Glasgow – Celtic virtually guaranteed their 52nd Scottish league title by beating Hearts 4-1 on Saturday in a comeback.
Ange Postecoglou’s men have dropped nine points from Rangers, who have three games to play.
But Celtic’s 22-goal higher goal difference means they realistically don’t even need another point to seal the title.
Rangers’ title defense will mathematically end if they fail to beat Dundee United on Sunday.
If the Europa League finalists win at Ibrox, Celtic only need a point when they visit United on Wednesday.
The title will also guarantee the circles a return to Champions League group stage riches for the first time since 2017.
“I liked it because you want our fans to feel good. The work is not finished yet, but we are in a very good position, ”said Postecglou.
“It’s better to break through the finish line.”
The match mirrored Celtic’s season as they started slowly before shifting gears.
Hearts inflicted one of only three league defeats on the Hoops on the opening day of the season and threatened to delay the title party when Ellis Simms destroyed the house after just three minutes.
Postecglou was snatched from Yokohama F. Marinos when Eddie Howe turned his back on Celtic’s offer a year ago.
The Australian’s knowledge of the Japanese market was fundamental for the breakthrough of the Glasgow giants, who finished 25 points behind Rangers last season.
Japanese internationals Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi overturned the game before half-time with two goals in seven minutes.
Maeda placed home at the far post after a very good wing play by Jota.
The Portuguese was also the creator of Celtic’s second when he hit Furuhashi to force the ball over the line from close range.
Matt O’Riley made sure there was no nervous ending when he finished from a tight corner with 21 minutes to go.
Georgios Giakoumakis then came off the bench to complete the scoring when the Greek slammed James Forrest’s cut in the last minute.
“Really proud of the players,” added Postecglou as Celtic extended their league unbeaten streak to 30 games.
“We scored a goal, which didn’t happen much in this series, but we played fantastic football, scored four goals and probably should have scored four more.”
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