Celtic thump Inverness before Premiership trophy lift

Celtic signed off for the 2014-15 campaign with a stylish victory over Scottish Cup finalists Inverness Caley Thistle before lifting the Scottish Premiership trophy at Parkhead.

  •  Celtic end season 17 points clear and just 17 league goals conceded
  •  Six league goals in eight starts this term for Stefan Scepovic
  •  Ronny Deila’s team presented with Premiership trophy after game
  •  First defeat in five for Inverness, who face Falkirk in Scottish Cup Final next week  
Celtic players prepare to lift Premiership trophy (24th May 2015)
Glory awaits: Celtic’s players prepare to lift the Premiership trophy in front of their fans (Picture from Sky Sports)

Celtic signed off for the 2014-15 campaign with a stylish victory over Scottish Cup finalists Inverness Caley Thistle before lifting the Scottish Premiership trophy at Parkhead.

Striker Stefan Scepovic claimed the opener on his first start since January by bundling home Virgil van Dijk’s knockdown in the fifth minute.

PFA Scotland player of the year Stefan Johansen doubled their advantage 13 minutes later with a composed finish from Emilio Izaguirre’s cutback.

In the closing 20 minutes, Scepovic added his second with a tap-in before his replacement Leigh Griffiths drilled home and fellow substitute Kris Commons rounded off a typically comfortable win with an explosive finish late on.

Celtic's Premiership trophy celebrations (24th May 2015)
Celebratory scenes: Celtic get the title party underway amid the smoke and tickertape floating around Parkhead (Picture from Sky Sports)

Captain Scott Brown raised the club’s 46th league trophy aloft at full-time as manager Ronny Deila brought an end to his first campaign in charge having secured a league and cup double.

The end-of-season festivities are a familiar feeling for Celtic and the supporters turned out in their numbers to help their side celebrate their fourth title in a row.

It has also been a successful campaign for the visitors, who have secured a third-place finish in the top-flight and European football for the first time in their 21-year history.

John Hughes on the Celtic bench (24th May 2015)
Outstanding achievement: Hughes (right) has guided Inverness to unprecedented heights this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Manager John Hughes has also been credited with the PFA Scotland and Football Writers’ manager of the year awards and forward Ryan Christie scooping the young player prizes as a reflection of their remarkable efforts.

Inverness could have been forgiven for having more than one eye on their maiden Scottish Cup Final date as they seek to clinch the club’s first piece of silverware.

Leaving several first-team regulars at home and naming only five substitutes, Hughes made six changes ahead of the Hampden showpiece against Falkirk next Saturday as Lewis Horner and Tarmo Kink were handed their first starts.

Guard of honour for Celtic (v Inverness CT - 24th May 2015)
Sporting gesture: Inverness players afforded the champions a guard of honour as they entered the stadium (Picture from Sky Sports)

Caley Thistle gave the Celtic players a guard of honour on a sun-soaked afternoon in the East End of Glasgow but had no answer as the Hoops dominated the opening exchanges.

The champions were in party mood from the outset and the celebrations began in earnest when Scepovic appeared to apply the final touch as he and Nir Biton looked to turn the ball home from close range to claim his third league goal of the season.

The Serbian, who has struggled since his £2.3 million move from Sporting Gijon last summer, was then denied by Ryan Esson before Carl Tremarco cleared van Dijk’s flicked header off the goalline.

Celtic fans hold up scarves (v Inverness CT - 24th May 2015)
Waving the flag: Celtic supporters were in fine voice for much of the afternoon on trophy day with their green and white scarves (Picture from Sky Sports)

But Celtic did not have to wait long for their second as Brown released Emilio Izaguirre, who capitalised on a mix-up between Inverness duo Gary Warren and Ryan Christie to get free and put the ball on a plate for Johansen to sweep home his 13th goal of the campaign.

The Highlanders weathered the storm to enjoy some possession but struggled to halt the one-way traffic as Celtic camped in Inverness territory.

The Hoops were denied a penalty against Inverness in the controversial Scottish Cup semi-final last month which ended their treble hopes.

And they felt referee Kevin Clancy should have awarded a spotkick when van Dijk’s goalbound header at the back post was handled behind by Danny Williams but only a corner was given.

