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Celtic crowned Scottish Premiership champions after draw at Dundee United

By Ewan Murray
The Celtic players celebrate after their 1-1 draw against Dundee United secured the Scottish Premiership title.
The Celtic players celebrate after their 1-1 draw against Dundee United secured the Scottish Premiership title. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

As Tony Ralston crossed for Giorgios Giakoumakis to open the scoring, Celtic’s party was in full swing. Ange Postecoglou’s side, needing just a point to secure the Scottish Premiership title, had Dundee United at arm’s length.

United’s response, via a glorious Dylan Levitt moment, created brief moments of panic in the Celtic ranks. But only that. Postecoglou made great play of the fact there are various ways to cross a finish line. Celtic’s approach was to tiptoe, this draw sufficient to leave Rangers an insurmountable challenge.

Celtic could have won at Tannadice, they should have won at Tannadice, but none of their followers will care. Postecoglou, quite appropriately last of the Celtic contingent to leave the field, has overturned a 25-point deficit from the end of last season. Those in hoops have a new hero.

“It has been an enormous effort,” said Postecoglou. “No one gave us much of a chance at the start of the season, so to achieve ‘the ultimate’ is an unbelievable effort. I couldn’t be happier but I am really proud of this group of players and staff. They have been unbelievable for me this year. I think our football has been outstanding.”

The 56-year-old’s exaggeration is wholly forgivable. After all, he is correct to depict the widespread writing off of Celtic’s title hopes.

That Postecoglou’s men did not smash the tape to pieces is understandable. The Australian’s team is a new one, pieced together at a time when the club were in apparent crisis. Many of Celtic’s players had not encountered intensity anywhere near that in Glasgow before this season. Having claimed the main domestic prize, there is cause to think Celtic under Postecoglou will only improve.

Celtic’s Georgios Giakoumakis heads home in the 53rd minute to open the scoring.
Celtic’s Georgios Giakoumakis heads home in the 53rd minute to open the scoring. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

The first half at Tannadice involved shadow boxing and little else. Reo Hatate fired well over the bar following Celtic’s finest piece of play, the Japanese midfielder combining for a one-two with Giakoumakis. The latter’s cross, six minutes before the interval, narrowly evaded James Forrest. United, despite having the carrot of European football ahead of them, were passive during those opening 45 minutes.

Rangers were easing to victory against Ross County at Ibrox but there was never any prevailing sense of Celtic being in trouble. Ralston stood up a cross, United’s Liam Smith leapt and missed with his attempt at a clearing header. Giakoumakis nodded through the hands of Benjamin Siegrist. United rallied. Rory MacLeod, a 16-year-old forward, cracked Joe Hart’s left‑hand post with a low shot. Tony Watt headed against Celtic’s woodwork.

Soon the tide turned. Siegrist delivered a terrific one-handed save from Jota. Giakoumakis shot inches wide. But just when Celtic looked sure to double their lead, Levitt endorsed his blossoming reputation. The on-loan Manchester United midfielder curled beyond Hart from 25 yards, having collected a Charlie Mulgrew lay-off. Levitt’s graceful touch has been a recurring theme in United’s campaign.

Jota lashed into the side-netting as Celtic chased victory to add gloss to their status as champions. Daizen Maeda lashed into the stand. It mattered not. For the 10th time in 11 seasons, green and white ribbons adorn the top-flight trophy.

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Dive Deeper:
Celtic regain Premiership title with draw at Dundee United
Ange Postecoglou’s side have won the title back from rivals Rangers after one of the closest title races in years
Celtic are champions as draw against Dundee United seals Premiership title for Ange Postecoglou's side
HE came. He saw. He conquered, mate.
Mission accomplished for Celtic as draw in Dundee wins back League crown
Celtic regained the cinch Premiership title with a game to spare despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Dundee…
Celtic reclaim Scottish Premiership title with 1-1 draw at Dundee United
Celtic reclaimed the Scottish Premiership title on Wednesday night with a 1-1 draw at Dundee United.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
3 Celtic burning issues as Ange Postecoglou's side secure Premiership crown against Dundee United
CHAMPIONS AGAIN 
Celtic squad revealed for Dundee United as Ange Postecoglou spoiled for choice in Premiership clincher
Postecoglou's side can be confirmed as champions at Tannadice on Wednesday night.
Get all your news in one place