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The Rangers need to be eliminated in Game 5 and the odds makers want them gone

NHL Betting: Rangers are headed out in Game 5 and the odds makers want them gone (Author: Gardener)

Game 5As the 2021-22 season began, most viewed the New York Rangers as a team that could make the move from rebuild to playoff contenders. The great regular season earned them a first-round playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, a series set by the oddsmakers as a pre-Game 1 virtual pick 'em. However, in Game 5 on Thursday, Rangers must be eliminated. Rangers are slight -135 home favorites to avoid elimination and avoid being the second team eliminated from the postseason. With Rangers on the verge of elimination, sportsbooks appear to be working towards their going home. In the first round of the playoffs, the New York Rangers were the most popular bet of all sixteen teams to advance to the second round. On May 2nd, 88% of the bets and 95% of the money supported New York to eliminate Pittsburgh in the opening round. The Rangers were -110 to go ahead, making the series a virtual pick 'em. The only teams to receive as much betting action were the Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames, the three current top cup favorites and three big first round favorites. However, Rangers had more action than either of those teams. They were the better team during the regular season, earning home field advantage in that series, which could make a big difference in a series everyone predicted will be extremely close. Rangers joined at the close and players like Andrew Copp and Frank Vatrano made their presence felt in New York's line-up. PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 07: Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter (77) reacts after scoring past New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) during the first period in game three of the first round in the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs hosted New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins on May 7, 2022 at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. However, the main reason people loved the Rangers prior to this series was the expected discrepancy between the whistles. Igor Shesterkin will almost certainly win the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the league's top goalie during the regular season. Enter Louis Domingue, the 30-year-old journeyman and third-line goaltender who had only played four NHL games in the last three seasons. Pittsburgh was the better team in every game of that series except Game 2. The league's top goaltender from the regular season was drawn in consecutive games and has a goals-against average of 4.26, the highest of any goaltender in the playoff season to start a game. With Shesterkin not playing as equals and unable to save his team like he has all season, Rangers now need to win three straight elimination games. Not only have bettors lined up ahead of this series to support Rangers, but they have also been supporting the Blueshirts at BetMGM throughout the season. Rangers are the third largest constraint in the Stanley Cup futures market at BetMGM. Rangers have received 7.3% of the money stakes this season. Only Colorado and Florida have garnered more support to win the Stanley Cup. Rangers are currently 35-to-1 to win the trophy. They opened the playoffs 16-1. No team has received more betting love for winning the Eastern Conference than Rangers. Over 24% of the bets and almost 27% of the money support New York to represent the conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Florida received the second highest action with 17% of the bets and 21% of the bets. Rangers are 22-to-1 to win the East. Rangers have had betting love from bettors all season and the odds makers are certainly against them. All Rangers bets will be settled as losers if they don't win on Wednesday. Currently, Rangers are -135 favorites to win Game 5 and extend their season. Unsurprisingly bettors seem poised to go down with the ship as 75% of the money backs New York to force a Game 6.

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Rangers in a rush on the evening of the indicators ahead of the Europa League blockbuster

Scott Wright opened the scoring and James Tavernier scored the second from the spot as Rangers rushed to sort that one out. (Author: Gardener)

the eveningAnd the way Giovanni van Bronckhorst's players went about their business - getting it done in the first 28 minutes - was a hint that they too can't wait to play Eintracht Frankfurt in next week's Europa League to compete finals. Scott Wright opened the scoring and James Tavernier scored the second from the spot as Rangers rushed to put that one out of the way. And although Sub Jordan White went from behind for the visitors in a second half punctuated by a constant string of substitutes, late goals from Fashion Sakala and Amad Diallo ended it in comprehensive fashion. With the title goal settled elsewhere, van Bronckhorst's only real dilemma revolved around how to pick a team for national service without risking everything that team might face in Spain next Wednesday. But then again, they've gotten used to it since Roofe hobbled out of the equation a few weeks ago, so this was one last dress rehearsal for Joe Aribo learning the job of leading the line on the hoof. That Alex Lowry has also been given a starting spot is perhaps a sign that this hugely talented teenager may also meddle in the competition for an entry of some sort when history is at stake in the city known as the frying pan of Spain stands. And that realigned side got underway quickly, forcing County onto the backfoot and locking them deep in their own half. Aribo could have opened the scoring in just four minutes if his shot hadn't been deflected wide and Tavenrier threatened a shot that was deflected over the top shortly afterwards. County keeper Ross Laidlaw was forced into his first save of the night when he touched on a John Lundstram try around his right post after the scouser was pecked out by Aribo's cut. But the breakthrough came from the corner when Borna Barisic found Connor Goldson's head and Wright lunged from close range to head the defender's header home with a neat finish. It was almost as if Rangers were in a hurry to get this game out of the way as they continued to pour forward and scored the second goal in 28 minutes as County sliced ​​open for the umpteenth time and Tavernier on Wright's subtle shot through stripes. In full swing, the Rangers skipper was brought down by Alex Jacovitti and referee Andrew Dallas had an easy point-to-point decision. Up came Tavernier to do what Tavernier does - he smashed that deep left of Laidlaw - and that contest was all but over in less than half an hour. More chances came and went before the break as Laidlaw turned Lowry's raspy try over the top, Aribo blocked one from close range and Goldson smashed the outside of the keeper's left post. But that became an agonizing watch for county boss Malky Mackay, who stalked the sidelines as if he couldn't quite believe what was being done to his team. Van Bronckhorst made a double substitution at half-time, Aribo took the rest of the evening off and Barisic also wrapped himself in cotton-wool after sustaining an injury late in the first half. Diallo led the line, Leon Balogun moved to the center of defense and Calvin Bassey switched to left-back. Balogun almost added a third in 51 minutes when he hammered a header off the base of Laidlaw's left post after a free-kick won at the end of Tavernier's delivery. Kent's night was over soon after as van Bronckhorst also removed Lundstram and sent both Sakala and Steve Davis. Mackay also made changes, sending in White and David Cancola for Blair Spittal and Ross Callachan. And while the unfortunate Cancola had to limp away again almost immediately, White made an instant impression, firing a stunning shot past Allan McGregor from 25 yards after Wright was robbed by Joseph Hungbo on the halfway line. But Rangers finished it off in 81 minutes when Sakala dived headfirst into Tavernier's corner to smash a fall header into Laidlaw's net. And in stoppage time, Diallo added a fourth after Lowry and Bassey combined him to set him up with a tap-in at the back post - and happily sent the home fans to the airport.

