Champions again as Celtic fly the flag to leave Rangers singing the blues – 5 talking points

It was sealed with a 5-0 romp away to Kilmarnock but, in truth, there were multiple signs Celtic's vice-like grip on the Scottish Premiership trophy would remain unbreakable WEEKS before their crowning evening in Ayrshire.

Last-gasp victories at Easter Road and Fir Park – something vexed Rangers fans have come to rue as Celtic time – plus a clutch of returning A-listers was a heady concoction which left their rivals on the deck. Celtic proved they had gears to shift through when it truly mattered. And a word the mastermind behind it in Brendan Rodgers, who made unjustified claims over the strength of his nerve from his doubters appear foolhardy.

It wasn't all plain-sailing but it was better than the rest...AGAIN. But this imperfect season which will be remembered for a rousing finish was headlined by Celtic's big-game bottle. Rangers' inability to defeat their rivals marked them as pretenders rather than bonafide contenders.

Winning is all that matters, of course, but Celtic produced a performance of pure verve and swagger to seal it at a venue they have now earned their crowning moment at four times in the 21st century. Adam Idah, take a bow, as the Norwich loanee wowed from kick-off. His predatory instincts were on show for the opener as he turned home Matt O'Riley's perfect cross. But a bloodied Robbie Deas believed the Irishman believed he was roughed up before the opener. Daizen Maeda – a cult hero who can also cut the open to shreds – got in on the act before he turned provider to tee up James Forrest to make it 3-0 after 35 minutes to wrap a bow on the title.

Celtic's football was thrilling but O'Riley's venomous shot to make it 4-0 summed up a player playing without limits. And his ice-cool finish to make it five was another indicator of a player at the peak of his powers. Determined Danny Armstrong manfully tried to get his name on the scoresheet, but it wasn't to be. A stunner was ruled out for offside and he skimmed the post with an ingenious effort from a tight angle.

But this was Celtic's night, season and the latest chapter of a story all about sustained dominance. Champions again was a quip from Ange which has stuck around but it was Rodgers' vow to see his public in May which resonated loudest. Here's 5 talking points from Rugby Park.

A good Idah

Jamie Carragher revealed on Wednesday he craves to do a deep-dive analysis more often than just his Monday Night Football segment and Idah's tigerish display at Rugby Park would make the perfect subject.

Adam Idah celebrates -Credit:SNS Group
Adam Idah celebrates -Credit:SNS Group

The 23-year-old has been worth his weight in gold for his crucial goals alone, however, this display was a level above with his physicality allowing Celtic to turn the table and bully their bully. Norwich want in the region of £5million and that, with each passing week, appears a comparative bargain. Idah allowed Celtic to switch things up in a way Kyogo, for all his qualities, cannot bring.

Who's needs MOR?

Celtic fans, at times, can get up in arms over numerous transfer links for their best players, however, O'Riley is the level of talent where they would likely complain if he wasn't being tipped for a move away. A record of 30 goal contributions in the Premiership is phenomenal and that's why a pair of Premier League behemoths are set to duke it out it with Inter and Atletico Madrid for his services. Jota and Kieran Tierney jointly hold the record for the record Scottish sale at £25m, that figure will be consigned to history when the time comes for the Denmark international to say goodbye.

Hart Attack

The keeper who wears his heart on his sleeve caused a throng of Celtic fans to look downbeat and dejected as he writhed about the Rugby Park surface before limping on one leg. The revered 38-year-old – the finest English keeper of his era – managed to shake off his complaint but his momentary plight underlined the peril of the beautiful game and the importance of Hart. Benjamin Siegrist is a forgotten man and Scott Bain revels as a back-up – neither appear ready for primetime in the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers. But, after a momentary hush, it appears crisis averted.

Rodgers goes full circle

Fans chanted the manager's name who once broke their hearts at the same venue where Scott Brown's sclaff all-but guaranteed the title back in 2019...weeks before his exit. But his return has been a story of success under a different guise. A slow-burner of a season which has caught fire at the end of year. Rodgers' superior coaching ability came to the fore and no one in the Premiership could keep up. He is seeking a big summer and more nights like these – that's bad news for the opposition.

No Hell for Del

There was a cracker of a picture (see below) that captured the Kilmarnock boss in agony while Rodgers was experiencing ecstasy – a ying and yang snap which encapsulated the up and down nature of the beautiful game. But any woe etched upon the face of this serial achiever will be temporary as he gets sets to plan for Kilmarnock's Europa League qualifying adventure.

Brendan Rodgers celebrates Celtic's second goal -Credit:SNS Group
Brendan Rodgers celebrates Celtic's second goal -Credit:SNS Group

The former Aberdeen manager's appetite to achieve is insatiable and he will aim to do so once again next season, even if he and his players are feeling a tad bruised tomorrow morning.