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Five-star Celtic celebrate seventh title in a row

Celtic secured their seventh consecutive Premiership title with a chastening defeat of Old Firm rivals Rangers.

The defending champions needed to win at Celtic Park to retain their crown, and they swept the visitors aside.

Odsonne Edouard, with two, and James Forrest established a comfortable half-time lead.

Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor rounded off the scoring after the break as Celtic confirmed their dominance.

Rangers goalkeeper Jak Alnwick made three excellent second-half saves to prevent the scoreline becoming even more galling for the Ibrox side

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Seven up in champagne Celtic dressing-room

The victory leaves Celtic on the brink of the historic achievement of winning back-to-back trebles, with Motherwell their opponents in the Scottish Cup final, having already beaten the Fir Park side in the League Cup final last November.

Celtic have not strutted their way through the entire league season as they did last time, the title largely being won in third gear. When they have been of a mind to reach for fourth and fifth gear, however, they have been formidable – and this was one of those days.

Even from the first moments, when they forced three corners in the opening three minutes, there was an irresistible sense of a shellacking in the offing.

This was a rout to end all routs. Only Alnwick kept it to five – the goalkeeper was the visitors’ best player. In truth, he was their only player.

Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard<!–

Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard scored twice and created another as he led from the front against Rangers

A year ago to the day, Celtic went to Ibrox and won 5-1. Here, they had five in the bag before an hour had been played. Without too much of a stretch, they could have had six, seven, eight or nine goals.

A penny for Steven Gerrard’s thoughts as he contemplates taking over as Rangers manager. The former Liverpool captain and current Anfield coach was not at Celtic Park but wherever he was he would have been gulping hard.

The champions were ahead after 14 minutes when Kieran Tierney took on Daniel Candeias down the right, beat him with ease and then slid a cross into Edouard’s path. The striker scored from close range.

Celtic defender Mikael Lustig celebrates<!–

Celtic made the most of the occasion, as the players celebrated putting Rangers to the sword

Edouard was in the team ahead of the injured Moussa Dembele and the substitute Leigh Griffiths – and he was terrific. He was not alone. Forrest, McGregor and Rogic all laid the foundations early on, and all reduced Rangers to ruins.

There was a snap to Celtic, a pace, a hunger and a physicality. The gap in ability was one thing, but the gap in aggression was every bit as stark. Time and again, Celtic brushed Rangers aside like men against small boys.

The visitors could not keep what little ball they had – and when they gave it away, as Graham Dorrans did for the second goal, they were ripped apart by a team that basked in the occasion. Forrest found Edouard, who had Russell Martin in retreat before drilling his shot across Alnwick.

A third arrived before the break. Dedryck Boyata was alive to the loose ball and in a sense that little moment – the Belgian’s speed of thought and desire to win the ball against a passive opponent – was the game in microcosm.

Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday<!–

Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday was pressed into service as a left-back, and like his team-mates endured a difficult afternoon

Celtic did not just have infinitely better players, they had an infinitely better attitude. So when Boyata won the ball and Forrest received it on the right, the winger had one thing in mind. He went outside one Rangers man, went between two more and then cracked his shot past Alnwick.

Throughout all of this, Rangers had one moment – Jason Holt’s shot which was saved by Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon. Beyond that? Nothing. Not a peep. And if they hoped to steady the ship during half-time, that idea was sunk within minutes of the restart.

Celtic swarmed all over them. McGregor’s attempt was beaten away by Alnwick but once more the hosts fought harder to retrieve the ball and when it came to Rogic, the Australian stroked a left-footed shot past the Rangers goalkeeper for the fourth.

At this point, the celebrations and the mocking at Celtic Park had gone into overdrive. The Rangers end slowly but surely started to empty.

Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor scores against Rangers<!–

Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor scored his 11th goal of the season in the rout of Rangers

The fifth came soon after. Edouard went up the left and James Tavernier did not do nearly enough to stop him. It was easy, oh so easy. Edouard delivered the ball into the box and McGregor put it away. Cue more rejoicing.

Rangers were beaten very early in this game but by the hour their spirit was lying in shreds on the floor. Olivier Ntcham had a shot that produced a fine save from Alnwick. Forrest had a chance and Alnwick stopped that one, too. He made another block within minutes. Martin had to hoof one off the line just after.

The final whistle was a blessing for Rangers. It marked the end of their suffering and the confirmation of a seventh straight title for Celtic, wrapped up in the most thunderous fashion.

Celtic's Tom Rogic and James Forrest celebrate against Rangers<!–

Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic struck his fourth goal in five Old Firm games his season

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 5, Rangers 0.

Second Half ends, Celtic 5, Rangers 0.

(Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

Attempt missed. Daniel Candeias (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jason Cummings (Rangers).

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

Delay in match Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic) because of an injury.

Jack Hendry (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Jack Hendry (Celtic).

Jamie Murphy (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) header from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Daniel Candeias (Rangers).

Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

Attempt missed. Jack Hendry (Celtic) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Ross McCrorie.

Jason Holt (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jason Holt (Rangers).

Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Odsonne Edouard.

Attempt blocked. Jason Cummings (Rangers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Dedryck Boyata.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jason Holt (Rangers).

Substitution, Celtic. Jack Hendry replaces Mikael Lustig because of an injury.

Substitution, Rangers. Greg Docherty replaces Graham Dorrans.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Jason Holt.

Daniel Candeias (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

Attempt saved. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution, Celtic. Scott Sinclair replaces Tomas Rogic.

Tomas Rogic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

News Reporter

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