Celtic Thump Kilmarnock At Rugby Park To Secure 54th Scottish Premiership Title

Celtic Thump Kilmarnock At Rugby Park To Secure 54th Scottish Premiership Title

By Callum McFadden at BBSP Rugby Park

Kilmarnock 0-5 Celtic

Idah (5)

Maeda (12)

Forrest (35)

O’Riley (51, 71)

Celtic produced a truly scintillating away performance to comfortably sweep Kilmarnock aside at Rugby Park and secure their 3rd successive Scottish Premiership title.

Brendan Rodgers’ men arrived at Rugby Park knowing that all they needed was a single point to secure their 54th Scottish Premiership title. Standing in their way was a Kilmarnock side who had already secured a place in next season’s Europa League qualifiers courtesy of their confirmed 4th place finish in the Scottish Premiership.

Even with a league title at stake, Celtic got off to the perfect start inside the opening five minutes when James Forrest and Matt O’Riley linked up well on the right wing, for O’Riley to fire a low cross into the path of Adam Idah who fired the ball past Kieran O’Hara from close range.

Things got even better just seven minutes later when Daizen Maeda doubled Celtic’s lead with a close-range finish coming from a powerful low cross from right-back Alastair Johnston.

Scoring two goals so early in such a crunch game had the travelling Celtic supporting singing ‘Champions again, ole, ole!’ in the aftermath of the second goal, such was their belief that there would be no way back into the game for Derek McInnes’ Kilmarnock side.

Forrest and Liam Scales both came close to adding a third goal for Celtic in the first half with long-range efforts that had O’Hara scrambling in the Kilmarnock goal on both occasions.

A third goal for Celtic was forthcoming in the 35th minute when Forrest added the finishing touch to a Maeda cross after the Japanese international was played in behind the Kilmarnock defence by O’Riley.

At the interval, Derek McInnes decided to shore up his midfield by replacing his captain and striker Kyle Vassell with an extra midfielder in Liam Polworth.

Unfortunately for the Kilmarnock manager, those changes were unable to stem the flow of attacks and it was not long into the second half when Celtic scored their fourth of the game when O’Riley smashed an effort from the edge of the box into the roof of the Kilmarnock net in the 51st minute.

Daniel Armstrong thought he had pulled a goal back for Kilmarnock just two minutes after Celtic’s fourth but his effort was ruled out for offside following a lengthy VAR review.

The last half hour of the game saw Brendan Rodgers utilise his bench with the introduction of Luis Palma, Nicholas Kuhn and Kyogo in place of the three first-half goalscorers – Forrest, Maeda and Idah.

While the travelling Celtic support turned their backs to perform a huddle in the away end, O’Riley added his second and Celtic’s fifth of the game in the 71st minute.

Victory for Celtic ensures that the Premiership title remains at Celtic Park for another season at least with Brendan Rodgers continuing his record of winning the SPFL title in every season that he has managed in the division.

WFi player of the match: Matt O’Riley (Celtic) – The Dane won Celtic’s Player of the Year award earlier this week and put in another stellar all-round performance –  with two goals to his name on the night – to further emphasise his quality.

Kilmarnock: O’Hara, Mayo, Deas, Findlay, Ndaba (Wright, 45), Armstrong, Donnelly, Watson (McKenzie, 82), Kennedy (Murray, 74) Watkins (Van Veen 82), Vassell (Polworth, 45)

Substitutes: Dennis, Wright, McKenzie, Murray, Cameron, Stewart, Polworth, Mackay-Steven, van Veen.

Celtic: Hart, Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor, McGregor (Tomoki, 74), Hatate, O’Riley (Bernardo, 74), Forrest (Palma, 62), Maeda (Kuhn, 62), Idah (Kyogo, 62)

Substitutes: Bain, Palma, Kyogo, Kuhn, Nawrocki, Tomoki, Bernardo, Ralston, Welsh