Carnival atmosphere as Celtic seal title with nervy win over Aberdeen
Celtic 3 Aberdeen 2
Published 09/05/2016 | 02:30
Celtic are Scottish champions, technically, arithmetically and officially - but convincingly?
That is a contention debated by some, including many in the ranks of their supporters, and the sceptics' view was bolstered by the manner in which Celtic ran up a three-goal lead against their only credible challengers and then nearly squandered this substantial advantage.
A first-half double from Patrick Roberts was supplemented immediately after the break by a Mikael Lustig strike, yet Aberdeen were allowed to come off the ropes and put the issue in doubt with goals from Niall McGinn and Andrew Considine.
Ultimately, Ronny Deila's players crossed the line with points to spare.
However, the proceedings were emblematic of a campaign which has not been bolstered by the quality or consistency of football expected by the Celtic faithful, who had turned up in numbers to savour the carnival air - which was epitomised by the array of stilt walkers, balloon sculptors and clowns on the stadium concourse.
Afterwards, the departing Deila insisted that Celtic's fifth successive title win should be given appropriate respect and be valued like any of their other recent triumphs. Celtic have lost only three league games this season - two to the Dons - and have 83 points with two games still to play.
"Why not? Of course it should be. It is a title," he said.
"You have to fight against the teams in the league and you can't say this is not more worthy than the others. It is very disrespectful thing to say about the other teams as well.
"You see in other leagues that small teams win, but now we have five in a row and should be very proud of it. Hopefully, it will be more next season.
"We were consistent in the results. We haven't lost in the league since February.
"The demands are high and it is important to enjoy it, and the fans showed that today - they were happy to get that title.
"It was good to beat Aberdeen and show we are the best team in the country. We controlled the game, played very well in the first 60 minutes then got a little bit edgy in the end, but got over the line."
If it symbolised Celtic's season, it also encapsulated Aberdeen's campaign - an effort which sometimes threatened the champions' dominance but, as frequently, failed to impose real menace. (© Daily Telegraph, London)