It is typical that on the SPFL battleground, even a typographical symbol can be used as a flamethrower. Suggestions of an asterisk being placed next to Celtic’s ninth successive title has invited fervent, if inevitable, debate but for Roy Aitken, the former Parkhead captain and current club ambassador, there is only the evidence in front of him to support his argument in dismantling any accusations of dubiety.

“If you were a betting man, I think you’d have had your money on Celtic going for a quadruple treble,” said Aitken. “After Christmas they looked like a team revitalised. Rangers did exceptionally well in the first five months of the season but right now I would imagine that Steven Gerrard will be trying to work out what happened after that win at Celtic Park in December.

“How and why did it go so wrong for Rangers after that? They were throwing points away. They had lost that consistency they had shown in the opening half of the season. But never in my life have I seen a league championship handed out in December. Celtic had questions asked of them after that defeat at Celtic Park. But the manner in which they came back was emphatic.”

Monday afternoon’s long-awaited call to award Celtic the title came with 30 of the 38 league games played. Neil Lennon’s side held a 13-point lead over Rangers with a goal difference of 25, albeit that the Ibrox side had a game in hand still to play.

Lennon spoke on Monday evening of his own frustration at the season being prematurely curtailed since it denied Celtic the opportunity for a robust finale. The Celtic manager revealed a target of 100 points and 100 goals had been set following the acceleration away from Rangers post winter break, with the points-per-game ratio suggesting the side were on course to hit 101.

And Aitken believes that the real issue at the core of some of the criticisms is not that a boardroom Zoom meeting handed Celtic the title, but that Rangers’ form in the latter part of the season facilitated it.

In the aftermath of

Rangers’ win at Celtic Park in December, Steven Gerrard’s side moved within two points of Celtic and with a game in hand. It proved to be a brief flirtation with a genuine race for the title.

“I think Neil Lennon has proved himself to be a top coach,” said Aitken. “It wasn’t that Celtic came back after the break and found their feet – they came back and changed things around a bit. They were winning games comfortably, scoring a lot of goals and there was a real fluency to the team.

“Rangers were clawing their way to the points they got.

“If I was at Ibrox, that would be the real concern. I can understand their frustration when there were games still to go but I honestly believe that Celtic would have kicked on and stretched that lead.

“It can’t have been an easy decision to make. But I think what people overlook at times is that Celtic wanted these games to be played too. There is a reason for that. They were fairly confident in themselves that they were on their way to a ninth successive title. Everyone wanted the games played to a conclusion but sometimes there has to be a bit of realism in there.”

The pressure will be on Lennon now to deliver an historic 10th title next term. Aitken enjoyed ample success at Parkhead in the 15 years he spent at the club, winning six titles, five Scottish Cups and one League Cup. However, there wasn’t the same stranglehold on the domestic game then that Celtic have now.

“You look at where Celtic are now with the success that they are enjoying and it is remarkable,” he said. “When we won the 1989 Scottish Cup, no-one would have thought what was ahead or that it would be so long before there was anything else to celebrate. You look at what Neil has got right on the park, but crucially there has also been so much right off the park to be able to get Celtic into that position they are in now.”