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Rangers in a rush on the evening of the indicators ahead of the Europa League blockbuster

Scott Wright opened the scoring and James Tavernier scored the second from the spot as Rangers rushed to sort that one out. (Author: Gardener)

the eveningAnd the way Giovanni van Bronckhorst's players went about their business - getting it done in the first 28 minutes - was a hint that they too can't wait to play Eintracht Frankfurt in next week's Europa League to compete finals. Scott Wright opened the scoring and James Tavernier scored the second from the spot as Rangers rushed to put that one out of the way. And although Sub Jordan White went from behind for the visitors in a second half punctuated by a constant string of substitutes, late goals from Fashion Sakala and Amad Diallo ended it in comprehensive fashion. With the title goal settled elsewhere, van Bronckhorst's only real dilemma revolved around how to pick a team for national service without risking everything that team might face in Spain next Wednesday. But then again, they've gotten used to it since Roofe hobbled out of the equation a few weeks ago, so this was one last dress rehearsal for Joe Aribo learning the job of leading the line on the hoof. That Alex Lowry has also been given a starting spot is perhaps a sign that this hugely talented teenager may also meddle in the competition for an entry of some sort when history is at stake in the city known as the frying pan of Spain stands. And that realigned side got underway quickly, forcing County onto the backfoot and locking them deep in their own half. Aribo could have opened the scoring in just four minutes if his shot hadn't been deflected wide and Tavenrier threatened a shot that was deflected over the top shortly afterwards. County keeper Ross Laidlaw was forced into his first save of the night when he touched on a John Lundstram try around his right post after the scouser was pecked out by Aribo's cut. But the breakthrough came from the corner when Borna Barisic found Connor Goldson's head and Wright lunged from close range to head the defender's header home with a neat finish. It was almost as if Rangers were in a hurry to get this game out of the way as they continued to pour forward and scored the second goal in 28 minutes as County sliced ​​open for the umpteenth time and Tavernier on Wright's subtle shot through stripes. In full swing, the Rangers skipper was brought down by Alex Jacovitti and referee Andrew Dallas had an easy point-to-point decision. Up came Tavernier to do what Tavernier does - he smashed that deep left of Laidlaw - and that contest was all but over in less than half an hour. More chances came and went before the break as Laidlaw turned Lowry's raspy try over the top, Aribo blocked one from close range and Goldson smashed the outside of the keeper's left post. But that became an agonizing watch for county boss Malky Mackay, who stalked the sidelines as if he couldn't quite believe what was being done to his team. Van Bronckhorst made a double substitution at half-time, Aribo took the rest of the evening off and Barisic also wrapped himself in cotton-wool after sustaining an injury late in the first half. Diallo led the line, Leon Balogun moved to the center of defense and Calvin Bassey switched to left-back. Balogun almost added a third in 51 minutes when he hammered a header off the base of Laidlaw's left post after a free-kick won at the end of Tavernier's delivery. Kent's night was over soon after as van Bronckhorst also removed Lundstram and sent both Sakala and Steve Davis. Mackay also made changes, sending in White and David Cancola for Blair Spittal and Ross Callachan. And while the unfortunate Cancola had to limp away again almost immediately, White made an instant impression, firing a stunning shot past Allan McGregor from 25 yards after Wright was robbed by Joseph Hungbo on the halfway line. But Rangers finished it off in 81 minutes when Sakala dived headfirst into Tavernier's corner to smash a fall header into Laidlaw's net. And in stoppage time, Diallo added a fourth after Lowry and Bassey combined him to set him up with a tap-in at the back post - and happily sent the home fans to the airport.