Ronny Deila and Scott Brown with Premiership trophy (24th May 2015)
Captain and manager: Scott Brown (left) and Ronny Deila (right) hold up the Premiership trophy (Picture from Sky Sports)

The visitors made a positive start after the break without troubling Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who was named Scottish Football Writers’ player of the year this week.

It was an Inverness-born player who should have put Celtic out of sight as Stuart Armstrong, a January signing from Dundee United, blazed over from a James Forrest centre into the box.

After a spell of squandering several passes, the Hoops regained their measure of control amid what was now a largely subdued atmosphere which mirrored the tame nature of the second period.

The slow pace was expected given the outcome meant little to both sides as a series of substitutions broke up the rhythm.

Pyrotechnics set off at Celtic Park (24th May 2015)
On fire: Celtic produced another scintillating exhibition display on another day of celebration for the Glasgow club (Picture from Sky Sports)

Inverness withdrew Christie for Aaron Doran while Celtic introduced Charlie Mulgrew for only his tenth appearance of the season and Kris Commons in place of Armstrong and Adam Matthews.

Celtic, though, stretched their lead further with 20 minutes remaining as Johansen played in Forrest to square for Scepovic to tap home his sixth goal in his last six starts from six yards out.

Not taking any chances with the cup final in mind, Caley Thistle took off goalkeeper Esson to hand a debut to 18-year-old rookie Cameron Mackay before giving teenage midfielder Alastair Sutherland his second first-team outing in place of Kink.

Two-goal hero Scepovic swapped places with Celtic’s top scorer Leigh Griffiths, who sent a fizzing effort inches over the crossbar with his first touch.

But the Scotland international soon got in on the act with a clinical low drive from the edge of the area for his 20th goal of the campaign and 14th in the league.

And Commons added further gloss in the final minute of normal time with an unstoppable 20-yard drive which left Mackay helpless as the Hoops brought the curtain down on another impressive showing.

Celtic and Inverness players in Parkhead tunnel (24th May 2015)
Goal-spree: Inverness have now conceded 17 times on their last four trips to Celtic Park (Picture from Sky Sports)

Celtic had won only one of the previous four meetings with Inverness this term but gave another reminder of why they are the best team in Scotland as they saw out the season to end 17 points above second-placed Aberdeen.

The Celtic supporters were in full voice and began the Poznan huddle in the closing stages before a few words from Deila and presentation of the trophy which the Hoops were confirmed winners of at the start of the month but it was rarely in doubt despite the best efforts of Derek McInnes’ Dons.

Meanwhile, Inverness will return to Glasgow in six days’ time for the serious business with the task of beating their Championship opponents, who were represented at Celtic Park with Bairns boss Peter Houston watching from the stands.

Scottish Premiership trophy outside Parkhead (24th May 2015)
Silverware on show: The presence of the Premiership trophy brought a frenzy of excitement outside Parkhead before kick-off (Picture from Sky Sports)
Celtic title celebrations at Parkhead (24th May 2015)
Party mode: Celtic’s players and management staff enjoyed their end-of-season celebrations on the pitch (Picture from Sky Sports)
Girls with Premiership trophy at Celtic Park (24th May 2015)
Moment to savour: Two young Celtic supporters brought the trophy onto the podium and had their picture taken with it (Picture from Sky Sports)

 

TEAMS:

Celtic team

Substitutes:  Commons (on for Armstrong 68′), Mulgrew (on for Matthews 68′), Griffiths (on for Scepovic 77′)

Booked:  Izaguirre (60′), Johansen (66′)

Goals:  Scepovic (5′ 70′), Johansen (18′), Griffiths (80′), Commons (90′)

Inverness CT

Substitutes:  Doran (on for Christie 62′), Mackay (on for Esson 73′), Sutherland (on for Kink 76′).

Not used:  Watkins

Booked:  None

Kevin Clancy referee (Ross County v Celtic - 24th Jan 2015)

Referee:  Kevin Clancy (Scotland) – 8/10
Attendance:  55,638

2 thoughts on “Celtic thump Inverness before Premiership trophy lift”

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