CELTIC PARK was billed as the eye of the storm for the first Old Firm match since Rangers sealed the Premiership title. The epicentre of the bedlam sure to be swirling all around outside, where a ring of temporary steel fencing was erected to keep celebrating Rangers fans away from the ground, as well as the Celtic supporters who were expected to respond by defending their home patch.

In the end though, the day was notable not for what divides the city and their football clubs, but what unites its citizens and the supporters of those teams.

The tone was set in the pre-match warm-up when Celtic captain Scott Brown crossed the divide and offered his hand to Glen Kamara following the abhorrent racist abuse he is alleged to have suffered at the hands of Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela on Thursday evening, a touching show of support for the Rangers midfielder after a tumultuous few days.

Then, both sets of players took a stand against racism pre-match, refusing to take the knee in a direct and unified call to action to the football authorities as well as social media companies to clamp down on the racist vitriol which is sadly becoming an all-too frequent part of the lives of so many black players.

The calm outside was matched on the pitch too in the early stages, with Rangers looking a little jaded from their exertions against Slavia, and Celtic looking physically and mentally drained by the horrors of their implosion this season.

The home side shook off the torpor though after 20 minutes of the tamest Old Firm football you are likely to see with a goal completely out of sync with what had gone before. A wonderfully weighted pass from Callum McGregor sent Odsonne Edouard scampering down the left, and the striker caught out the Rangers backline with a first-time cross that bypassed Filip Helander and met the forehead of the diving Moi Elyounoussi flush to send the ball flying past Allan McGregor.

Suddenly, Celtic were looking more like the team that had dominated Scottish football for the last nine seasons, rather than the one who has capitulated under Rangers relentless consistency this term.

What had also been surprising to the point of the opening goal was how quiet referee Willie Collum had been, but he was soon involved as he made a huge call in the Rangers penalty area. The ball broke towards Edouard at the back post, and as the forward moved the ball inside onto his left foot to apply the finish, Borna Barisic came steaming in in an attempt to make a last-ditch intervention.

Edouard hit the deck, Collum’s whistle blew, but as the Celtic players waited for him to point to the spot he instead reached for his pocket and produced a yellow card, deeming the striker to have dived.

To be fair to the referee, it appeared to be the right call, and he had a decent day overall.

For all Celtic were on top, as anyone who has had as much of a passing interest in them this term will know, they will always give the opposition a chance from a set-piece. So, the last thing that they want to be doing is giving away needless corners, as Jonjoe Kenny did with a long backpass that went awry.

It was no surprise to see Rangers take full advantage, and there was an air of inevitability around who would be the one to drag them back on level terms.

Alfredo Morelos finally broke his duck against Celtic as Barisic’s corner was nodded on by Balogun to find the Columbian lurking at the back post, where he crashed home his 55th goal in Rangers colours. It just had to be.

He lifted both hands and stretched out his fingers, which may have been a nod to that 55th goal and Rangers’ 55th title, or it may have been mocking Celtic’s failure to land 10 in-a-row. Either way, it was probably just as well the Jock Stein Stand behind the goal was empty.

Celtic responded well in the second half, and made particular hay down their left-hand side, where Diego Laxalt and McGregor were getting all sorts of joy.

Rangers weren’t exactly defending set-pieces all that well either, with David Turnbull’s deliveries causing chaos. But where Rangers had taken advantage of Celtic’s slackness in that regard at one end, the hosts couldn’t make the most of their opportunities at the other.

There would be no winner forthcoming, but it was a day when the football was perhaps of as little importance as it could possibly be in a Glasgow derby.

Thankfully, what many people expected to happen off of it failed to materialise. There were a few fireworks audible here and there after the game, but rather like the contest, they soon fizzled out. Overall, it was a decent contest, and what happened on the pitch before the game as both sets of players took a stand against racism will be the lasting image from the afternoon.

In a dark week for football, we’ll certainly take that.