The scoreline in the end represented a moral victory for the Hoops who had two players and manager Neil Lennon sent off.
If there had been another five minutes, Celtic might have secured the draw – but it wasn’t to be for the nine-man heroes who fought against all the odds in front of a Rangers support whose only cheer this year was going to be a win today.
To be fair Rangers dominated the opening exchanges.
More reaction from Neil Lennon later.
Sone Aluko opened the scoring after a mazy, 10th-minute run into the box and a very good finish.
Cha Du-Ri was sent off after 29 minutes, Victor Wanyama followed 12 minutes after the break and Andy Little and Lee Wallace slotted further goals in the 72nd and 77th minutes respectively
Celtic captain Scott Brown scored a penalty after Carlos Bocanegra was sent off – then Thomas Rogne headed home.
The two late goals could not prevent a Rangers victory that Celtic manager Neil Lennon watched from the media room having been banned from the dugout for the second half by the referee.
It was a loss that ended the Hoops 21-game unbeaten run in the league.
But the comeback did give cheer to the Celtic support who partied like a team that had actually won the title today.
That’s for another day – but the singing of Champions was coming from just one set of supporters at Ibrox – seven and a half thousand of them in green and white.
Neil Lennon said afterwards that he was “mystified” why the referee had banished him from the game in the second half and “prevented me from doing my job.”
He said he had a quiet word with the referee in the tunnel at half-time. He had been calm, hadn’t sworn.
He was then told at the end of half-time that he could not return to pitch-side without any explanation.
After the match, Lennon had asked to speak to the referee about his decision and was told he could do some after 20 minutes.
But when the 20 minutes was up, he was told he couldn’t.
“Rangers’ second goal was offside and again the linesman wasn’t doing his job,” Neil told Chris McLaughlin of BBC Radio Scotland.
“We rallied brilliantly with nine men. The boys were absolutely fantastic. I am very proud of the players and I am very proud of the supporters today but I am also very angry.
“Our players are angry…our players showed in the second half why they are going to be the Champions. They are full of pride; they are full of quality and they kept going right until the end,” he said.
RANGERS (4-4-2): McGregor; Whittaker, Goian, Bocanegra, Wallace (Kerkar 78); Aluko (Little 71), Davis, Edu, McCulloch, Papac, McCabe (Lafferty 60)
Subs not used: Alexander, Bedoya, Perry, Mitchell
CELTIC (4-4-2): Forster; Cha, Rogne, Mulgrew, Matthews; Brown, Wanyama, Ki (Commons 70), Ledley, Samaras; Stokes (Izaguirre 29)
Subs not used: Zaluska, K. Wilson, McGeouch, Hooper, Brozek
Man of the match: Scott BrownTags: