|Not the day to be a Rangers fan at Parkhead as Celtic clinched their seventh successive Scottish Premiership title in style with a 5-0 win over their traditional rivals. Odsonne Edouard, the French striker on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, scored a first-half double with James Forrest adding a third before the break to send Celtic fans into a half-time frenzy. Celtic's current dominance over their city rivals was underlined after the break as midfielders Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor added further goals to spark off the familiar celebrations with three games remaining. Manager Brendan Rodgers is now unbeaten in 11 games against Rangers since he took over in 2016, nine wins and two draws, and his Celtic side have a chance to secures an unprecedented successive treble if they can overcome Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final.
Celtic's biggest win over Rangers was 7-1 in October, 1957 and it could have easily been beaten today. If former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is to take over from Graeme Murty as the manager of Rangers -- and he is the front runner -- then he will have his work cut out to improve this Ibrox side who look bereft of belief when they encounter green and white hoops. As always there had been plenty of speculation ahead of the noon kick-off regarding team selections. With Rangers' No. 1 keeper Wes Foderingham still carrying a shoulder injury, Jak Alnwick made his Old Firm debut with midfielder Andy Halliday asked to play at left-back due to Declan John's broken hand. With Moussa Dembele injured, Rodgers opted to go with Edouard as his main striker instead of Leigh Griffiths, who started on the bench, along with Jack Hendry who was replaced by right-back Mikael Lustig.
The home side piled on relentless pressure from the start and an uncertain looking Alnwick made two early saves from Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham. However, it was teammate Edouard who converted a Kieran Tierney cut-back from five yards to begin an afternoon of abject misery for Rangers. Celtic had complete control of the game looking fitter, faster and more focused. However, in the 27th minute visiting midfielder Jason Holt broke forward and drew a decent save from Hoops keeper Craig Gordon with his left-footed drive and Tierney completed the clearance. Attacker Josh Windass failed to pick out Jason Cummings on another Rangers break but in the 41st minute when midfielder Graham Dorrans lost possession in a Rangers attack, Forrest sent Edouard running clear into the opposition box and he drove low past Alnwick and into the far corner. It soon got worse for the visitors. Just before the break, with Rangers in complete disarray, Forrest rattled in number three on the angle from 10 yards.
Rogic swept in number four from the edge of the box with the second half just under way before McGregor slid in an Edouard pass for the fifth after 52 minutes and the record books were being looked at. Windass had hit the post with an effort before he was replaced by Alfredo Morelos, his introduction mocked by ecstatic Celtic fans. Alnwick made fine saves from Forrest and Rogic amid more mundane ones as the home side threatened continuously, somehow failing to add to the anguish of their city rivals.
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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