IT was always going to be a crackerjack confrontation at Parkhead yesterday with the champions targeting a win to ease 13 points clear of their nearest rivals.
Steven Gerrard’s side travelled across Glasgow determined to derail the Hoops’ surge to eight successive Scottish crowns.
It was a High Noon showdown in the Sunday sunshine that erupted into fury with Alfredo Morelos red-carded for the fifth time in a controversial season for an inexplicable elbow into the face of skipper Scott Brown.
Team-mate Ryan Kent should have also been immediately banished for a straight left to the jaw of the Hoops captain following the second goal.
However, in the midst of the snarling and snapping, there was some fine footwork and entertaining skills to admire – the massive percantage of them coming from the title kings, of course.
Odsonne Edouard’s opening goal, for instance, was sublime as he took off on a solo run that was completed with a thumping drive into the roof of Allan McGregor’s net. And, with the score stalemated at 1-1, it was the gifted Frenchman who set up the winner with a lovely pass straight to the waiting James Forrest who made no mistake with just the keeper to beat.
When the smoke of battled cleared, there were the usual inquests and finger-pointing, but one indisputable fact was that the Premiership crown will be residing once more at its natural habitat in the east end of Glasgow at the end of another eventful campaign.
CQN‘s ace lensmen were at Parkhead to capture the action. Here is the pick of the pics.
HERE WE GO…Odsonne Edouard prepares to take on defender Joe Worrell.
WALLOP…Edouard hammers in a left-foot drive with Worrell too late with his challenge. Connor Goldson gets a close-up view of the opening goal.
CELEBRATIONS…Edouard is floored as his team-mates race to congratulate him.
HIGH JINKS…James Forrest goes for the ball with Ross McRorie watching.
BY THE LEFT…Callum McGregor tries to get in a cross while James Tavernier lunges in to the tackle.
IN THE AIR…McGregor tries a different form of attack as he outjumps Scott Arfield.
SEE YOU LATER…Olivier Ntcham races clear of Daniel Candeias.
AT FULL STRETCH…Kieran Tierney supports the attack.
OFFSIDE…Scott Sinclair shows his dismay at the ref’s whistle.
NOW YOU SEE IT…Odsonne Edouard, once again in the company of Joe Worrell and Connor Goldson, prepares to set up the winner.
NOW YOU DON’T…the ball is nestling in the back of the Gers net as goalscorer James Forrest races away in triumph.
THE WAY AHEAD…Scott Brown shows the way to go.
RISE AND SHINE…Dedryck Boyata puts the pressure on Connor Goldson and Ross McRorie as Mikael Lustig looks on.
GETTING SHIRTY…Oliver Ntcham is held back by Andy Halliday as Mikeal Lustig watches.
THAT’S TORN IT…Mikael Lustig with his ripped shirt after an altercation at the final whistle.