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Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side end the home season with a rout

Rangers defeated Ross County 4-1 in their final home game of the season; Goals from Scott Wright, James Tavernier, Fasion Sakala Jr. and Amad Diallo sealed the win; The Gers have the Europa League final next Wednesday (Author: Gardener)

Giovanni van Bronckhorst'sEuropa League finalists Rangers bid farewell to Ibrox for the season with a routine 4-1 win over Ross County. On a night when Old Firm rivals Celtic officially regained the Premiership title with a 1-1 draw with Dundee United in Tannadice, the Light Blues kept things rolling towards Sevilla. Attacker Scott Wright opened the scoring in the 13th minute before skipper James Tavernier won and converted a penalty in the 28th minute. Although Staggies substitute Jordan White closed the gap with a terrific finish in the 72nd minute, Rangers substitutes Fashion Sakala and Amad Diallo struck late. While there is one final league game against Hearts in the Scottish Cup on Saturday in Tynecastle, Rangers are concentrating entirely on the Europa League final against Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt next Wednesday evening, before taking on the Jambos at Hampden Park three days later. Rangers had long since come to terms with losing their title, but questions about that are for another day. Rangers manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst returned to a very strong line-up after numerous changes for Sunday's home win against Dundee United. Allan McGregor, Calvin Bassey, Glen Kamara, John Lundstram, Joe Aribo - again playing as a false nine - and Ryan Kent returned, while 18-year-old midfielder Alex Lowry made his second start. County manager Malky Mackay made four substitutions, including top scorer Regan Charles-Cook, while Dominic Samuel, Joseph Hungbo, Jack Burroughs and Keith Watson came to the visiting side, who spent most of the game in backcourt. In the eighth minute, county goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw brilliantly blocked a close-range shot from Lundstram after an assist from Aribo. A left corner from left-back Borna Barisic was headed in by centre-back Connor Goldson to volley Wright from six yards into the goal. Rangers continued to play in County's half, looking left and right for goal number two, which came from the penalty spot. Tavernier played a one-two with Lowry in the box and was tripped up by defender Alex Iacovitti. The prolific full-back scrambled to his feet and deflected the penalty past Laidlaw to score in his third straight game, taking his tally for the season to a remarkable 18. Traffic stayed one-way and five minutes before the break terrific block by Dingwall defenseman Jake Vokins denied Aribo's shot from Wright's cut-back test on Laidlaw. Leon Balogun and Diallo replaced Barisic and Aribo early in the second half, and in the 52nd minute Balogun's header from Tavernier's deep free-kick bounced off the post, allowing the Highlanders to escape punishment. Goldson headed a Tavernier corner over the bar 10 minutes later but by then much of Rangers' momentum had evaporated and they were caught when White, who came on for Ross Callachan on the hour, curled a shot from 20 yards past McGregor, to inject some fear into the stands. But Sakala, who came on for Kent after 61 minutes, headed in a Tavernier corner to make it 3-1 before Bassey set up Diallo for a tap-in seconds from time. We started the game very well. We should have scored more than two goals. In the second half we made changes and brought them back into play. In the last 15 minutes we scored two extra goals. “I see a lot of talent in Alex Lowry. He's one of those players who are here to play and be important in the future. He's moving well and can play in midfield and on the flanks.” I think Ryan [Jack] is doing better and I'm hoping to get him back on the training ground this weekend. It's a European final, if we can have Kemar and Ryan on the bench then we have to take the chance. “I think the biggest difference [in the title race] is that they [Celtic] have more points. We had a good time in the league and their winning streak was long. We have to be ready and recover if we start from scratch. We have to fight to get another title."

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Chytil finishes third as Rangers beat Penguins 5-3 in Game 5

Filip Chytil scored the game-changing goal early in the third period, and the New York Rangers repelled elimination with a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night. Igor Shesterkin, who scored ten goals in three periods in the last two games, had 27 saves. (Author: Gardener)

Game 5NEW YORK (AP) -- Filip Chytil scored the deciding goal early in the third period, and the New York Rangers repelled elimination with a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night . Jacob Trouba and Alexis Lafrenière each had a goal and an assist, and Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren also scored for Rangers. Igor Shesterkin, who scored ten goals in three periods in the last two games, had 27 saves. Jake Guentzel scored twice and Kris Letang also scored for Pittsburgh, who lead the best-of-seven streak 3-2. Penguins star Sidney Crosby left the team with about seven minutes remaining in the second half with an apparent injury and did not return. Rangers got their first power play of the evening early in the third period and capitalized on that when Chytil caught a pass from Lafrenière in the right circle, turned and whipped a shot past Domingue to put Rangers 4-3 in at 2:53 to bring leadership. 20 seconds later, he returned briefly during a stoppage in play and left the ice again. After the Penguins led 1-0 after 20 minutes, Pittsburgh's Mike Matheson hit a goal post after 3 1/2 minutes of the second half. A minute later, Domingue saved Artemi Panarin's shot and Lindgren's tap. The keeper also stopped a slap shot from Trouba and two minutes later from Panarin. Letang made it 2-0 at 7:58 when he got a cross-ice pass from Malkin and fired a slapshot past Shesterkin on Pittsburgh's first shot on goal of the period. Rangers then took the lead when they had three consecutive shots in a 2:42 span late in the second second. Fox put the Rangers 4:49 left on the scoreboard when he got the puck inside the blue line, slowly ran up and fired a shot from the top of the right circle past Domingue's shoulder. Lafrenière equalized 90 seconds later when he quickly fired a slapshot forward from a centering pass from Kaapo Kakko. Trouba put the Rangers ahead another 1:12 later when he ran across the right circle and put a backhander from the middle through Domingue's skates. The lead lasted just 13 seconds when Guentzel connected it with his second of the night and seventh of the series when he scored a centering pass from Malkin. Rangers beat the Penguins 11-10 in the first half, mostly limited to outside shots. The Penguins had a 5-on-3 power play early on when Chris Kreider was called on to bat and Jacob Trouba elbowed after just 24 seconds. Rangers kept them just two shots on target during the lead, with Shesterkin making a nice glove save from Guentzel. The Penguins went 1-0 up with 9 1/2 minutes left when Guentzel got the rebound of his own shot and sent a centering pass from behind the goal line that was deflected off Shesterkin's leg and inside. Lindgren returned to the Rangers line-up after missing the last three games from an upper-body injury in Game 1 of that series. Lindgren then left the team early in the second period with an apparent injury and minutes later headed to the dressing room. Guentzel scored for the fifth consecutive season, tying Jaromir Jagr (1996, 2000) and Kevin Stevens (1991) for the fourth-longest streak in a postseason in franchise history. D Mike Matheson had an assist for Guentzel's goal and extended his points streak to four games (one goal, five assists). Fox (three goals, two assists) extended his points streak to five games.

