Kilmarnock swept aside as five-star Celtic crowned champions at Rugby Park

James Forrest celebrates Celtic's third goal -Credit:PA
James Forrest celebrates Celtic's third goal -Credit:PA

Kilmarnock were unable to ensure there would be final day drama as Celtic swept them aside with a dominant display to be crowned SPLF Premiership champions.

Celtic went into the clash knowing they simply had to avoid defeat to seal the deal and it was all but done and dusted inside 12 minutes as a controversial Adam Idah opener was swiftly followed by a Daizen Maeda tap-in to put the away side two goals up.

James Forrest netted in similar fashion before the break while a Matt O'Riley double after the interval rubbed salt into the Kilmarnock wound.

A tribute to former Celtic and Kilmarnock icon Tommy Burns took place prior to kick-off with the away support unfurling a banner of the Scottish football legend before a minute's applause to mark the 16th anniversary of his passing.

Celtic fans display Tommy Burns flag before their clash with Kilmarnock -Credit:Getty Images
Celtic fans display Tommy Burns flag before their clash with Kilmarnock -Credit:Getty Images

The hosts were hoping to play spoiler as Celtic looked to bag the title but found themselves behind in controversial circumstances after just five minutes. While Robbie Deas was laying strewn on the floor with an apparent head knock from a collision with Idah but referee Don Robertson elected not to stop play.

The Hoops - and Idah - took full advantage of the home side being a defender light as Matt O'Riley teed up the striker to roll the ball home from a couple of yards out.

And the Premiership trophy was all but in the bag after 12 minutes as the away side doubled their lead in almost the exact same fashion. This time it was Alistair Johnston getting to the line beyond the left-hand side of Killie's defence and rolling the ball into the path of Maeda to double Celtic's lead.

They were fortunate things didn't get even worse shortly after when Idah's touch took him behind his marker but the striker could only fire his effort straight at O'Hara before James Forrest was allowed to cut inside unimpeded with the winger seeing his curling strike fly the wrong side of the post for his liking.

Adam Idah opened the scoring for Celtic -Credit:SNS Group
Adam Idah opened the scoring for Celtic -Credit:SNS Group

Having twice scored from ball across goal from the Celtic right, they fancied doing it from the other side on 35 minutes to make it 3-0 as Maeda got in behind Lewis Mayo and rolled the ball into the path of Forrest who stormed unmarked into the six-yard box to tap beyond O'Hara.

Derek McInnes made a couple of changes at the break and a switch in formation with the hosts actually starting the half brightly - only to find themselves 4-0 down six minutes in as O'Riley fired home.

Killie thought they had reduced the arrears when a Watkins effort was saved by Joe Hart, with Danny Armstrong beautifully curling home the rebound - only for a VAR check to rule out the strike for offside. To their credit, the home side refused to lie down and moments later saw Deas clatter a header off the crossbar from an enticing Armstrong delivery to the back post.

Clinical Celtic were at it again, though, as Nicolas Kuhn found O'Riley in acres of space inside the box 20 minutes from time with the Danish midfielder casually slotting the ball into the corner to rubber stamp the title in fine fashion.

Kilmarnock: O'Hara; Mayo, Findlay, Deas, Nbada (Wright 45); Armstrong, Watson (McKenzie 82), Donnelly, Kennedy (Murray 74); Vassell (Polworth 45), Watkins (Van Veen 82). Subs not used: Dennis, Cameron, Stewart, Mackay-Steven.

Celtic: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; O'Riley (Bernardo 74), McGregor (Iwata 74), Hatate; Maeda (Kuhn 62), Idah (Furuhashi 62), Forrest (Palma 62). Subs not used: Bain, Nawrocki, Ralston, Welsh.

Goal: Idah (5), Maeda (12), Forrest (35), O'Riley (51, 71)

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