-kyu, Yang and Oh Hyeon-gyu each a run-out in the second half. It was the former St Mirren loanee Kwon who looked the brightest earlier on in the half, as his partnership with Lawal in the deep midfield areas was proving to be fruitful for the much-changed side. He also looks to have put on some muscle, which will do the previously slight midfielder no harm in his attempt to force his way into Rodgers’ plans. Yang had a golden opportunity to score after a well-weighted pass from the impressive Lawal found its way to the winger, but his shot went well over the bar. The Oh situation is a confusing one, as he played 45 minutes despite the very public interest from Belgian side Genk. Is this deal now dead in the water? Or is it taking longer than expected to go through? Either way, it was a nice touch to see all of Celtic’s Korean players take to the field in the same team, and all put in a shift, despite their differing situations respectively.

An admirable night in Ayr

As is the case with any of these pre-season games, the result does not matter all that much, especially given how early it is in the season’s preparations as a whole. Despite this, the atmosphere made this a good spectacle to witness and attend. Ayr United’s pitch was in pristine condition – what you would expect at the start of the season – which allowed both teams to pass the ball with relative ease in the match. With the celebrations of the unveiling of Ayr’s new stand fuelling the noise pre-match, both the home fans and the visiting spectators were up for this game despite its friendly nature. In years gone by, Celtic would travel to the likes of Austria and Portugal for warmer-weather training camps, in which only a few hundred spectators could witness proceedings, if at all. A successful outing for the team, as they were put through their paces against a solid and well-motivated Ayr United side. Next, they face Queens Park at Lesser Hampden on Wednesday night, as their mini-tour of the Scottish Championship heads back to Glasgow. Here’s hoping these domestic friendlies continue in this vein in the coming years, as they benefit all parties, both physically and financially. A good evening out at Somerset Park for all involved, regardless of age or allegiance.