Celtic title win ensures yet another Tannadice party as Ange Postecoglou has the last laugh

It is one of the ironies of Scottish football that while multiple league titles have been clinched at Tannadice over the years, the club whose home it is had to head across the road to Dens Park to secure their one and only Scottish championship.

Celtic have gone to far greater lengths than Dundee United in 1983 to win their 52nd crown. They journeyed to the other side of the world to secure the signature of Ange Postecoglou. The amiable manager’s colourful footballing odyssey has reached another peak.

The Australian arrived at Parkhead via Japan. The guffawing from pundits such as Alan Brazil is still echoing nine months later.

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Postecoglou is now having the last laugh although his side were unable to secure the title with a win. Like last year, when a 0-0 draw at Tannadice handed Rangers the league championship, Celtic found it hard going on a sun-dappled evening on Tayside. But then they have already turned on the style on nights such as the 3-0 win over Rangers in February when they overhauled their rivals at the summit.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou reacts after the cinch Premiership match at Tannadice Park, Dundee. Picture date: Wednesday May 11, 2022.

Celtic eventually did open the scoring after being frustrated by a very competitive Dundee United. This goal came in the form of a header from Giorgos Giakoumakis seven minutes after the interval. As in 2009, when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink struck to clinch the title at Tannadice, Celtic relied on a mouthful of a centre forward. United drew level twenty minutes later after on-loan midfielder Dylan Levitt unleashed an unstoppable dipping shot from 25 yards. Nevertheless, the point was sufficient to see yet another league championship clinched at Tannadice.

While 2009 does not sound so long ago, one of the hosts’ starting XI was only three-years-old the last time Celtic achieved this at this particular ground. Rory MacLeod, born in February 2006, hit the post in the second half as United started being more adventurous. No wonder many home fans were wearing sunglasses. The future looks bright for the home side, who also featured the 20-year-old Archie Meekison in their line-up.

But the present belongs to Celtic. Perhaps even the future too if they can take advantage of the Champions League money coming their way. They will be aware that rivals Rangers could enjoy such a windfall too. But Postecoglou has a head start. That might prove crucial with reports already linking him with 25-year-old Hammarby left back Mohanad Jeahze. Others are bound to follow.

Celtic also lifted the title at Tannadice in 1981 when the much-loved Tommy Burns scored the crucial goal. The stadium seems to be a magnet for such occasions. Rangers have their own happy memories of the ground where they clinched nine-in-a-row in 1997.

No wonder United are getting exasperated by the need to stage title parties for the enjoyment of others at their own ground. The club sent out a stiffly-worded press release earlier this week leaving no one in any doubt that any Celtic fans found sitting in the home areas would not last long. They proved true to their word and were inhospitable on the pitch as well as off it. Tam Courts’ side have their own ambitions and kept pushing for the winner. But that, surely, would only have delayed the inevitable. Postecoglou would not be denied. The away fans hailed him at the end. Few in his position have enjoyed such instant, genuine rapport with these supporters.

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