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Rangers beat Penguins 5-3 in Game 5

Filip Chytil scored the deciding goal early in the third period, and the New York Rangers repelled elimination with a 5-3 win over Pittsburgh (Author: Gardener)

Game 5NEW YORK -- Filip Chytil scored the deciding goal early in the third period, and the New York Rangers repelled elimination with a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night. Jacob Trouba and Alexis Lafrenière each had a goal and an assist, and Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren also scored for Rangers. Igor Shesterkin, who scored ten goals in three periods in the last two games, had 27 saves. Jake Guentzel scored twice and Kris Letang also scored for Pittsburgh, who lead the best-of-seven streak 3-2. Penguins star Sidney Crosby left the team with about seven minutes remaining in the second half with an apparent injury and did not return. Rangers got their first power play of the evening early in the third period and capitalized on that when Chytil caught a pass from Lafrenière in the right circle, turned and whipped a shot past Domingue to put Rangers 4-3 in at 2:53 to bring leadership. 20 seconds later, he returned briefly during a stoppage in play and left the ice again. With the Penguins leading 1-0 after 20 minutes, Pittsburgh's Mike Matheson hit a goal post 3 [1/2] minutes into the second period. A minute later, Domingue saved Artemi Panarin's shot and Lindgren's tap. The keeper also stopped a slap shot from Trouba and two minutes later from Panarin. Letang made it 2-0 at 7:58 when he got a cross-ice pass from Malkin and fired a slapshot past Shesterkin on Pittsburgh's first shot on goal of the period. Rangers then took the lead when they had three consecutive shots in a 2:42 span late in the second second. Fox put the Rangers 4:49 left on the scoreboard when he got the puck inside the blue line, slowly ran up and fired a shot from the top of the right circle past Domingue's shoulder. Lafrenière equalized 90 seconds later when he quickly fired a slapshot forward from a centering pass from Kaapo Kakko. Trouba put the Rangers ahead another 1:12 later when he ran across the right circle and put a backhander from the middle through Domingue's skates. The lead lasted just 13 seconds when Guentzel connected it with his second of the night and seventh of the series when he scored a centering pass from Malkin. Rangers beat the Penguins 11-10 in the first half, mostly limited to outside shots. The Penguins had a 5-on-3 power play early on when Chris Kreider was called on to bat and Jacob Trouba elbowed after just 24 seconds. Rangers kept them just two shots on target during the lead, with Shesterkin making a nice glove save from Guentzel. The Penguins went 1-0 up with 9 [1/2] minutes left when Guentzel got the rebound of his own shot and sent a centering pass from behind the goal line that deflected off Shesterkin's leg and went in. Lindgren returned to the Rangers line-up after missing the previous three games after suffering an upper-body injury in Game 1 of this series. Lindgren then left the team early in the second period with an apparent injury and minutes later headed to the dressing room. Guentzel scored for the fifth consecutive season, tying Jaromir Jagr (1996, 2000) and Kevin Stevens (1991) for the fourth-longest streak in a postseason in franchise history. D Mike Matheson had an assist for Guentzel's goal and extended his points streak to four games (one goal, five assists). Fox (three goals, two assists) extended his points streak to five games.

