This win was as emphatic as anything during the glorious run of title wins between 1988 and 1997 even if the scoreline did not reflect it.

And if this was a marker for next season then the Rangers fans have plenty to look forward to.

Rangers had better players in every position, Kris Boyd scored his first goal against Celtic, Charlie Adam netted with another terrific free kick and Champions League football was secured for next season.

All in all it could not really have been much better for Walter Smith who claimed his second successive victory since returning to this arena.

With his departure from Rangers drawing ever closer, it was a big disappointment for the fans and the player himself that tonsillitis robbed Dado Prso the chance of featuring in this fixture for the last time.

The Croatian warrior would have loved to have been involved in one final Old Firm battle and clearly his abilities would have been welcome to Walter Smith.

That said, Rangers started the contest in such a fashion that they did not really miss him.

Walter Smith’s men were in control from an early stage, dominating possession and pinning Celtic in their own half.

Barry Ferguson, Brahim Hemdani and Kevin Thomson had control in the crucial midfield area while Alan Hutton’s tireless running on the right side was a constant source of concern to the Parkhead side.

It was Hutton’s desire and speed which led to the opening goal in 34 minutes and Rangers thoroughly deserved it.

He ran fully 50 yards before delivering a cross from which Stephen McManus managed to clear but only as far as Ferguson who quickly touched the ball to Nacho Novo.

The little Spaniard intelligently looked up to see Kris Boyd peeling away in the left side of the Celtic box and immediately clipped a right foot pass into his path.

Boyd, who had never scored against Celtic before, took it on the volley with his left foot and the ball squirmed under Artur Boruc and into the net.

It was a fantastic moment for the striker and he was mobbed by the entire team on the touchline as he raced to celebrate with assistant boss Ally McCoist.

Even Allan McGregor got involved as the Rangers fans roared their approval.

The goal had been coming. Three minutes earlier Charlie Adam stubbed a shot into the ground after Novo had cut it back to him

And three minutes before that Thomson had an opportunity on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked by McManus.

Boyd was narrowly caught offside in 32 minutes when Adam tried to play him in but he was not to be denied two minutes later.

The only slight complaint Smith and his management might have had was that the players did not finish the first half more emphatically ahead.

Novo might have given them a second goal two minutes before the break but he shot just over the top from 22 yards after being teed up by Thomson.

That fear was underlined seven minutes into the second half when Celtic missed a glorious chance to level the game.

Kenny Miller, on as a half-time for the ineffectual Gravesen, cleverly let Aiden McGeady’s ball into the box run past him for Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

The Dutchman laid the ball off to Shunsuke Nakamura who seemed certain to score but mis-hit weakly and Ugo Ehiogu bundled the ball away for a corner.

It was a pivotal moment because within three minutes Celtic were staring at a two-goal deficit.

Nakamura has been rightly revered for his ability from free kicks but Charlie Adam is fast becoming the king of Scotland in this regard.

Fresh from scoring two last week at Easter Road, Adam found the net again in fabulous style completely fooling the Celtic defensive wall.

Paul Hartley had fouled Ferguson in a central area 25 yards out and as the Celtic players jumped to defend against Adam he drilled a low shot under their boots and into the right corner.

Boruc booted the post in sheer frustration and the Rangers fans, basking in sunshine, roared with joy.

The pattern of the match had remained the same. Indeed Rangers were simply streets ahead.

Filip Sebo was introduced in 64 minutes for Boyd and he nearly scored within three minutes.

He burst clear on the left, eased past McManus and Boruc had to make a terrific blocking save to deny him.

Celtic barely survived from the resulting corner. Adam’s kick was met firmly on the volley by Hutton but Lee Naylor blocked his effort on the line.

The fans craved another goal and they should have got their wish.

Chris Burke, on for Thomson, caught Celtic on the break, racing fully 70 yards, but tried to score himself instead of picking a pass and his shot was blocked.

That was in 81 minutes and two minutes later Celtic were caught again as Sebo charged forward but shot over the top when it seemed he would find the top corner.

It would have been an added bonus for the fans who lapped it all up.

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