Celtic secured their seventh Premiership title in a row with a humiliating 5-0 demolition of Rangers at Celtic Park.
The Scottish league leaders and defending champions knew that if they won on Sunday they would retain the title and convincingly swept their city neighbours aside with ease.
PSG loan striker Odsonne Edouard – scoring twice – and a first derby goal for James Forrest saw Brendan Rodgers’ side go in at the break with a dominant 3-0 half time lead.
Into the second half Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor rounded off the rout as Celtic confirmed their dominance over the club from the southside of the city – stretching their unbeaten run against the Ibrox side to 11 games.
It could have been even more punishing for Graeme Murty’s side if it wasn’t for the exploits of reserve keeper Jak Alnwick who made a series of excellent saves throughout the 90 minutes to prevent it looking like a rugby score.
Sunday’s victory now sees Celtic on the brink of a historic back to back treble, with Motherwell standing in their way in the Scottish Cup Final next month.
Story of the game
All the talk leading up to the game was of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard potentially taking on the Rangers job at the end of the season, as Rangers’ hierarchy and PR team continued to undermined current manager Murty. That he would be given a few million to challenge Celtic and wrestle the league title from the grasp.
However, the Celtic players decided to give Rodgers’ former skipper a reminder of the task at hand if he does indeed decide to take on the poisoned chalice of the Ibrox hotseat.
From the very first minute of the match, Celtic took the game to Rangers as they put down a marker which would continue throughout the 90 minutes in this powder keg of a match in the East End of Glasgow.
Celtic went ahead after 14 minutes when Kieran Tierney skinned Daniel Candeias down the Celtic left, before firing a cross into the path of Edouard, who flicked the ball home from close range.
There was a hunger from Celtic, one that was missing from the Rangers players who waddled around the park like a fat man chasing after a chip poke in the street. The fabled gap between the two sides which was claimed by some to be slight turned into a gulf as the home side swept the visitors aside like they were nothing.
They didn’t help themselves either with slack play as what happened to Graham Dorrans for Celtic’s second of the match. The former West Brom midfielder gifted possession to Celtic with James Forrest passing to Edouard, who drove towards the Rangers goal with Russell Martin backtracking before the PSG striker firing his shot across Alnwick and into the back of the net to send the Celtic fans into raptures.
Celtic scored their third just before half time as Boyata won the ball and slotted it to Forrest on the right. The winger had only one through in mind as he raced through the Rangers backline, jinking round three before unleashing a shot that saw Alnwick flapping at fresh air and drawing more anguish from the Rangers players and supporters alike.
Rangers mustered little fight in the first half, with a Jason Holt shot saved by Craig Gordon the only thing they could write home about.
Into the second half and if there was anyone with a shred of hope that Murty could regroup his players, they would walk out of the stadium minutes later as Celtic extended their lead.
Just like the first half, Celtic swarmed over Rangers like the Tatars over the Great Wall of China. Alnwick denied McGregor at the back post only for the ball to fall to Aussie playmaker Tom Rogic who calmly slotted a left footed shot past the Rangers keeper for Celtic’s fourth.
The mocking of their opponents went into overdrive as Celtic fans engaged in a stadium wide huddle and chanted ‘so f**king easy!’
Celtic’s fifth and final goal came soon after, Edouard rampaged down the left with James Tavernier being turned inside out – looking more of a pub team right back than the professional footballer he is supposed to be – before delivering a deadly ball into the box for McGregor to put it away.
Those Rangers fans who witnessed the humiliation at this point headed as quickly as possible to the exits, much to the enjoyment of the Celtic fans who waved them goodbye.
Humiliated, defeated and surrendered
Rangers were soundly beaten, but they were defeated long before kick off. When ten man Celtic won 3-2 at Ibrox last month that killed them off. Their fight drained out of them, they fought among themselves, unrest ensued, their most experienced players suspended by the club as the horde looked for scapegoats and all managed under the gaze of a youth coach out of his depth.
Murty has been hung out to dry by King and his cronies in the board room and you have to feel sorry for the former Scotland international. His managerial career will begin and end with Rangers, a real shame for a footballer who served club and country with dignity and courage – his charges within the Ibrox side are not fit to lace his boots.
With the final whistle sounding, it marked continued celebrations for Celtic and further suffering for Rangers as Brendan Rodgers’ side officially became Scottish champions for the seventh season in a row.
With Celtic now three away from winning ten in a row, Rangers will need a miracle to stop that from happening. They don’t have a David Murray to bankroll the club, they don’t have a dodgy porn star to advise them of what tax dodge to undertake this time round and they don’t have a squad of European pedigree to call upon – what they do have is an owner who spends more time in court and hiding from responsibility than fronting up to it, they rely on loans from directors and a company which is the last resort for many to fund each campaign when the season ticket money runs out and they have a squad who look more like pedigree chumps than have an ounce of European pedigree which used to grace the Ibrox club in the 90s.
And to make matters worse they could yet finish fourth with Aberdeen and Hibs looking the more likely to finish second and third in the league.
We may not have heard the Ibrox side’s post match comments as the media were told that no one would be put in front of the cameras, a less than dignified ending to a campaign bereft of class at Rangers.
For Celtic fans, they won’t care about Rangers continuing to be the basket case of a club that they have been for six years. Many will revel in their continued suffering and strut into work on Monday on cloud nine but many more will celebrate another season of dominance under the management of Brendan Rodgers with the Parkhead side just one win away from a historic back to back treble.
Something that the old Rangers failed to do during their nine-in-a-row campaign and during their tax dodging EBT years.
Brendan Rodgers will be at Celtic for ten in a row, the question is where will Rangers be when Celtic lift that tenth title?