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5 talking points as Celtic and Ange Postecoglou secure Scottish Premiership title at Tannadice

It's party time for the men of Parkhead as the Aussie masterminds claim the title on the first try. (Author: Gardener)

CelticUnbeaten Celtic clinched the Scottish Premiership title at Tannadice, sealing a comeback season for the ages. Giorgos Giakoumakis' booming header was canceled out by a stunner from Dylan Levitt, but the truth is that crowning achievement seemed certain long before the 1-1 draw that confirmed it. Ange Postecoglou was only missing a protective helmet on arrival as he faced a major conversion job for a side who were outclassed in a title fight against Steven Gerrard's Rangers. Fans cheered at the final whistle as they immediately regained top dog status and punched a £40m ticket straight into the Champions League group stage. The Celtic manager noted in his pre-game remarks that a quick start was the order of the day and he got that. James Forrest's pitching wedge cross, Matt O'Riley's teasing and Tony Ralston's shot had the hosts scared within two minutes. There were signs Forrest - less seen during an injury-plagued season - was desperate to make a big impact as he hopped and weaved through challenges to win the battle in the final third. O'Riley was not to be outdone and the Denmark Under-21 international was denied by Kieran Freeman when he found space in the United box. Celtic dominated the action and Reo Hatate seemed poised to end a flowing move when Liel Abada dribbled over the 18-yard box, but he couldn't contain his effort. Dundee United are specialists in promotion from their illustrious academy and 16-year-old Rory MacLeod was the last to earn his chance. But the highly-rated youngster had to literally chase shadows as the sun-kissed pitch silhouetted the Celtic stars while they held the hosts by threads. Hatate, playing his best match lately, was lively again but missed after a nice give-and-go with Giorgos Giakoumakis to free him. The great Greek forward has been in the wars and this physical element seems to give an added edge to a player who finds another level in the heat of battle. But he had to look to heaven after overcooking a pass to Forrest after triggering United's shaky offside trap. United then bared their teeth and Archie Meekerson's brilliant moment on the edge of the box that created half a chance but his controlled left-footed shot landed on the wrong side of Joe Hart's goal. Postecoglou grimaced at the lack of pace that ended the first half. It was panache and swagger from both sides to start the second half, with Abada getting close first as he forced a smart save from Benjamin Siegrist. But the coveted Swiss goalkeeper was helpless moments later as Giakoumakis slammed Ralston's ball over the six-yard box. When United were down they certainly weren't out and teenage star MacLeod cracked the post before Nicky Clark's follow-up shot was ruled out for offside. That gave the hosts something to believe in but Jota was prepared to snuff out all hope but was denied by the brilliant Siegrist. That opened the door for the darker side of Tam Courts to roll the punches before Dylan Levitt's haymaker momentarily graced the champions. And the Leveler continued to cheer on those in Tangerine as they faced a significant goal threat in the closing stages. Jota wove his magic again but victory eluded Celtic but that didn't matter to the happy group of traveling fans in Tannadice. Here are 5 talking points from the pivotal night of the Scottish Premiership season. The only word some Celtic supporters thought they might be overwhelmed after a hiccup against Livingston racked up three losses from six in the league, fresh off a season they finished 25 points behind Rangers. But Postecoglou's unwavering faith quickly made itself felt on the pitch. There were plenty of highlights, the 3-0 win over Rangers being the first choice for many, but for all their beautiful football this side has a brave element to their ability to get results. That's the hallmark of champions and there's no doubt that the Parkhead side were the best team domestically. Star-turn Kyogo possesses talismanic qualities, having made the difference in a season full of them, but there's a growing sense that Celtic is something else when the Greek striker leads the line. He brings goals and much more. His hold-up play is excellent and he has an innate ability to find half a yard inside the box. It bodes well for next season and Postecoglou is in the enviable position that one of his top two strikers should lead the line. Even Rovers' Roy didn't like the kind of starts the Japan international enjoyed on arrival. Missiles at Tyncecastle, doubles against Rangers and otherworldly passes to unlock Motherwell - it couldn't have started much better. But the 24-year-old looked out of breath before admitting he's been struggling with a busy schedule. The Celtic team huddle together before the Cinch Premiership match at Tannadice Park, Dundee. The class is there, there's no doubt about that, and he's returning to his best form in Tannadice, with clever connection play catching the eye. Yes, his graduation wasn't on form, but the player who left fans open-mouthed proved there's more of the early thrills to come. The Dundee United manager has enjoyed a season to enjoy. It's easy to forget the doubts that followed his appointment in the city of Discovery. And his men are one result away from a place in European football next season. The 40-year-old, who has many admirers south of the border, and his intoxicating mix of enthusiasm and coaching sensibilities make him an obvious candidate for other clubs. It bodes well for next season as the stakes are raised on a Champions League return for the first time in five years.

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7 games Celtic won Premiership title as 'Never Stop' motto underscores Ange Postecoglou triumph

The Hoops were officially crowned champions after a season they will never forget. (Author: Gardener)

