That, though, is by the by. The title triumph for Ange Postecoglou’s men will be like a fine wine - even if sealed when denied full points in a league encounter for only the third time across 2022. As it ages, it will be a top flight bouquet sure to be recognised for how rich and full it has been… when last summer all that was anticipated would be the fruits of the Australian’s labours when he took charge of a team that had dramatically withered the previous season would be grapes of wrath.
Instead, he pressed new players into a concoction that allowed Tannadice to witness their 31st league game without defeat - the third longest such run in a top flight campaign across 54 years. Indeed, the maturity of Postecoglou’s team has been so swift it perplexed seeing them so bitsy and blunt in what was set up to be a night for their supporters to drink in, and luxuriate in. They did, with their players cavorting in front of them following the full-time time whistle. These scenes of celebration, that unfolded amid a cacophony, will be what endures as the happenings of the 90 minutes beforehand fade.
Probably less so for the home team, curiously, with United refusing to roll over as they earned themselves Eurpoean football for the first time in a decade with the point that secured them a place in the Conference League qualifiers.
A smoking 25-yard hit of an equaliser from the prodigious talent and Manchester United loanee Dylan Levitt in the 72nd minute proved the spillage that prevented Celtic’s avoiding a slight stain on their evening. A night of deliverance from where they found themselves in being crushed last year as Rangers romped to the title by a 25-point winning margin.
Maybe there were nerves that oddly afflicted a Celtic that have been remarkably nerveless for so much of this campaign. They had to be when dropping 11 points in their first seven games and then at the winter shut-down staring at a six-point deficit. When it has counted, as it didn’t really at Tannadice, they have shown the command and the class to ensure they could snare the league crown with a game to spare.
After passing up a series of opportunities in a forceful opening on Tayside, Celtic seemed to tighten up as they struggled to test Benjamin Siegrist. None of that seemed as if it would matter to the aim of crossing the line with a win when Anthony Ralston proved nimble and adroit on the right eight minutes after the interval. The full-back twisting his marker one way and another to create the space that allowed him to send over a cross from the right that Giorgos Giakoumakis rose high above all others. The Greek symbolises what Postecoglou has pulled off. The striker was the subject of sneering, of rash judgements, in his early months subsequent to arriving on a £2.5m summer deal from VVV-Venlo. His goal that allowed the party to spark up at full-time was his 15th of the season, 14 of these since he shook off early injury problems and gained full fitness. No player has a better minutes-to-goals strike rate in the cinch Premiership than the 27-year-old. The Celtic manager, after being doubted, got it right with the forward as he did with the palate of a connoisseur to lead his team to the championship.