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SPFL: Celtic Successfully Defend Seventh Straight League Title

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 29: Scott Brown of Celtic celebrates during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on April 29, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
SPFL: Celtic Successfully Defend Seventh Straight League Title

In Scottish club football, there has been one team, and one team only bringing the thunder to Glasgow and elsewhere, and that team is the Celtic Football Club, managed by Brendan Rogers. On Sunday, at Celtic Park, in the final meeting between the Bhoys and Graeme Murty’s Rangers, the Men in Green hammered the Gers 5-0 in a noncompetitive farce that sealed their seventh straight Scottish Professional Football League title.

“Our basic rules today were very simple,” said Rodgers. “It was to attack with real aggression and intensity, try and recover the ball as we quickly as we could whenever we lost it, and if we couldn’t do that, make sure we were tight and compact, and look to dominate as much of the ball as we could, and give it our best shot.

“And I don’t think I could have asked any more of the players. They were absolutely brilliant and I’m really proud. These games are full of emotion, but we said to the players beforehand that we obviously knew the consequences of the game and all the historical facts around it – for us to win the title against Rangers for the first time in 39 years – but we said to them that they had to play football.”

The beatdown was so severe that the Rangers brains trust instructed Murty to not speak after the contest. Odsonne Edouard, the former PSG fringe player, was best on ground with a brace in the 13th and 40th minutes. James Forrest (44′), Tom Rogic (46′) and Callum McGregor also got in on the scoresheet. Statwise, Celtic dominated shots (24 to eight), shots on target (13 to two), possession (59 to 41 percent), and corners (eight to four). “You deserve nothing. You will win nothing. You will do nothing. You will always be nothing,” so the home fans declared in their final verdict.

“There have been a lot of wins over Rangers recently,” Celtic captain Scott Brown said, “but this one has to be right up there. We managed to keep a clean sheet as well but the emotions of today, how we played and in the style we wanted, was great and it’s coming good at the right time.

“The way we did it as well, in the sunshine in front of our own fans, and against Rangers as well, was great. It was all about our performance. We let ourselves down against Hibs last week but we managed to bounce back and we did it in style today. The way we started and pressed – that was something we’d worked on all week in training – and we demonstrated that out on the park. It’s the first time the title’s been won against Rangers at Celtic Park for a long time, so it’s a great honour to be here when we did it.”

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There has been talk of Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool legend whose career at LA Galaxy was one marked with failure, succeeding Murty as the gaffer at Rangers. However, in a poll gauging Gerrard’s success, there is no expectation for Stevie G to prevent Celtic from reaching 10 league titles in a row.

As for Celtic, a club that had blessed with winning the UEFA Champions League decades ago through their Lisbon Lions, the road back to European competition will require deeper pockets and a committed investment to position Celtic as the source of hope for Scotland’s future success in the UCL, should they qualify for the Group Stage this coming summer.

For now, the focus for Celtic is to prepare well in concluding the season with a successful Scottish Cup defense. They have their last away match of the year against Heart of Midlothian on May 6. The Bhoys then have home matches against Kilmarnock (May 9, 11:45 a.m. PT/2:45 p.m. ET) and Aberdeen (May 13, 4:30 a.m. PT/7:30 a.m. ET) before the final at Hampden Park against Motherwell on May 19 (kickoff 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET).

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Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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