5 talking points as Celtic and Ange Postecoglou secure Scottish Premiership title glory at Tannadice

Unmatched Celtic secured Scottish Premiership title glory at Tannadice to seal a comeback season for the ages.

Giorgos Giakoumakis’ booming header was canceled out by a stunner from Dylan Levitt, but in truth, this crowning achievement has appeared destined long before the 1-1 draw which confirmed it.

Ange Postecoglou was only missing a hard hat upon arrival as he faced a major rebuilding job to a squad who were outclassed in a title trouncing to Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.

But he inspired the old guard before identifying the new and the results have been spectacular.

Supporters punched the air in delight at the final whistle as they instantly regained top dog status and punched a £40m ticket straight into the Champions League group stage.

The Celtic manager noted in his pre-match remarks a fast start was on the agenda and that’s what he got.

James Forrest’s pitching wedge cross, Matt O’Riley’s teasing delivery and Tony Ralston’s shot caused angst for the hosts within two minutes.

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There were signs Forrest – lesser spotted during an injury-ravaged season – was hell-bent on having a big impact as he bobbed and weaved through challenges to carry the fight in the final third.

O’Riley wasn’t to be outdone and the Danish U21 international was denied by Kieran Freeman as he found space in the United box.

Celtic were bossing the action and Reo Hatate appeared primed to finish off a flowing move as Liel Abada dribbled across the 18-yard-box, but he couldn’t keep his effort down.

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Dundee United are specialists in promoting from their famed academy and 16-year-old Rory MacLeod was the latest to earn his chance.

But the highly-rated youngster was literally left chasing shadows as the sun-kissed pitch turned the Celtic stars into silhouettes as they had the hosts on strings.

Hatate, playing his best match in recent times, was lively again but screwed up an effort wide after a lovely give and go with Giorgos Giakoumakis to release him.

The big Greek striker was in the wars and that physical element seems to bring an extra edge out in a player who finds another level in the heat of battle.

But he was left looking to the skies after he overcooked a pass to Forrest after he sprung United’s wonky offside trap.

United then bared their teeth and Archie Meekerson’s moment of ingenuity on the edge of the box that fashioned a half chance, however, his controlled left-footed effort landed the wrong side of Joe Hart’s goal.

Postecoglou was pictured grimacing at the lack of tempo that closed out the first half.

There was a verve and swagger from both sides to start the second half with Abada first to go close as he forced Benjamin Siegrist into a smart save.

But the coveted Swiss keeper was left helpless moments later when Giakoumakis rocketed Ralston’s lofted ball across the six-yard box into the net.

If United were down they certainly were not out and teenage star MacLeod cracked the post before Nicky Clark’s follow-up strike was ruled out for offside.

That gave the hosts something to believe in but Jota was primed to extinguish any hope but was denied by the brilliant Siegrist.

That opened the door for Tam Courts’ gritty side to roll with the punches before Dylan Levitt’s haymaker momentarily decked the champions.

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And the leveller continued to galvanises those in tangerine as they carried a significant goal threat in the closing stages.

Jota was weaving his magic again but a win evaded Celtic but that mattered little to the merry band of traveling fans within Tannadice.

Daizen Maeda blazed a last-gasp chance over the bar as it finished all square.

Here’s 5 talking points from the decisive night in the Scottish Premiership season.


The one word some Celtic supporters thought might be beyond them after a hiccup to Livingston made it three defeats from six in the league, fresh off a season they finished 25 points behind Rangers. Belief wasn’t flowing. But Postecoglou’s unshakeable belief quickly turned into tangible results on the pitch.

Celtic fans arriving at Tannadice

And they haven’t looked back en route to a 31-game undefeated run in the league. There have been many highlights, the 3-0 trouncing over Rangers the pick for many, but despite all the pretty football there’s a gutsy element to this side in their ability to grind out results. That’s the mark of champions and there’s no doubt the Parkhead side have been the best of the bunch domestically.

Giak attacks

Star turn Kyogo possesses talismanic qualities, he’s been a difference maker in a season full of them, but there’s a growing sense Celtic are something different when the Greek striker is leading the line. He brings goals and a whole lot more.

Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates after scoring

His hold-up play is excellent and he possesses an innate ability to find a half yard within the box. It bodes well for next season and Postecoglou is in the enviable position of which one of his two top strikers should lead the line. Both bring so much to this team.

Reo returns to his best

Even Roy of the Rovers didn’t enjoy the type of starts the Japan international savored upon his arrival. Rockets at Tyncecastle, doubles against Rangers and otherworldly passes to unlock Motherwell – it couldn’t have started much better. But the 24-year-old looked out of puff before he admitted he was cleaning with a full-on schedule.

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The class is there, of which there is no doubt, and he is trending back to his best at Tannadice, with some clever link-up play catching the eye. Yes, his finishing of him was n’t on form but the player who left fans open mouthed proved there’s more of the early thrills to come.

Holding Courts

The Dundee United manager has enjoyed a season to savor, it’s easy to forget doubt that followed his appointment in the city of Discovery. His effervescent manner of him seemed misplaced after a stuttering 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen on the first day of the season, however, the former Kelty Hearts boss has proven adept tactically all season long.

United’s Kieran Freeman and Celtic’s James Forrest

And his men are one result away from a place in European football next season. The 40-year-old many admirers south of the border and his heady mix of enthusiasm and coaching sensibilities make him an obvious candidate for other clubs. But Tannadice chiefs will be hell-bent on keeping him in situ for a while yet even if he’s being name dropped by Fabrizio Romano.

Strength in depth

Postecoglou’s management nous has been rightly heralded but it’s only when you see the strength of his options now do you appreciate how tough he had it last autumn and winter. Injuries were keenly felt before the January window cavalry arrived and it’s a different picture now. The bench is packed with top talent and the starting XI isn’t suffering – especially in the final third. It bodes well ahead of next season when the stakes will be raised upon a return to the Champions League for the first time in five years.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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