Celtic seal fourth successive Premiership title

CELTIC have been confirmed as Scottish Premiership champions for the fourth season in a row after second-placed Aberdeen failed to win on Saturday afternoon.

Ronny Deila pre-match (v Hamilton Accies - 17th January 2015)
Deila delight: The Norwegian has secured a league and cup double in his first season in Scotland (Picture from Sky Sports)

CELTIC have been confirmed as Scottish Premiership champions for the fourth season in a row.

The Hoops – who thumped Dundee 5-0 on Friday night – were crowned title winners on Saturday afternoon after second-placed Aberdeen lost 1-0 to Dundee United at Tannadice.

Celtic cannot be caught in their final three games as they hold an 11-point lead at the top.

Ronny Deila’s team will lift the trophy after their final home game against Inverness Caley Thistle on 24 May.

They have secured a domestic double having won the Scottish League Cup in March with a 2-0 win at Dundee United in the Hampden Park final.

Their chances of a first treble since 2000-01 were ended by Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup semi-finals last month.

There is likely to be celebration among the travelling faithful at Pittodrie in Celtic’s next game a week on Sunday against an Aberdeen team who have put up an admirable challenge this term.

A 90th minute winner by Virgil van Dijk in a 2-1 victory over the Dons back in November took the Hoops to the top of the table for the first time this season and they have barely been displaced since.

Celtic have won 27 of their 35 league games so far – drawing four and losing four.

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic midfielder v Aberdeen - 1st March 2015)
Strengthened: The arrival of the Scottish midfielder from Dundee United in January has given Celtic another dimension (Picture from Sky Sports)

They began the campaign in stuttering form with a 1-0 defeat at Inverness and 1-1 draw against Dundee in August as well as their dismal European exploits while a shock reverse to promoted Hamilton at home had alarm bells ringing.

But the Hoops overcame those struggles to establish their superiority with an emphatic 4-0 victory over nearest challengers Aberdeen in March which emphasised their significant improvement.

Since their latest league defeat to St Johnstone on March 4, the Bhoys have won seven of their eight league encounters.

Celtic and Motherwell players in the Fir Park tunnel (6th Dec 2014)
Seeing off rivals: Celtic have beaten all 11 fellow Premiership teams at least once this term (Picture from Sky Sports)

Deila – who replaced Neil Lennon last summer after guiding Stromsgodset to their first Norwegian title in 43 years – is already planning for next season with an early start for Champions League qualifiers in July.

The 39-year-old told the club’s official website: “We have achieved a big thing – winning the league for the fourth time – and hopefully there will be more and more.

“We have worked so hard for this and finally we are there and can start thinking of next season. There is always high pressure here and I put high demands on myself as well.

“Today we just have to enjoy it and be happy that we are champions. I’m happy with a lot of the work we have done and we are going to enjoy this night and show we are champions next Sunday.”

Celtic players in pre-match huddle (v Dundee Utd - 26th April 2015)
Winning sequences: Celtic have won eight in a row twice during the league campaign (Picture from Sky Sports)

With three games remaining, Celtic are 24 goals short of last season’s total of 102 while Celtic have conceded only 17 league goals, eight fewer than during the last campaign.

Deila was among the manager of the year contenders, captain Scott Brown has been named in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year while midfielder Stefan Johansen is the Celtic supporters’ player of the season and won the PFA Player of the Year award as voted for by his peers.

Celtic clinched the title last term on 26 March with a 5-1 win at Glaswegian neighbours Partick Thistle – the earliest the Scottish top-flight crown has been secured since 1928-29 – with the previous two claimed on 7 and 21 April respectively.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Greenock Morton wrapped up the Scottish League One title and automatic promotion to the Championship with a 3-1 win over Peterhead on the final day of the season.

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