To win a league title in the manner with which Celtic has claimed the 2022/23 Cinch Premiership is no mean feat. With four games left to play, the Hoops have amassed 95 points and scored an incredible 105 goals, so far.
Along the way to title number 53, Celtic dished out a few hidings, demolished derby rivals, and dug deep when it mattered most to see games over the line.
We’ve picked out five key games from the season so far that define the winning edge that sees Celtic stand alone in Scottish football. With so many top-class performances and big results to choose from, this has not been an easy selection.
Dundee United 0-9 Celtic
Celtic laid down an early season marker at Tannadice with what can only be described as a relentless performance.
Kyogo and Abada both bagged hat-tricks as Celtic ran amok on matchday 5. Jota (2), Juranovic, and Carl Starfelt also got in on the goal-scoring act, helping Celtic to a record-breaking away league win.
The most remarkable fact of the game is that Celtic did not score their second goal of the afternoon until the 40th minute.
Celtic 4-0 Rangers
Victory in the first Glasgow Derby of the season saw Celtic open up a five-point advantage over Rangers, the 17+ goal difference over their city rivals was also worth an additional point to that lead.
Just like the 3-0 game in February 2022, Celtic blew Rangers away before the visitors even had a chance to settle into the game.
Abada had Celtic in front inside 10 minutes before Jota scored a goal-of-the-season contender just after the half-hour mark. Celtic’s speed of thought and precision of play had Rangers chasing shadows all afternoon; just like they have done for the rest of the season.
Abada added a personal second before the break and Turnbull completed the scoring late on. It was four going on six or seven, such was Celtic’s domination. And all achieved without Kyogo who left the field injured after just three minutes.
St Johnstone 1-2 Celtic
Having lost at St Mirren in their last away game and struggled past Motherwell in the previous league game, Celtic were experiencing their first stutter of the season going into this game.
An Andrew Considine own-goal had the Celts in front, however an injury-time strike from Alex Mitchell threatened to deny Celtic the three points.
The Hoops had dominated the game without ever looking in control and found it difficult to create clear goal-scoring opportunities. With two points seemingly lost, Giorgos Giakoumakis stabbed home an Alex Bernabei cross with virtually the last kick of the ball.
Not for the first, nor the last time, Celtic lived up to the ‘We Never Stop’ mantra.
Aberdeen 0-1 Celtic
Celtic made the trip north to Pittodrie for the first game back after the World Cup break, taking on Aberdeen on the weekend of the ACSOM Charity Weekender.
As with the aforementioned game at McDiarmid Park, Celtic dominated possession but found it difficult to break down Aberdeen’s stubborn resolve. When the chances did arrive Kyogo found himself having a rare off day, fluffing his lines more than once.
With time running out and in need of a goal, Callum McGregor grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and slammed home the game’s only goal with three minutes left to play.
Leading by example, the captain ensured that Celtic’s nine-point lead remained intact.
Celtic 3-2 Rangers
The final selection could easily have been the 2-2 game at Ibrox where Celtic once again showed their competitive desire to fight to the end. Kyogo’s late leveller driving a stake into the heart of Rangers.
However, the third league Glasgow Derby was the one that all but clinched the league and therefore gets the nod for this list.
Two goals from Kyogo and one from Jota in front of 60,000 Celtic fans sealed the game and put the Celts 12 points clear. That Celtic were not at their best, but still good enough to win, further highlighted the growing gap between the sides.
Celtic 2-1 Rangers
I’m allowing this one as a bonus as it’s not a league game, but still had a bearing on the destination of the league title. Also, it’s always satisfying to be reminded of another victory over Rangers.
This one, of course, is the League Cup final. With Celtic nine points ahead in the league, the cups represented Rangers best chance of silverware. Winning the first trophy of the season would deny Celtic a potential treble and give their season a timely boost.
Naturally, Ange and Kyogo had different ideas. The Japanese forward, who had broken his duck against Rangers in the previous meeting at Ibrox, scored twice as Celtic won the cup for the second season running.
A marvellous defensive display from Alistair Johnston won the Canadian many plaudits as Celtic repelled Rangers’ blunt attack. The trophy, like so many these days, resides in the Parkhead trophy room while the myth of Michael Beale was well and truly burst.
Let us know what games would have made your list, there are plenty to choose from.