If Allan McGregor lives to be 100, I expect at that grand age, when he shuts his eyes, his mind will imagine the spectre of Reo Hatate hovering around the edge of the penalty area, preparing to shoot. 7 minutes in, the goalkeeper spilled Reo’s shot into the path of Tom Rogic, and Ibrox was shaken to its core.
Newco started well, forcing Celtic into nervous looking errors. Josip Juranovic left space behind him that was exploited by Ryan Kent, who cutback for Alan Ramsay to score in the second minute. The home side pressed high in the minutes that followed as Celtic struggled to break out of their defensive third.
When Hatate was given a second chance to find Daizan Maeda on the left, the break was on. Callum McGregor drove deep into Newco territory, riding challenges from four opponents before releasing the ball into the heart of the box. Rogic, then Hatate shot, before Rogic calmly turned the ball home.
Celtic settled into a pattern of defending and creating chances, they did both effectively. Three minutes from the break, the Newco defence failed to deal with a free kick into the box. The ball broke to Cameron Carter-Vickers who shot home from close range.
For me, the second half was never comfortable, I wanted Celtic to move further up-field, but they were content to protect their lead and break on the counter. It was the perfect position for a team in the league driving seat to be. In taking the lead so early, Newco had a genuine chance of winning the game and putting the title race on a knife edge. In truth, they were just not good enough.
Substitute Liel Abada had the best two chances of the half, one forcing an excellent save from McGregor. Joe Hart had one save of note in the entire match, he mostly collected trundling low percentage attempts.
The players all looked tired towards the end. Giorgos Giakoumakis, in particular, ran himself into the ground. After all our speculation on who would start alongside Callum McGregor in midfield, Rogic and Hatate were clearly the right choice. Tom could have had a hattrick but did enough to see through what should be another title.
Nothing today on the thrown glass and bottles, the bizarre “Old Firm” branding or the long-term consequences of yesterday’s result, we’ll pick this up during the week. Today is about Ange Postecoglou and his players magnificent performance and game management.