Celtic Park waves farewell to two great servants 

After enthralling the Parkhead stands for the best part of a decade with his spellbinding play, it was perhaps fitting that Celtic’s Wizard of Oz exited the scene in a puff of smoke. 

Pyrotechnics and smoke bombs filled the air before, during and after the 6-0 win over Motherwell but with nothing riding on the match for either side, the game had the feel of both a title party and a farewell to two long-serving players. 

Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic each received standing ovations in the sixth and 18th minutes respectively and the latter’s every touch was greeted with a warm round of applause. When the Australia internationalist was subbed off with half an hour to go the roof just about came flying off; the only other roar that came close was the one to acclaim Bitton as he came on for the last five minutes for his final Parkhead bow. 

Loanees make their final case 

If this was Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers’ final audition for a permanent move to Celtic Park, it is one that they both seized with gusto. 

Carter-Vickers, on loan from Spurs, was his usual dependable self in the heart of the defence and had the cigars and slippers out seemingly from the get-go. Benfica loanee Jota, meanwhile, was his usual effusive self and even marked the occasion with a well-taken goal. 

The pair wouldn’t come cheap – Celtic would be looking at an eight-figure outlay to get them both, and that’s before wages are even taken into account – but both have demonstrated over the course of the season that they would be shrewd additions. They would cost a few quid but with group stage football in next season’s Champions League already confirmed, the club certainly have the cash to spare. 

Celtic finally stop 

Fans have fallen in love with the relentless nature of Ange Postecoglou’s team and the Greek-Australian’s now-famous mantra – ‘we never stop’ – has been evident throughout the manager’s debut campaign in Scotland. 

As the curtain fell on Celtic’s 60th game of the season, so too did it signal an end to the campaign for the champions and a well-earned rest now beckons. The high-intensity style introduced by Postecoglou demands a lot from his squad – and when the new season begins, there are likely to be a few new faces. 

With Bitton and Rogic already confirmed to depart, Christopher Jullien making noises about leaving and a host of high-earning fringe players that Celtic will be looking to move on (Vasilis Barkas, Boli Bolingoli and Albian Ajeti come to mind), it is set to be another busy summer in Glasgow’s east end.