Rangers crowned Scottish champions as Celtic slip up
Steven Gerrard’s side win club’s first title in 10 years after 0-0 draw at Tannadice
Rangers fans outside Ibrox after their side’s win on Saturday. Rangers were confirmed as champions when Celtic drew with Dundee United on Sunday. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Dundee United 0 Celtic 0
Rangers have been crowned Scottish Premiership champions, removing Celtic’s vice-like grip on the trophy at the 10th time of asking.
Celtic’s 0-0 draw at Dundee United, following the 3-0 victory for Steven Gerrard’s side over St Mirren at Ibrox on Saturday, means Rangers have claimed the title with six matches to spare. They remain unbeaten in the league this season.
This marks a huge moment for Gerrard in his third season in management. The former Liverpool captain watched his Rangers side fall short of Celtic in 2018-19 and during the abbreviated 2019-20 campaign. Gerrard has also taken Rangers to the last 16 of this season’s Europa League, where they will face Slavia Prague.
Many Rangers supporters regard this title as the most significant in their history. Not only has Celtic’s attempt to break a Scottish record by winning a 10th championship in a row been halted but Rangers have recovered in full from their financial meltdown of 2012. After that, the club were placed in Scottish football’s lowest professional tier.
Fans broke coronavirus lockdown rules on Saturday by gathering outside Ibrox in Glasgow and setting off flares and fireworks.
At Dundee United, Celtic created and missed a barrowload of chances in a lop-sided encounter with United keeper Benjamin Siegrist on top form. Ultimately, Steven Gerrard’s side were left 20 points clear with six games remaining and will go into the Old Firm clash at Celtic Park on March 21st as champions for the 55th time.
After a decade of league domination for Celtic, and a recent period where they won 12 major trophies in a row, the Hoops will have to regroup and go again next season, most probably with a much-changed squad.
Interim manager John Kennedy made one change from the side which beat Aberdeen in his first game as caretaker manager, with on-loan Southampton attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi in for striker Patryk Klimala. James Forrest returned to the bench following ankle surgery for the first time since playing a Europa League against Riga last September.
As a plane circled Tannadice trailing a banner which read ‘Can you see us now? 55 titles’ in reference to Rangers’ imminent 55th title win, Celtic kept up their early pressure.
Skipper Scott Brown headed a David Turnbull corner over the bar from six yards before Siegrist blocked an effort from Celtic left-back Diego Laxalt. The Tayside outfit threatened only sporadically.
Celtic keeper Scott Bain clutched a lobbed shot from Ian Harkes and easily saved another long distance effort from the midfielder but in between Siegrist was again called into action to tip a drive from Celtic striker Odsonne Édouard over the bar.
Further efforts from Édouard and Callum McGregor followed before McNulty latched on to a Shankland pass but missed the target with only Bain to beat. In the 34th minute Laxalt did the same, set up by Elyounoussi but slashing his drive wide and then Siegrist pushed a Turnbull drive wide.
Celtic also began the second half on the front foot and from another Turnbull corner, Siegrist blocked with his knees Stephen Welsh’s powerful close range header and the home side survived yet again.
The United keeper made saves from Ryan Christie and Elyounoussi before the game was held up momentarily around the 55th minute after flares were thrown on to the edge of the pitch from outside the stadium.
In a rare United attack with Celtic stretched at the back, McNulty’s 20-yard shot was pushed behind by Bain but normal service soon resumed with Elyounoussi missing a great chance with his head from a Christie cross before screwing a drive wide of the far post.
Forrest replaced Brown and Leigh Griffiths came on for Elyounoussi but in the end Celtic were ragged and desperate, as they failed to stop their crown slipping off. – Guardian