Celtic 1 Heart Of Midlothian 0: Strachan's joy as Celtic are crowned champions

"There's only one Gordon Strachan," bellowed the 59,000 partisans last night after Celtic won the Scottish Premier League title with six games to spare. It was the first time since Strachan arrived last year that he has been accorded such a tribute, and as he took it in, and waved, you could almost see the wee man shed a few of his spikes. Under pressure, few can be as prickly.

As for the three points that leave Celtic 20 points clear of second-placed Hearts and out of reach, it was John Hartson's early goal that earned them the title in a mediocre match that sparked to life late on. However, Hartson hinted afterwards that he still may leave in the summer.

The title triumph gives Strachan, in his debut managerial season in his native land, a memorable double, following the CIS Cup success last month. "I've had the honour of standing in the middle of the park as the manager of the champions and that's great," he said. "We don't claim to be a great team, yet, but we're 20 points clear and that says a lot. I can't quite believe it."

The Parkhead party was pure pain to Hearts, who saw their fiery interim coach, Valdas Ivanauskas, sent to the stands for kicking the dug-out in frustration. Last night was more of a must-win game for Hearts than for Celtic, because Hearts are in a head-to-head race with Rangers for the runners-up spot, and Champions' League football next season. The defeat leaves them a mere three points clear of Rangers, with a game at Ibrox among those still to come.

Last night, Celtic had a full-strength XI, Roy Keane aside. Hearts were without their injured captain, Stephen Pressley, and started with their top scorer, Rudi Skacel, on the bench.

Pressley was badly missed in the fourth minute when a long ball from the home defence was nodded on by Majiec Zurawski into the path of his strike partner, Hartson. The big Welshman was still 30 yards out, but untroubled by Pressley's inexperienced deputy, Christophe Berra. He powered forward, waited for the ball to bounce, and then thundered in a right-footed half-volley from 22 yards.

Hearts thought they had an equaliser five minutes into the second half when Paul Hartley's free-kick was eventually bundled in by Andy Webster. Offside, said the linesman, a dubious decision that caused Ivanauskas to hurtle down the touchline to berate him.

The visitors, more urgent now, went close with Roman Bednar's angled, trickling shot. Celtic became animated, at last, with Hartson bustling and Stilian Petrov busy behind him. Hearts got physical, with Hartley kicking high and Takis Fyssas booked for scything down Petrov. Ivanaus-kas flipped and got his marching orders. Strachan got a place in Celtic history.

Celtic (4-1-3-2): Boruc; Telfer, Baldé, McManus, Wilson; Lennon; Nakamura (Pearson, 58), Petrov, Maloney (McGeady, 82); Hartson (Dublin, 69), Zurawski. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Thompson, Varga, Wallace.

Heart of Midlothian (4-1-3-2): Gordon; Neilson, Webster, Berra, Fyssas; Brellier (Elliot, 85); Cesnauskis, Hartley, Mikoliunas (Skacel, 62); Jankauskas (Pospisil, 54), Bednar. Substitutes not used: Banks (gk), Tall, Aguiar, Petras.

Referee: D McDonald.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star