SPL

Rodgers’ masterclass shows how far ahead Celtic are

 • by Sam McGuire
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Celtic put on a show to confirm their seventh consecutive Scottish Premiership title, beating neighbours Rangers 5-0 in one of the most one-sided derby matches of recent memory.

Odsonne Édouard netted a brace while James Forrest, Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor all got in on the act to give Brendan Rodgers’ men their second big win over the Gers in the space of two weeks. It was a statement from those in white and green.

The build-up during the week had centred around Rangers’ pursuit of Steven Gerrard. The Gers want the Liverpool legend to replace Graeme Murty. The fact Celtic could win the title against their Glasgow rivals had, remarkably, been lost in the noise.

But the former Swansea City boss and and his players ensured it would be Celtic dominating the headlines after putting on a clinical display. Those at Parkhead witnessed five goals but on another day it could have easily been seven or eight.

The Bhoys were relentless and really flexed their attacking muscle, much to the horror of those in blue.

In the 3-2 win for Celtic earlier on in the season they rode their luck and relied on Rangers running out of steam. In the 4-0 victory for Rodgers’ men a fortnight ago it was all about those from Ibrox showing them too much respect and allowing Celtic to dictate proceedings.

On Sunday, however, the home side were a class or two above and there was no mistaking which of the two teams ruled the city.

The talk will once again centre around how Murty got it wrong but the match was won, with ease, because of what Rodgers got right.

The aim for the home side was to isolate the wide players because they knew they didn’t just have the pace to cause problems but they had the quality, too. A tactic that was no doubt aided by the fact Rangers fielded a midfielder at left-back.

But Celtic attacked the left flank just as much as they did the Rangers’ right proving they didn’t just target Andy Halliday, they targeted the wide areas.

The picture above was taken during the build-up to Édouard’s first. McGregor gave the Rangers man the runaround in the wide area before playing a pass to Kieran Tierney.

It may be two vs two but the Celtic duo have a lot of space to attack and it’s exactly what the left-back does to get to the byline.

The 20-year-old then calmly finds the on-loan PSG forward who fires the ball home to give the home side a lead.

The picture above is just prior to Forrest firing the ball home. He’s not as isolated as Tierney and Forrest were but, again, there’s a lot of space for him to attack.

The winger does just that, slaloming past the opposition before getting the ball back onto his right foot. The rest, as they say, is history.

There’s no cover for those in blue, just like the first goal, and it’s all too easy for Celtic to waltz their way into the penalty area.

The fifth and final goal of the day. Édouard’s isn’t averse to running the channels and does that in the lead up to McGregor’s goal.

He picks the ball up on the left and dribbles into the penalty area. He then effortlessly glides past James Tavernier before pulling it back into a central area. Celtic’s own Philipp Lahm strokes the ball home and completes the rout.

Rodgers had a clear plan in mind and his team executed it to perfection. It wasn’t just a title win, it was a match which highlighted why Celtic are currently peerless in the Scottish Premiership and will continue to be so for some time.

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