Ange PostecoglouCongratulations are in order as Celtic have been officially crowned champions of the Cinch Premiership. It was certainly a season to remember for Ange Postecoglou's men as they managed to end Rangers' lead at the top of the table. It comes after a draw against Dundee United who gave them the title. Ange Postecoglou's side were the best in the league and deserve their crown. But it wasn't just Wednesday's result that secured Celtic the title. Record Sport took a look back at this season and the pivotal clashes that helped the Hoops this season. It was only on matchday eight of the Premiership season that the Hoops celebrated their first home win away this season – and their first in the league since February last year. Kyogo gave them an early lead as it turned out Celtic had a serious player on their hands. But then Lewis Ferguson turned a header past Joe Hart and it looked like more points were lost for Ange Postecoglou down the road. Boost some iota to announce yourself six minutes ahead of time and ballistic send a packed away end. Some chuckled at a perceived overzealousness towards the Green and White post-match cheers as fans chanted 'This is the day we won away' on the loop. But those in attendance will know what a significant day it was as Jota's late goal was the first in a string of last-second strikes that would prove the difference as the season progressed. One of the stories of the season in Glasgow's East End was the reinvention of Antony Ralston, whose nickname 'Brickie' went from being a disparagement of his footballing skills to a pet name. With Liel Abada at the helm, the Israeli helped Celtic get off to a good start, but things went haywire in the second half when Jack Baldwin equalized and Carl Starfelt was then sent off. Tom Rogic held Ralston head home in the 97th minute, sparking a pitch invasion and the very definition of 'scenes'. From those milling about the Celtic Way to those milling around the stadium concourse, cheers could be heard as the news broke that Rangers had thrown away two points in the Highlands against Ross County. So much pressure was on young Abada's shoulders as he controlled the ball in the penalty area in the 90th minute - before hitting high into the net. What made that United win so significant was that it opened the door for Celtic to top the table days later with a win over Rangers. It was during this period that new midfielder Reo Hatate arrived and announced his arrival on a night few Hoops fans will ever forget. As the first nighttime venue of its kind in over a decade, the atmosphere in Glasgow's East End was electric. Hatate's opening game continued to up the volume in the fifth minute and he then placed another shot past Allan McGregor. Before Rangers could be saved by the bell, Abada arrived to shove another into the visitors' net and put the Hoops in the driver's seat of the title. Having just taken their place at the top of the table in a razor-thin title race, Celtic knew they had to seize the first opportunity to extend that lead. Dundee, bottom of the table and playing their first game following the controversial appointment of Mark McGhee, looked like a pushover. But Danny Mullen shocked Parkhead with his opener, only for Giorgos Giakoumakis to fire back with two goals and seemingly put it beyond doubt. Ryan Sweeney had other ideas after a set piece and it looked like Rangers would walk away with their 1-1 draw with Dundee United in the City of Discovery. Not so that Giakoumakis nodded home as the winner, ripped off his jersey and bravely insisted the title returned to the East End. It was a risky cry then, and one that would draw the wrath of Gers man Ryan Jack. The last derby before the split and it was at stake. Win and Celtic would clear six points and take matters completely out of Ibrox's hands. But lose and the deficit would have been reduced to just the goal difference going into the final games. That's where things went when Aaron Ramsey shot the opener in the early stages at Govan. But Postecoglou's troops had rallied by half-time, leading through Rogic and Cameron Carter-Vickers. In the ensuing 45 minutes, Celtic strayed farther than ever from the football philosophy of the idolized gaffer. Carter-Vickers and Starfelt rose to the challenge, clearing out anything and everything that got in their box. But all that was done was nudge the beast as Daizen Maeda, Kyogo Furuhashi, Matt O'Riley and Giorgos Giakoumakis fired four past Craig Gordon with no response.

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How Celtic's Australian manager flipped the Bhoys to win the title

Ange Postecoglou has once again propelled Celtic from a club that was losing direction to the Scottish Premiership champions; The Australian took over in the summer and also won the League Cup in his debut season; Postecoglou has also been recognized by PFA Scotland and SFWA Manager of the Year (Author: Gardener)

