By Calum Woodger
IF THERE was ever any doubt over their credentials as the best team in Scotland, Celtic dispelled them as they clinched a sixth Premiership title in a row with a 5-0 win over Hearts.
With eight games to spare the Parkhead side have won the league in record time and, if they make it through the remaining fixtures unscathed, could secure the first unbeaten season in Scottish football since 1899.
The Hoops ran riot at Tynecastle with Englishman Scott Sinclair leading the way and hitting a terrific hat-trick. Scotland star Stuart Armstrong and on-loan Man City winger Patrick Roberts also struck to compound the Gorgie side to further misery.
Yet, the Edinburgh men started the game the stronger with Isma Goncalves and Krystian Nowak testing Celtic keeper Craig Gordon in the opening exchanges.
However, class began to show as Sinclair took matters into his own hands after 24 minutes netting a delightful double salvo in just three minutes.
The second half saw a Tasos Avlonitis own-goal ruled out for offside.
Three and easy: Scott Sinclair (R) has been a key player for the Hoops since signing and scored a hat-trick on Sunday.
Not to be denied the Bhoys pulled away in the capital sunshine with form men Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts scoring before the hour mark.
After being felled in the box by Nowak, star man Sinclair stepped up to put Celtic 5-0 from the penalty spot.
The win was indicative of Celtic’s season: dominant, clinical and full of swagger. Players like Armstrong and Roberts have shone under manager Brendan Rodgers despite almost being forgotten men under Ronny Deila.
Since joining the club last summer ex-Liverpool manager Rodgers has transformed an average Celtic side into one of the greatest in the club’s history.
Their relatively successful foray into Europe coupled with an unrivalled league campaign will have English clubs looking at Rodgers again and taking note of emerging talents like Moussa Dembele, Kieran Tierney and the aforementioned Armstrong.
Having defended their title crown the Hoops are now on for a treble and face city rivals Rangers later in April for a place in the Scottish Cup final.
Rodgers has said that Celtic are ‘only going to get better’ and that he is ready to committ ‘more years to the club.’
A treble would cement Rodgers’ name in green and white folklore for evermore.