Celtic are the Scottish Premiership champions again in what has been a memorable debut season for manager Ange Postecoglou.
The Australian had a tough start to life in Glasgow with an opening day defeat to Hearts which sparked a run of three consecutive away league losses.
However, Postecoglou always insisted he would not waiver from his footballing philosophy of attacking, entertaining and relentless football, and piece by piece he rebuilt a struggling side who were blown aside by Rangers last season.
A total of 18 different goalscorers helped fire Celtic to their 52nd top-flight trophy so here’s a look at the 13 games that swung the title from the South of Glasgow to the East End…
Aberdeen 1-2 Celtic – October 3 2021
After losing to Hearts on the opening day of the season, Celtic lost at Rangers and Livingston before drawing with Dundee United at Tannadice Park.
The pressure was on to get that first away win in the league and it came at Pittodrie as on-loan winger Jota sealed the victory, firing home late on after Lewis Ferguson has canceled out Kyogo Furuhashi’s opener.
It lifted Celtic up to sixth in the table, six points behind then leaders Rangers.
Celtic 1-0 Hearts – December 2 2021
Kyogo’s contentious goal gave Celtic a win against Hearts to narrow the gap at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
The Japanese forward turned the ball into the net in the first half despite looking to be offside.
That result saw the gap to Rangers close further as just four points separated the Glasgow rivals. However, the win came at a cost with injuries to Anthony Ralston, Jota, and defend Stephen Welsh.
Ross County 1-2 Celtic – December 15 2021
Drama in Dingwall kept the gap to four points as Anthony Ralston’s 97th-minute header secured victory over Ross County.
Celtic took the lead through Liel Abada but looked set to drop points after Jack Baldwin leveled. Carl Starfelt was then sent off for a second booking, but Postecoglou’s men dug deep for a sixth straight league victory.
The win was even more satisfying for the Celtic fans due to the mounting injury crisis that saw six forwards miss the tie.
St Johnstone 1-3 Celtic – December 26 2021
Goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas made his first appearance under Postecoglou as injuries and Covid took their toll on the squad.
That lengthy list of absentees was even bigger with the likes of captain Callum McGregor, Ralston and backup goalkeeper Scott Bain dropping out.
However, a double from Abada and a Nir Bitton strike secured a crucial victory to send Celtic into the winter break six points behind Rangers.
Again, there was another injury blow as Kyogo limped off after pulling up early in the game – an injury that would rule him out for months.
Hearts 1-2 Celtic – January 26 2022
The gap was down to four points as Rangers struggled following the restart – but Celtic’s trip to Tynecastle almost proved costly again.
Postecoglou’s side were two up at the break after Reo Hatate’s long-range drive was followed by Giorgos Giakoumakis’ backheel flick.
However, Liam Boyce pulled one back before passing up the chance to equalize when his penalty hit both posts as Celtic escaped Edinburgh with victory.
Celtic 1-0 Dundee United – January 29 2022
We never stop was a phrase used often by Postecoglou and it was clearly noted by his players who scored another late winner to close the gap on Rangers.
After the Ibrox side drew at Ross County, Abada fired home the game’s only goal in the 90th minute to send Celtic to within two points of the Scottish Premiership summit.
Celtic 3-0 Rangers – February 2 2022
One of the most significant nights in the title race came at Celtic Park as Postecoglou’s side moved top of the table for the first time this season.
Celtic blitzed their rivals in a relentless first half as a brace from Hatate was followed by a third from Abada.
It ended a seven-game winless run in Old Firm’s for Celtic and was a season defining victory for the side desperate to reclaim the title at the first time of asking.
Celtic 3-2 Dundee – February 20 2022
Just weeks later a confident Giakoumakis declared Celtic would win the title and were better than their rivals “in every single part of the team”.
It’s after the Greek international struck twice in quick succession to help beat Dundee as Celtic capitalized on Rangers’ draw earlier in the day to move three points clear at the top.
Livingston 1-3 Celtic – March 6 2022
The Tony Macaroni Arena was not a place Celtic enjoyed and they had already lost there earlier in the season.
However, this trip to Livingston was different as Madea headed in the opener for Celtic just minutes after McGregor missed a penalty. A Nicky Devlin own goal and James Forrest’s fine finish made it 3-0.
A first victory at Tony Macaroni Arena since February 2007 was deserved and came in Postecoglou’s 50th game in charge as they reclaimed a three-point lead in the title race following Rangers’ victory the previous day.
Rangers 1-2 Celtic – April 3 2022
Celtic made it back-to-back wins over Rangers to move six points clear of their Old Firm rivals as Postecoglou’s side edged closer to the title.
Aaron Ramsey gave the Ibrox side the dream start when he opened the scoring after just three minutes. However, that was canceled out inside seven minutes by Tom Rogic’s close-range strike, before the leaders took control when Cameron Carter-Vickers forced the ball home after a free-kick.
The win left Celtic with a six-point lead and a 16-goal advantage with six games to play and also marked a 12-point swing since the winter break.
Celtic 1-1 Rangers – May 1 2022
Like many would expect, these battles between the Old Firm would be key in the title race and Rangers knew if they were to stop Celtic from reclaiming the trophy, victory at Parkhead was needed.
Celtic went into the tie six points clear with four games to go and looked set to extend that advantage when Jota put the hosts ahead.
However, Rangers rallied and Fashion Sakala drew them level before being denied by the post as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side looked to provide one last title twist.
It meant Postecoglou’s side now needed four points from three games to be guaranteed the title.
Celtic 4-1 Hearts – May 7 2022
Four points became just one as Celtic all but wrapped up the title with victory over Hearts.
The Jambos came to Glasgow looking to spoil the party as Eills Simms silenced the home support with the opening goal in just the third minute of the game.
However, goals from Daizen Maeda and Kyogo got the party started as the hosts led 2-1 at the break before Matt O’Riley and Giakoumakis got in on the action.
‘We are Champions’ flags flew around the home support at Parkhead as Rangers could now only match Celtic’s points total, but Postecglou’s side had a vastly superior goal difference
Dundee United 1-1 Celtic – May 11 2022
Celtic knew a draw at Tannadice Park would be enough to secure the title and draw they did in their penultimate game of the season.
United frustrated them but Giakoumakis headed in the opener from a wonderful Ralston cross to send the visiting support wild.
Dylan Levitt equalized for the hosts but Postecoglou’s side were determined and held on to extend their unbeaten league run to 31 games.
The title was back at Celtic Park in Postecoglou’s first season in charge.