AustralianWhen Ange Postecoglou took over as Celtic coach last summer, the overriding question from many fans was: who? Those skeptics were not only treated but proved wrong this season as Celtic won the Scottish Premier League title through exciting, attacking football. The Bhoys' quest to dethrone Rangers from Scottish football's top division - following their unbeatable title campaign last season - was helped in part by Steven Gerrard's abrupt departure from Ibrox to Aston Villa. Postecoglou's start to life at Parkhead did not start well as he failed to win his first three games, resulting in a Champions League elimination and an opening day loss to Hearts in the league. But slowly but surely, Celtic recovered. Here's how Postecoglou managed to take Celtic from a club that lost their focus back to being Premiership champions again... The Australian's influence at the club began at the very beginning of his Parkhead reign. In his first press conference as Celtic manager, Postecoglou promised a "major" squad overhaul to bring the Bhoys back to the top of Scottish football's pecking order. The motivation behind this was to get each of their players on board with their ideas after months of uncertainty about the club's future following Neil Lennon's sacking last season. Captain Scott Brown left the club because of these doubts, but no one could have predicted the sheer number that followed. Overall, Postecoglou trimmed 14 players from Celtic's squad in its first few months - and each player was an established first-teamer over 20. "I wouldn't say there were people here who didn't want to be here, I would just say , there was uncertainty and where there is uncertainty building something doesn't help," Postecoglou said after the summer transfer window closed. "I'm trying to talk to the group about the future and what we're building and where we're going we're going, and if there's any uncertainty as to whether people are going to be a part of it."The players kind of know 'right' ok, here we are, we're all in this building and we're moving together'. When it came to it Desperate to replace those departures, Postecoglou used both his knowledge of the lesser-known leagues and his own scouting expertise to bring on a dozen new players last summer, all but two - Joe Hart and James McCarthy – were in their 30s, with Postecoglou stressing that the new recruits had to be “the right age”. And what successes these dozen players have had on the pitch this season. Attackers Kyogo, Giorgios Giakoumakis, Liel Abada and Jota were all scoring in double figures by March and playing central roles in an attack-oriented Bhoys side. Excellent recruiting continued into January – with Postecoglou once again demonstrating its market expertise alongside new CEO Michael Nicholson. Three new J-League stars joined top scorer Kyogo over the winter, while midfielder Matt O'Riley has proved a smart buy from MK Dons. "The players I've brought in have hit the ground running and people are asking why so quickly?" said Postecoglou in February. "I knew that the first crucial part of finding the right players would be what I'm trying to create and how I'll be judged in history. If I signed players who didn't fit, it would be difficult.” I wanted to make sure that the players corresponded to the ideology of the team I had in mind. They also had to hit the right demographic in terms of age. My team played his and I watched him up close. As an individual player but also because of the talent he fit into my team." With the loss of Captain Brown before Postecoglou joined the club, Celtic not only lost a cult hero but also their most regular defensive midfield figure in over a decade Instead of finding an external option in the transfer market, Postecoglou opted for the internal solution in Callum McGregor, who replaced Brown as both captain and midfielder for Celtic The Australian manager.In simple terms, the Scot has a role in the squad in quarterback Style has taken over and is responsible for launching attacks from deep and breaking up opposition play.The midfielder's all-around game has improved this season, with McGregor managing fewer forward passes per 90 than in previous top games - and his Tackling and ball recovery stats are better from this deeper and more reasonable position I be suggests David Turnbull, Reo Hatate and Tom Rogic - who has a new attacking life with his compatriot as manager - are free to play further up the pitch. It is no surprise that this slight change in midfield resulted in both McGregor and Rogic being nominated for the Scottish PFA Player of the Year award. But McGregor still creates the same number of chances as he did in that attacking role last season. A pivotal moment in Celtic's leap towards the title came in a narrow 2-1 win over Rangers. After the Bhoys fell behind on Aaron Ramsey's opener, McGregor smashed several players down the right to feed Rogic in the box - who put Celtic back in the game after the equaliser. This magical moment in midfield encapsulates both McGregor's own personal development under Postecoglou this season and his impact on his teammates, especially with so many new players. "It [midfield role] needed something different this year in terms of me being the most experienced," McGregor told Sky Sports News in April as possible and anchoring the midfield much more and letting those guys do their job up front.And Postecoglou himself was very positive about McGregor's individual performances this season but also praised the Scottish midfielder's ability to play with the Dealing with pressure as Celtic captain: "Callum's football was outstanding and that's where it starts," the Australian said in March, leading from the front and he's played fantastic football for us. "People forget that this is his first year as a leader , as captain of this football club.People know the responsibility that comes with it.'This is his first attempt to lead a team through this part of the year and I am sure he will learn a lot about himself and his leadership. Rangers led the way in the first half of that Scottish Premiership title race – but for the moment The Bhoys' 3-0 win over Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side in early February saw the pendulum swing towards Celtic: Celtic smashed their arch-rivals with a superb Teamwork in the middle and final third easily - and leapfrogged his opponent Archrivals on top In a hectic first half, the Bhoys moved the ball exceptionally quickly down the right through rotations between full-back Josip Juranovic, midfielder O'Riley and striker Abada - with that combination was crucial for Celtic Hatate scored the second goal. That victory through intense interaction may have happened in February, but the fundamentals for this movement began in Postecoglou's first week at the club, in a training session in July ahead of the season Broadcast by the official media team of Celtic, became a area of ​​the Postecoglou philosophy made abundantly clear. “Ball speed is very important to us. Ball speed is number one,” the Australian shouted at his players. "Even if we keep possession, I don't want the ball to move slowly. Ultimately, Celtic moved the ball much faster with Postecoglou as boss than they did under Lennon last season. They lead the division in direct attacks in a shot that has over 50 percent of movements at goal (68 - Rangers 57). Meanwhile, the Bhoys are one of the best teams in Europe when it comes to controlling games by holding the ball. Of all teams across the continent in the top leagues, only Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have made more passes per game than Celtic this season Celtic have made 581 attacks consisting of ten or more passes resulting in a shot on goal led, nearly 150 more than the second-place Rangers in that stat. Purposeful passing was the message at the beginning and has remained consistently. As a result, Celtic have an unbeaten league record that stretches back to early October. Failure to keep up with Rangers in terms of goalscoring was one of the main reasons why last season's Scottish league title went to Ibrox. Gerrard's side scored 14 more goals than the Bhoys last season but now the tables have really turned in the opposite direction. Postecoglou's Celtic have now scored 17 more goals from open play than their arch-rivals this season, while the Bhoys average nearly 15 shots on target per league game in these scenarios. Celtic's open play goal tally should actually be much higher considering they have a league high of 75.3 expected goals (xG). Rangers, on the other hand, only manage 55 xG from open play. In the last third, the Postecoglou team is relentless not only with the ball, but also without it. Celtic allow their opponents fewer passes in the defensive third than any other top Scottish team, showing the effectiveness of their pressing whilst also having the most turnovers to score in the league. This intrusive ideology was also instilled in the Celtic players by their Australian coach in the same pre-season training session during his first few weeks at the club. "If we lose the ball, we fucking want to win it back," he roared. "Keep the pressure on, the more we're a team that doesn't want to play us, the more effective we'll be. We stop at halftime and we stop at the end of the game We celebrate. Being a defensive player himself, Postecoglou hated playing the traditional wide-back role due to the limited space available near the touchline. So it's no surprise Celtic used tight full-backs throughout the game With academy product Anthony Ralston and new signing Josip Juranovic, it's the area that encapsulates the Aussie's ability to grow this Celtic squad both through the existing crop he has at Parkhead has inherited, as well as the signings he's brought in. Ralston and Juranovic have been in and between goals this season, with 11 goals and 11 assists in all competitions. The skinny full-backs help overload the middle of the park , but they also grant broader players such as Jota and Abada affect the match. Meanwhile, McGregor and Rogic can push the midfield further up, further increasing their control of the game by pushing their opponents back. But most importantly, the players have responded brilliantly to the move to the full-back system, not least right-back Ralston, whose new role has helped him sign a new deal at Parkhead after Postecoglou put his trust back in him. "In the beginning it was new and I had to learn it (the new role)," Ralston told Sky Sports News in December. “When I found myself in midfield at the beginning, it was strange. I never had to take care of myself as usually everything is in front of me.” He had very clear instructions on how he wanted me to do it and that made it a lot easier for me to learn this role. I love playing the style of football he brought to the team.” “That was one thing the gaffer was trying to implement here,” revealed midfielder McGregor in October when asked about the move at full-back one [Full-back] comes in and one stays out, which gives us a little width.” So it just slides you back and forth a little, giving you the two controlling players to build up and try to outplay the opposition. So it's important that you just balance the full-back that comes in on the side and then it's all about quick combinations and trying to break through the pressing. "And then when switching, it's important that we control the center of the pitch first, push them wide, and then everyone recovers centrally and we defend from there."

