Celtic on verge of securing 54th title, next season we’re going for 55 not out

Celtic took all three points today at Celtic Park to all but guarantee the league title barring an absolute capitulation in our next two fixtures away to Kilmarnock and at home on the final day of the season to St Mirren. Overall it was a strange game, one that swung from the highest of highs in the first half to moments of anxiety as the game came to its climax.

Celtic started the game pretty much in the same vein as they ended last week’s match against Hearts. Playing with intensity and purpose while moving the ball around the park fluidly, Celtic were constantly probing the oppositions defence and it looked like only a matter of time until we opened the scoring. Celtic were willing to test Jack Butland from distance with both McGregor and O’Riley getting a few shots in from the edge of the box.

The opening goal came on the 35th minute through Matt O’Riley, once again taking a pop from the edge of the box and burying at beautifully into the corner leaving Butland with no chance. theRangers were on the ropes afterwards and Celtic struck again only minutes later. Once again it was Daizen Maeda tormenting James Tavernier, theRangers captain backing off as the Japanese speedster ran directly at him before whipping a ball into the area where John Lundstrum, who was being dominated in the midfield area, diverted the ball into his own goal to make it 2-0 to Celtic.

At this point it looked like anything was possible but inexplicably Celtic lost concentration and handed the opposition an easy goal back with once again our weakness at the back post under a high ball being exposed as Greg Taylor lost out leaving Cyril Dessers with an easy nod in on the goal line to somehow get his team back into a game which looked to be rapidly slipping away from them. It was a moment of disappointment but in all honesty I wasn’t overly affected as Celtic were so dominant it just felt like a blip but not something that would derail us entirely.

Cyriel Dessers of theRangers celebrates scoring the reduce the deficit to 2-1 during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and theRangers at Celtic Park  on May 11, 2024.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Before the half time whistle John Lundstrum looked to have put the nail in the coffin for his sides chances of getting back into this game as a reckless challenge on Alastair Johnston led to what should have been a certain red but was initially only deemed a yellow by referee Willie Collum. After being told to view the monitor by VAR, Collum correctly changed the decision to a red.

This was as clear a red card as you will see, with pretty much everyone in agreement apart from Kenny Miller on commentary. Miller’s view was absolutely laughable at the time but actually turned embarrassing as he doubled down on his opinion post game, with the rest of the pundits actually laughing at him, with even his mate Kris Boyd mocking him after his mad rant that was more akin to something you would hear on Clyde Superscoreboard than from a footballing ‘Pundit’.

In the second half Celtic came out firing again and it looked only a matter of time before we put the game out of sight. We were handed the perfect opportunity when Matt O’Riley won a penalty for a clear trip inside the box that was given straight away by the referee. Then once again we were treated to another instance of how bad our VAR is when instead of quickly agreeing it was the correct decision, the referee was called to view the clear penalty again at the side of the pitch and after a ridiculous amount of time later O’Riley finally got his chance to take the penalty.

Jack Butland saves Matt O’Riley’s penalty during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic  and theRangers at Celtic Park on May 11, 2024. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It was a poor effort for the Danish international, who quite rightly referred to it as shit in his post match interview. I have to say however that the amount of time he had to spend hovering around the penalty spot waiting for the officials to ok the original decision was an absolute disgrace and is a clear example of why people hate VAR in our league. Something must be done about this next season as the whole process is becoming as big as embarrassment to Scottish football as Kenny Miller was to Sky Sports today.

After the missed penalty things quickly regressed for Celtic. The crowd was magnificent up to that point and it sort of seemed to suck the life out of the atmosphere as our fans bemoaned our inability to score from 12 yards yet again. Penalties is something that must be worked on as we head into next season as we are one of the worst teams around from the spot. The performance level seemed to decline at this point also, much like the penalty itself we seemed to become a bit nonchalant afterwards, our intensity suddenly disappeared.

To be honest I was buzzing before this point but the next 40 minutes transpired to turn my great mood into a mixture of unnecessary frustration and anxiety as we seemed to be doing everything possible to throw the game away. Our wheels seemed to come completely off, the fluid passing of the first 55 minutes deserted us and we started inviting pressure due to our sloppy play. Even though our levels had noticeably slipped we were the team still getting the clearer opportunities, but we were making a habit of squandering them time and time again.

What should have been a celebratory second half as we cruised towards three points became frustrating and I was glad to hear the final whistle as to throw away points from the position we were in would have been criminal. All in all however we got what we came for. A lingering feeling, and not for the first time this season against theRangers may I add, remains that we should have smashed them but maybe we are saving that drubbing for the Scottish Cup final.

There’s a few points about today I would like to add. Although Matt O’Riley got the official man of the match award I thought that captain Callum McGregor was once again excellent in the middle of the park against theRangers. The difference between him and his counterpart for the opposition in John Lundstrum pretty much sums it up. One lost his head when his team needed him and the other excelled. I thought James Forrest also put a great shift in and it shows that homegrown players with experience of this fixture are vital in such big games.

Celtic captain Callum McGregor celebrates at full time during theScottish Premiership match between Celtic  and theRangers at Celtic Park on May 11, 2024. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

A huge win in the end and a six point lead with two games remaining is all that really mattered today and we should hopefully seal the title officially on Wednesday night away to Kilmarnock. Congratulations to the players for stepping up in such a pressurised game once again and delivering the goods. At certain stages this season we doubted we would get here but in the end it looks like Brendan Rodgers vow about seeing the Celtic fans celebrating on the Celtic Way come May might be about to come true.

Conall McGinty

Well done Conall In getting your article in , the rest are in the pub!

About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!


  1. Great summary.
    BR no mug.
    Put his best 11 out today with Jamie relishing a crack at the Aul enemy.
    Roll on the cup final.
    Hail Hail.

  2. So with 54 we will equal the incredible record of the now extinct club who used to play in Govan. Fair game to them! After all, before their extinction, there aren’t many things they achieved the we hadn’t done already but this was one! Maybe not surprising considering they did have sixteen years existence before we were founded! They also had a ten year plus spell of blinkered corruption by the SFA which enabled them to equal our magnificent and against all odds, nine in a row from the sixties into the seventies.
    But in their efforts to chase our Lions, they took their eye off the ball, forgot that their corrupt compatriots at the SFA were unable to help them achieve European greatness to equal ours, their corruption would eventually take them to their grave. So while their 54 was achieved with tainted assistance, it still couldn’t keep their cheating hearts beating and they simply died!
    So we are about accomplish a real, yet another, “against all odds” achievement.
    Hail Hail!
    One Club. A Club Like No Other!

    If and when we get this one across the line, we can focus on number 55, and if successful we will, like it or not, be the only club in Scotland to hold such acclaimed status. Celtic are still the same club who started out all those years ago in 1887/88.