SIMPLY the best. There can be no argument now. Not that there ever really was one.

John Kennedy may have caused a stooshie this week with his assertion that he still believed Celtic could be the best team in Scotland on their day, but his players couldn’t back up those fighting words with any meaningful action.

The blaring Ibrox Tannoy, as it has done for years as Rangers emerge from the tunnel, loudly proclaimed the boys in blue to be better than all the rest. It may have been a while, but finally for their supporters, there can be no arguing with the sentiment expressed by good old Tina every other Saturday.

That’s not to say that Rangers blew Celtic off the pitch here, with the visitors creating just as many chances as the hosts over the piece. But where it mattered, it was Rangers who had the conviction and the quality to finish those chances off.

In turn, they have finished off any lingering hopes of Celtic salvaging a silver lining from this wretched campaign of theirs, after they had already finished off their hopes of a tenth league title in a row.

Steven Gerrard’s men now have eyes on a league an cup double, with their Betfred Cup defeat to St Mirren still their solitary domestic loss of the season.

They won this one without their talismanic captain James Tavernier, who only made the bench upon his return to the fold after injury. No matter. The man who replaced him was arguably the best player on the pitch.

Young Nathan Patterson was outstanding, and his contribution to Rangers victory was perhaps only rivalled by that of a man at the opposite end of the age scale in Allan McGregor. That neither player may be in the Scotland squad for the European Championships seems a shame, even if McGregor’s absence is by his own choosing.

On the other side of the coin, no one epitomised Celtic’s regression more than Odsonne Edouard, whose penalty miss near the end was entirely in-keeping with his insipid performance throughout the game and for the majority of the season. His talent is undoubted, but his head and his heart seem a long way from Glasgow.

This was of course one of Scott Brown’s last Old Firm fixtures before he departs the city, and he was almost sent to Aberdeen early as Rangers hit the front after being sold a delightful dummy by the fleet-footed Ryan Kent.

Young Stephen Welsh stepped in and took retribution on behalf of his captain, sending Kent flying up through the air, but referee Bobby Madden was happy enough to allow Joe Aribo to carry on with the ball down the right.

The attacker cut inside and had a shot which deflected high off Kristoffer Ajer and spun up for Steven Davis to show that he was still game by producing an acrobatic finish beyond Scott Bain.

Celtic needed their big players to respond, and David Turnbull and Edouard tried to, each producing twists and turns and combining well to eventually bring the first save from McGregor, Edouard stinging his palms after bamboozling Filip Helander.

Celtic were building up the pressure, and Turnbull was the architect. First, he set Callum McGregor away to get a shot off that went behind for a corner, from where he collected the clearance, turned Helander and put the ball on a plate for Welsh, but from six yards out, the defender got his finish horribly wrong to let the hosts off the hook.

Rangers roared back, with a powerful run and shot into the side netting by the rampaging Patterson the culmination of a prolonged period of possession to take the sting out of Celtic. Then, they knocked the stuffing out of them.

Aribo jinked his way down the right, tying the hapless Diego Laxalt in knots and giving himself the time to delay his cross towards Kent. In the end, the Rangers man’s presence in the six-yard area was enough to force Celtic right-back Jonjoe Kenny into slicing the ball into his own net.

Dominic McKay, who officially succeeds Peter Lawwell as Celtic chief executive on Monday morning, was given a first-hand reminder of the mammoth task that lies ahead of him this summer. Celtic’s deficiencies were laid bare in front of him, not least of which was the lack of width in their side.

Yes, James Forrest was missing through injury, as was Mikey Johnston, but that Celtic have played most of this season without any recognised wingers is a remarkable example of their failings in recruitment.

The two full-backs were giving nothing going forward, and were being embarrassed defensively. It was no surprise to see Greg Taylor replacing Laxalt at the interval.

Celtic needed a response, and they got it, with Brown snapping into a tackle and sending Turnbull away to bring out a save from McGregor with a drive from 25 yards.

But when they needed Edouard to step up, he fluffed his lines. A brilliant run by the hitherto anonymous Moi Elyounoussi forced a point-blank save from McGregor, and the ball popped up to Edouard in front of goal. The forward tried to be too cute by far with his finish though, and failed to get over the ball with a flick that sailed over the bar.

Edouard then returned the favour for Elyounoussi, but a poor first touch in front of goal gave McGregor a sniff, and he was out like a flash to smother the finish.

There would be one final humiliation for Edouard, and one final moment of glory for McGregor, as substitute Leigh Griffiths was adjudged to have been pushed in the area by Aribo. The penalty was awarded, but Edouard’s effort was weak, and McGregor dived to his right to parry clear.

It was a moment that summed up the seasons of both men, and by extension, their clubs.