The script on these occasions usually demands that the football is played at a sedentary pace, tackles are withheld, and the hero of the hour, on this occasion Claus Lundekvam, the Norwegian defender who spent 14 seasons with Southampton, emerges from the substitutes' bench to score a late winning goal for his side.
There were a few glimpses of the unusual - Matt Le Tissier, the Southampton legend put in a late cameo appearance while Tommy Kaland was afforded a late run-out for the home side after winning his place in an auction - but on the whole this was overshadowed by a professional, clinical display from Celtic who began their season with the sort of determination and commitment as they finished the last.
His starting line-up represented Strachan's first show of strength. Of those selected, only Mark Brown and Chris Killen could not be considered first-team first-choice picks, the pair filling in as Artur Boruc and Jan Venegoor of Hesselink enjoyed an extended break after their involvement in Euro 2008. Brown and Killen were not the only Celtic players under the microscope, however.
How Scott Brown fares in his second season at Celtic, given the difficulties he endured both on and off the field towards the end of his debut campaign, remains a source of great intrigue.
Brown was afforded a central midfield berth by Strachan, a move that saw Barry Robson shunted out to wide on the right wing, and it will be intriguing to witness which of the duo is relegated to the role of replacement once Shunsuke Nakamura returns to the fray.
Brown certainly did his chances no harm, buzzing about in typically energetic fashion for 45 minutes as if he were playing in a cup final rather than a friendly. A regular presence in the Southampton penalty box, the midfielder was unfortunate not to score with one early drive that sailed narrowly over the crossbar before being replaced at half-time Massimo Donati, another with plenty to prove after a disappointing debut season.
The Italian was the most noticeable man on the pitch with his shock of bleached blond hair but did little else to draw attention to himself in a subdued performance.
Vitorino Antunes' decision yesterday to sign up for a year on loan with Lecce rather than make a permanent move to Celtic Park has offered Lee Naylor a further stay of execution but for how much longer remains to be seen. Strachan has made signing a left-sided full-back one of his priorities this summer, that decision further vindicated by the ease with which Naylor was skinned by Bradley Wright-Phillips in one telling cameo.
In fairness to the Englishman, he was far more productive motoring forward to offer Aiden McGeady regular support, one enticing centre zipping across the six-yard box begging to be tapped in.
Gary Caldwell was another who entered last night's knock-about with his place in imminent jeopardy.
Celtic continue to pursue Gabriel Tamas, the Auxerre central defender - the player's demands are currently out of sync with what Celtic are willing to pay him - and will almost certainly look elsewhere should the current impasse with the Romanian prove to be unbreakable, Bobo Balde's late appearance from the substitutes' bench surely no more than one last chance to alert any would-be suitors to the Guinean's availability.
Given the nature of the match and time of year, this was a contest played at a surprisingly high tempo and with no little bite, Georgios Samaras and Michael Svensson enjoying a particularly feisty physical contest after appearing as half-time replacements.
That the visitors were taking this quite seriously was perfectly illustrated by the sight of Strachan and Neil Lennon, the Celtic first-team coach, doling out touchline instructions to Stephen McManus and Paul Hartley shortly after their team had taken the lead.That goal came from Killen, the striker sweeping home a low shot after 26 minutes following good work by Scott McDonald, the former Southampton striker. Killen, in fact, had passed up two simpler chances prior to his goal, while only a fine double save from Kelvin Davis kept out efforts from first McDonald and then Robson.
The pace noticeably dropped as the match wore on before Celtic made it 2-0 after 67 minutes, Robson slotting home a penalty after Samaras had been fouled. Fulham at Craven Cottage will provide a further test this afternoon.