Celtic celebrated lifting the Scottish Premier League trophy in style as they eased to a 4-0 win over St. Johnstone at Parkhead today.
Joe Ledley had the Hoops in front with barely a minute on the clock and Charlie Mulgrew added a second direct from a free-kick in the 36th minute. St. Johnstone hadn't previously tasted defeat against Celtic in the league this season, having come from behind in their three previous meetings to win one and draw two.
However, they never looked like maintaining their unbeaten record against the Hoops and James Forrest made it 3-0 with a fine strike in the 52nd minute before Frazer Wright scored an own-goal in stoppage time. It sealed Celtic's 12th win in a row at home in the league, a run of form that helped propel Neil Lennon's side to their second successive league title.
There was further good news for the Hoops as captain Scott Brown returned from a three-month injury absence to collect the SPL championship trophy following what is their final home game of the season before next weekend's finale away to Dundee United. After affording many of his first-team stars a rest in recent weeks, manager Lennon had a full squad to pick from for the visit of the Perth side.
The Hoops made six changes including Brown, and the returning captain played a part as Celtic took an early lead. Brown took advantage of Thomas Scobbie's miss-hit clearance to pick out Hooper in the box. The striker laid the ball off to Forrest who rolled it into the path of Ledley, and he took a touch before rifling an unstoppable shot past Alan Mannus from the edge of the box.
Celtic were comfortable in possession and continued to pour forward. Mannus made a fine fingertip save to keep out Mikael Lustig's drilled volley but it was only a matter of time before the champions added another and it came direct from Mulgrew's free-kick out on the right in the 36th minute. The defender's inswinging effort was missed by everyone in the box before bouncing just over the outstretched arms of Mannus.
St. Johnstone needed something from the game if they were to keep their dreams of finishing in a European place alive and started the second half on the front foot. Steven MacLean's cross found Liam Craig but the midfielder sliced his shot high and wide almost straight from the restart. However, Celtic soon found their rhythm again and made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute. Brown released Hooper and his pass found Forrest who hit an angled first time shot past Mannus from ten yards.
Georgios Samaras came on for Brown on the hour mark and missed a golden chance to increase the lead ten minutes later when he somehow sliced his volley wide with an empty goal beckoning. But Celtic made it 4-0 in stoppage time when Mulgrew's inswinging corner was mistakenly headed past his own keeper by Wright.