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Ange Postecoglou is a perfect fit for Celtic and now has the title to prove it

The transformation of the manager of a team that was a distant runners-up to Rangers should result in significant transfer support (Author: Gardener)

Ange PostecoglouCeltic appointed Mark Lawwell as head of recruitment 12 months ago, when Rangers were in the midst of their title celebrations, the cacophony of an angry fanbase would have pierced the eardrums. As the son of former and longtime Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, there would have been a debt of association in the eyes of paying customers. In their quest for a 10th consecutive title, Celtic had less docilely surrendered to their city rivals than imploded. Mark Lawwell was actually hired by Celtic days ago and hardly a grumble. The manager's status in the eyes of Celtic's following is such that he could add Ally McCoist to his coaching staff and supporters would find reason to nod in agreement. Celtic, from such a weak position at the time of Postecoglou's arrival, are Scottish champions again. Postecoglou can do no wrong. Anything Lawwell related is relevant here, with the Celtic regime of recent times worthy of being treated far more fairly by history than it used to be. Dermot Desmond, the main shareholder, is another who was vilified as Celtic toiled on the field. Celtic met Postecoglou who proved he was a perfect fit. Rangers will point to their off-field meltdown of 2012 as mitigation for having clearly played second-best for over a decade. Not only was this scenario not Celtic's doing, the Ibrox club continued to spend enormous sums on player wages while scurrying around in the lower leagues and later attempting to regain the premier title. Since Rangers won the top flight in 2011, Celtic have won 22 major trophies including the Scottish Cup in the same year. Rangers will lead the claim to an important league flag - no Scottish club have won 10 in a row - but the bigger picture serves as a reminder of which club is the dominant force in the country. That shouldn't be taken as a sack for Postecoglou, who changed the atmosphere around Celtic after arriving from Yokohama F Marinos and flew past a Rangers side that haven't weakened at all after winning the league. Postecoglou is a welcome addition to the scene on umpteen levels. Postecoglou keeps very much to himself, including within the Celtic training complex, but there are endearing tales of kind acts behind the scenes that cast the Aussie in a positive light. Football-wise, Postecoglou would like to know what the opposing sides are likely to do without giving any indication that Celtic's approach could be changed for that reason. With time, particularly with a Champions League campaign looming, this could be portrayed as a lack of versatility which will cost Celtic but for now he runs a group with full confidence in their manager. Thirty-one league games unbeaten – Celtic got off to a rocky start in the league as Postecoglou gained a foothold – illustrates the momentum that swept aside Rangers. Desmond and the Celtic board have every confidence in Postecoglou's ability to identify signings, meaning substantial transfer support in the summer is almost certain. In Kyogo Furuhashi, Postecoglou has delivered Scotland's most gifted attacking player. The Premier League's top six sides were considering a move for Matt O'Riley from MK Dons while skeptical the midfielder could make the leap from League One. Celtic's £1.5million purchase of O'Riley is sure to pay off in the form of a substantial profit. Much is made of Celtic's high-octane play with the forefoot, which can be a joy to watch. Key moments in this title race include Tony Ralston's 97th-minute win at Ross County in mid-December and Celtic's 2-1 win at Ibrox in early April. Celtic will celebrate this title knowing how quickly they were written off before a ball was kicked. Such is the green and white grip on the Scottish game that excitement and anger over what happened a year ago now looks a little silly.

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