Celtic: Seven key games that helped secure the Scottish Premiership title

Celtic are celebrating a 10th title in 11 seasons in what has been a remarkable debut campaign for manager Ange Postecoglou.

The Australian got off to a sticky start as he reshaped an ailing squad, but once they found a groove on his side were unstoppable, going 31 matches unbeaten on their way to glory.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though, with a few close shaves here and there, along with crucial back-to-back derby wins.

Here we take a look at some of key matches en route to the Scottish Premiership crown.

Aberdeen 1-2 Celtic, 3 October

Celtic hadn’t won on the road in the Premiership since the previous February and were enduring a faltering start under Postecoglou when they headed to Pittodrie.

But Jota’s crucial 84th-minute goal secured thier first away points in the league following defeats at Hearts, Rangers and Livingston.

Kyogo Furuhashi chested in a deserved early opener before Aberdeen improved after the break and equalized when Lewis Ferguson diverted a corner in.

Jota’s close-range finish meant Celtic ended their travel sickness but still had plenty of catching up to do as they were in sixth place after eight matches.

Ross County 1-2 Celtic, 15 December

Anthony Ralston’s 97th-minute winner for 10-man Celtic brought visiting fans spilling onto the pitch at Dingwall.

With no fit centre-forward and two full-backs playing as wingers, the visitors led through stand-in striker Liel Abada, while Jack Baldwin leveled for County, who were 11th at the time.

Carl Starfelt was dismissed for a second booking, but Ralston’s header deep into stoppage-time made it a sixth straight league victory to keep Celtic within four points of leaders Rangers.

St Johnstone 1-3 Celtic, 26 December

Celtic were held to a goalless stalemate at Covid-depleted St Mirren a few days after lifting the League Cup and couldn’t afford to lose any more ground when they traveled to Perth minus more than a dozen players.

Abada scored two early goals, either side of an injury to Kyogo which would keep the Japanese striker sidelined until April, with Chris Kane reducing the deficit after the interval.

Nir Bitton lashed in a late third to send Celtic into the earlier than planned winter break six points adrift of leaders Rangers.

Celtic 1-0 Dundee United, 29 January

Three days on from a 2-1 success at Tynecastle, during which Liam Boyce scored and hit a post with a penalty for Hearts, Celtic were sweating again.

They passed the 90-minute mark against United with the game goalless and with 10 men after a second booking for Bitton. However, Postecoglou’s men finally found a way through when Abada knocked in from close range as the visiting defense failed to deal with a cross from Jota.

With Rangers drawing at Ross County on the same day after dropping points at Pittodrie earlier in the month, the gap was down to two points.

Celtic 3-0 Rangers, 2 February

Reo Hatate fires in the opening goal on a night to remember for Celtic fans
Reo Hatate fires in the opening goal on a night to remember for Celtic fans

Celtic stormed to the Premiership summit, blowing Rangers away with a sensational first-half display.

In just his fourth appearance for the club, Japanese midfielder Reo Hatate scored twice, with Abada also on target as the visitors fell to their first defeat under Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

A one-sided affair put an emphatic end to Celtic’s seven-game winless run in Old Firm derbies.

Livingston 1-3 Celtic, 6 March

The scene of an early-season defeat, the artificial turf in West Lothian had caused Celtic all sorts of problems in recent years.

Livingston had also drawn 0-0 at Celtic Park in October and were on a great run, second behind Celtic in the 2022 form table. However, a first win at the Tony Macaroni since 2007 was delivered without much fuss.

Captain Callum McGregor missed a penalty before a Daizen Maeda header, Nicky Devlin own goal and James Forrest’s fine finish delivered victory in what was Postecoglou’s 50th game in charge.

Rangers 1-2 Celtic, 3 April

Celtic landed another heavy blow on the defending champions to all but wrest the Premiership trophy away from Ibrox.

Rangers raced into an early lead through Aaron Ramsey but Tom Rogic hit back straight away and Cameron Carter-Vickers was the match-winner, with the defender sweeping home a shot after challenging for a header from a free-kick.

Carter-Vickers and Starfelt then stood firm at the back to repel a series of Rangers crosses in the second half as the visitors opened up a six-point lead – and 16-goal advantage – at the top with just six goals left.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.