5 key games of Celtic’s campaign as title returns to Parkhead

The Hoops have been crowned Scottish champions for the 10th time in 11 seasons.

By Press Association Published: 11 May 2022 - 8.29pm

Celtic have been crowned Scottish champions for the 10th time in 11 seasons.

The Hoops recovered from a slow start to the campaign to regain the cinch Premiership title from Rangers.

Here the PA news agency looks back on five key games in the title race.

Aberdeen 1 Celtic 2

Jota
Jota celebrates his winner (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Celtic had lost their first three away matches of the league season and not won in eight months on the road in Scotland before facing the Dons on October 3. They had not even been in the lead away from home since beating St Johnstone in February 2021 before Kyogo Furuhashi headed them in front in the first half at Pittodrie. However, Aberdeen fought back strongly and Lewis Ferguson equalised and Celtic struggled to create any second-half chances until Jota netted an 84th-minute winner. The travelling fans went wild and Ange Postecoglou’s celebrations afterwards appeared to be a crucial part in his connection with the support. The manager said afterwards: “We’re a new team. If you look at the players who are playing at the moment, very few of them have actually had meaningful Celtic careers so far. It’s just that understanding of what the expectations are at this football club week in, week out. I have felt it’s in the team but we’ve just not been able to get over that hump. Hopefully this gives them the confidence that they can.”

Ross County 1 Celtic 2

Anthony Ralston
Anthony Ralston’s late goal sparked wild celebrations (Steve Welsh/PA)

A depleted Celtic side were drifting six points behind Rangers until Anthony Ralston headed home in the sixth minute of stoppage time in Dingwall on December 15. Postecoglou was without six attackers and started with winger Liel Abada in the centre-forward role. The “super-proud” Australian said of his players: “They had to put up with a lot of adversity but testament to their spirit and composure and character, they kept playing their football and got a deserved winning goal.”

Celtic 3 Rangers 0

Reo Hatate
Reo Hatate celebrates (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Hoops did ultimately go into the winter break six points adrift following a disappointing draw with a Covid-ravaged St Mirren side, but Rangers opened the door with draws against Aberdeen and Ross County after the resumption. Celtic battered the door down with an emphatic derby win on February to go top of the table. A double from Reo Hatate and a goal from Liel Abada earned Celtic the points before half-time and the manner of their victory added a psychological edge to the points advantage. Postecoglou claimed his side were “everything we wanted to be as a football team”.

Livingston 1 Celtic 3

James Forrest
James Forrest netted at Livingston (PA)

The Hoops recorded their first win in West Lothian since 2007 to restore their three-point lead and show their title credentials on March 6. Celtic had not scored and taken only one point from their previous two games this season against David Martindale’s in-form side but were quickly out of the blocks through Daizen Maeda’s header before an own goal and James Forrest’s first league goal of the campaign sealed three points. Postecoglou said: “The players knew it was a challenge. They went about it the right way and didn’t shy away from it.”

Rangers 1 Celtic 2

Aaron Ramsey netted inside three minutes for Rangers but goals from Tom Rogic and Cameron Carter-Vickers had the visitors ahead by half-time at Ibrox as they extended their lead to six points. “This group of players just really believes in what we’re trying to create here,” Postecoglou said. “I thought when we needed to we found the football to get us back in the game.”

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