GLASGOW: Celtic confirmed their dominance of Scottish football by clinching their eighth successive Premiership title, and their 50th overall, with a 3-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
Right-back Mikael Lustig scored with a diving header five minutes before the interval with further goals after the break by centre-back Jozo Simunovic and French striker Odsonne Edouard wrapping up the championship with two fixtures remaining, with interim boss Neil Lennon urging fans to savour the moment.
The Parkhead club can win the domestic triple treble in the Scottish Cup final against Hearts at Hampden Park on May 25 with the fans on a quest for what would be a record-breaking 10 successive titles.
Former Celtic skipper and manager Lennon, who was brought back in February until the end of the season when Brendan Rodgers suddenly left for Leicester City, admitted it had been “the toughest piece of management I have had in 10 years of management” but also wanted the title achievement enjoyed.
The Northern Irishman said: “On the outside it probably looks easy but on the inside there was a lot of discontent and agitation around the club at the time. You had to keep calm.
“You need the hide of a rhinoceros and big cojones. I’m not sure I have got them but I certainly have a rhino hide. You need to bat it away and concentrate.
“Some of the performances weren’t great but we are unbeaten in 11 games so the standard and expectation is very, very high.
“We need to take some time, even the supporters, to take stock and enjoy the moment. This is eight titles, it has not been done for a very long time.
“So it is a special group of players and the fans should engage in that and not think about nine and 10.
“Just enjoy the moment and then look forward to next week, going there (Ibrox) as champions and the cup final as well.”
14 – Goal tally of Celtic’s top Premiership scorer Odsonne Edouard. The Frenchman has netted 20 goals in total across all competitions.
4 – Scottish Premiership titles now claimed by boss Neil Lennon. Brendan Rodgers was in the dugout for the first eight months of the campaign but his defection to Leicester means credit for securing title number eight will go to the man who kicked off their current run of dominance.
13 – Wins from 16 league games so far in 2019. The only blemishes on that run have been three goalless draws with Aberdeen, Livingston and Hibernian. The Parkhead side have also conceded just three league goals since the turn of the year, amassing 13 clean sheets.
8 – This is Celtic’s eighth consecutive title. The Scottish record is nine, achieved by both Old Firm teams.
31 – The number of Celtic players who have featured in the league this season.
33 – Appearances in the league so far by Callum McGregor and James Forrest, the most by a Celtic player this term. McGregor has started 32 of his run-outs, while Forrest’s was on from the kick-off in 31 of his.
2 – Games the Hoops have remaining in this campaign. They won the title with three to spare last year.
50 – Total haul of title victories the Hoops have now celebrated, four behind Rangers.
8 – Most teams in the league have taken points off the champions. The bottom-six trio of Dundee, Hamilton and St Johnstone were the only sides whitewashed by the Hoops this term, while Rangers are the only team to have taken points off Celtic in each of the last three seasons.
75 – Premiership goals scored in total by the champions this season, which is two greater than the tally set last term. Both are well behind the record 106 netted in Rodgers’ first campaign in 2016/17.