SEVCO RANGERS 1 CELTIC 5
IT started with a 5-1 win over Sevco Rangers and the six-match sequence ended with a 5-1 win over Sevco Rangers. And the bit in between wasn’t bad, either.
Brendan Rodgers’ champions have humiliated and humbled the Ibrox side during the campaign and they emphasised the gulf between the teams this afternoon.
The Hoops’ dominance was awesome and statistics showed they had 61 per cent of possession, an overwhelming amount in any game.
The visitors got off to an excellent start with the opening goal in the sixth minute and just kept on going until they sealed a runaway triumph with the fifth three minutes from the end.
Also, the spread of goals will have delighted Rodgers – five goals, five different goalscorers with Scott Sinclair, Leigh Griffiths, Callum McGregor, Dedryck Boyata and Mikael Lustig all on the scoresheet.
There was glory in Govan and the Celtic fans lapped it up at the end as the other three corners of the ground emptied at speed.
There was just no stopping the Parkhead outfit as they racked up game number 42 without a domestic defeat in a remarkable term.
Here’s how the goals went in:
GOAL No.1: A stonewall penalty-kick as young left-back Myles Beerman scythed down Patrick Roberts as he raced into the box. Referee John Beaton, amazingly, appeared to hesitate, but he received information from the sidelines that there definitely had been contact.
The classy Sinclair, who rattled one past Wes Foderingham from the spot in the 2-0 Scottish Cup semi-final triumph last week, changed his run-up style on this occasion.
He struck his shot to the keeper’s right at Hampden and Foderingham actually got a hand to the ball before it rebounded into the net off the inside of the post.
Sinclair staggered his approach to the ball this time, waited for a vital moment and the Ibrox No.1 again leaned to his right. That was all the Englishman required before he thumped it low into the left-hand corner.
GOAL No.2: Griffiths likes to have a pop at goal from any range or distance, we all know that. If Foderingham didn’t, he certainly does now.
Stuart Armstrong moved the ball onto the lively frontman, leading the line in the absence of hamstring victim Moussa Dembele, and he raced onto the pass with purpose and poise.
Griffiths sized up the situation in an instant and, from the angle on the left, fired in a vicious effort that zoomed over the startled keeper’s head and into the far corner. It was an exquisite strike from last season’s 40-goal man who is threatening to have a massive impact on the run-in to the season.
GOAL No.3: This effort arrived seven minutes after the turnaround and it was delivered by last week’s Hampden hero McGregor, who opened the scoring in the Cup-tie with a sublime pass into the net.
He was just as astute on this occasion as he carried the ball through from midfield. His initial pass took a nick of Danny Wilson, but Roberts retrieved the situation to poke the ball back in front of the in-form midfielder.
He resisted the temptation to simply wallop an effort at goal. Instead, he took a touch, steadied himself and then cheekily shot through the legs of a desperate defender and low past Foderingham at his left-hand side.
GOAL No.4: Belgian defender Boyata, who had played superbly in the back four alongside Jozo Simunovic, decided to get in on the act. He was decisive in everything he did in this confrontation, in the air and on the deck.
The flustered Beerman, doing his utmost to repel the dangerous raids of Roberts, gave away another free-kick on the touchline.
Griffiths swung it into the six-yard box and Boyata arrived with excellent timing to get his head to the ball to nod it down and past the startled Foderingham.
GOAL No.5: A brilliant run from Swedish defender Lustig that Messi or Ronaldo would have been more than delighted to call one of their own. Yes, it was THAT good.
The right-back snapped onto a loose ball and moved menacingly forward. He swept round Wilson as though he wasn’t there, reached the edge of the penalty area and delicately caressed a right-foot shot wide of the despairing Foderingham.
And it could – and should – have been more.
Sinclair had two amazing misses in the first-half that will bewilder him when he sees them again.
In the 25th minute, Griffiths exploded a clever shot off the crossbar and the ball fell perfectly for the Premiership’s top scorer.
With the goal gaping, he looked a certainty to score. However, he somehow managed to screw his finishing drive just wide of the far upright.
Three minutes later, his next miss was worse and comes into the x-certificate category.
Griffiths picked him out with a neat ball over from the left. Sinclair, from only two yards out at the far post, swiped and again contrived to miss the target.
There were others, too, that could have required Foderingham to retrieve the ball from the back of his net.
Roberts hammered a couple off target, Griffiths tried a right-foot volley that flashed past and, just before he was substituted, Armstrong had a superb 20-yarder that looked to be hurtling high behind Foderingham, but the ball swept just inches over the crossbar.
Nine minutes from time, Celtic conceded in a rare moment when they took their eye off the ball.
Kenny Miller played a one-two with Joe Garner to get clear through the central defence before sliding the ball past Craig Gordon.
But the afternoon clearly belonged to Celtic and Brendan Rodgers. Five wins and draw against Sevco Rangers in his first season in charge at the Hoops.
It’s as memorable as it is monotonous.
Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Brown (sub: Kouassi 90), Armstrong (sub: Rogic 77); Roberts (sub: Forrest 72), McGregor, Sinclair; Griffiths.