Three key games that led to Celtic’s title win

The Celtic players celebrate in the dressing room after yesterday's title-sealing win over Aberdeen. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS Group
The Celtic players celebrate in the dressing room after yesterday's title-sealing win over Aberdeen. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS Group
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Celtic wrapped up their fifth straight Ladbroeks Premiership title on Sunday with a 3-2 win over Aberdeen.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at three key matches for Ronny Deila’s men this term.

Celtic 3 Aberdeen 1 (October 31, 2015)

Aberdeen had beaten Celtic 2-1 at Pittodrie in September and then defeated Hamilton 1-0 days later to go five points clear of the Hoops at the top of the table seven games into the season. When Derek McInnes’ men visited Parkhead the following month, however, it was a different story, as the Hoops flexed their muscles with a convincing win.

Striker Leigh Griffiths headed the hosts into the lead just before the break, then added a second with a penalty early in the second half. Winger James Forrest grabbed the third on the hour mark as the home side dominated, leaving Adam Rooney’s 89th-minute goal as scant consolation. It was a massive blow to Aberdeen’s title aspirations and their belief, as the defeat left them seven points off the pace after 13 games with Hearts moving into second spot.

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Celtic 2 Ross County 0 (February 13, 2016)

While Celtic were preparing for their William Hill Scottish Cup win over East Kilbride in early February, Aberdeen moved level on points with a 4-3 win at St Johnstone. The pressure was on when the Hoops resumed league business against the Staggies, who had recently knocked them out of the League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park. It was not vintage football from the home side but the nerves were settled when Griffiths, who had earlier hit the post, volleyed them ahead in first-half stoppage time.

The hosts doubled their lead in the 57th minute when defender Dedryck Boyata headed in a Stuart Armstrong cross. The win put pressure back on the Dons for their game against Inverness the following Monday, and their title hopes suffered severe bruising in a 3-1 loss, which kept them three points behind Deila’s side having played a game more.

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Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 1 (March 19, 2016)

A fabulous last-gasp strike by substitute Tom Rogic gave Celtic three crucial points against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. Both sides had chances to win, with Hoops goalkeeper Craig Gordon saving from Killie striker Kris Boyd and Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko having a header cleared off the line. Deila’s side simply could not find top gear and it looked like the Ayrshire side would get the point they so badly wanted in their battle to avoid the drop.

However, with seconds remaining, the Australia midfielder, on for Nir Bitton, sparked wild scenes of delight among the travelling green and white hordes when he fired in an unstoppable shot from 25 yards. Ahead of the international break, Celtic re-established a four-point gap over Aberdeen, who lost to Motherwell later in the day.

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