Mikey Johnston helped Celtic bring down the curtain on an eighth successive Ladbrokes Premiership title-winning season with a double in a 2-1 win over Hearts at Parkhead.
With a view to next week’s William Hill Scottish Cup final between the two clubs at Hampden Park – where a Hoops victory will secure an unprecedented domestic ‘treble treble’ – both sides were much-changed for the final day of the season.
Amid a celebratory trophy-day atmosphere fringe player Johnston fired in the opener with less than two minutes played but that was cancelled out in the 17th minute by Hearts winger Jake Mulraney.
Two unusual but not unexpected line-ups were revealed on the team sheet with the Hoops showing seven changes from last week’s 2-0 defeat at Rangers.
Skipper Scott Brown, Mikael Lustig, Odsonne Edouard, Tom Rogic, Jonny Hayes, Kieran Tierney and James Forrest were all left out, mostly with niggles, with Callum McGregor and Jozo Simunovic on the bench.
Youngster Anthony Ralston and Ewan Henderson and Jeremy Toljan and Nir Bitton were given rare starts.
Craig Levein made nine changes as he gave 16-year-old left-back Aaron Hickey his first start.
Skipper Christophe Berra, Bobby Burns, Steven MacLean and Harry Cochrane were rested with the Jambos boss hoping Peter Haring, Arnaud Djoum and burly striker Uche Ikpeazu are fit for Hampden.
The champions were given a much-appreciated guard of honour by Hearts before the game at the request of the visitors.
Winger Johnston got the home side off to a great start when he worked a one-two with Henderson and slammed the ball past Zdenek Zlamal from eight yards out.
Mulraney screwed a shot wide a minute later at the other end but was much more accurate with his leveller, after Hoops keeper Scott Bain was slack with a pass.
Sean Clare took possession and rolled the ball to the former Inverness player who curled the ball past the back-tracking Bain and into the top corner.
Zlamal made a terrific save from a Johnston drive early in the second half before Dembele flashed a 25-yard drive just wide, drawing huge applause from the Hoops fans before having another effort saved by the Tynecastle keeper.
LATEST SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP NEWS
Dedryck Boyata leaves Celtic to join Hertha Berlin
Ranieri is shock Celtic target with ex-West Ham chief Bilic also on shortlist
Rangers 'shocked' with SFA for 'singling out' Flanagan for retrospective action
Dembele could realise his Celtic dream in final game of the season
Ally McCoist gives Rangers a warning after Old Firm win over Celtic
Neil Lennon fumes as Rangers star only receives a booking for 'elbow' on Brown
Steven Gerrard's Rangers dominate Celtic to claim Old Firm victory
Celtic, captained by Scott Sinclair, piled on the pressure and there was a penalty claim in the 80th minute when defender Kristoffer Ajer’s drive following a long run was blocked by Conor Shaughnessy but referee Craig Thomson was unimpressed.
However, the home fans were impressed when Johnston played a one-two with substitute McGregor, on for Henderson, and drove towards the Jambos goal before firing low past Zlamal and in off the post from the edge of the box for the winner.
Part two of the contest will take place at Hampden next week where the stakes will be much higher.
GAME OFF: Stanley’s game with @BlackpoolFC is off. Referee Rob Lewis has inspected the pitch this morning and said, despite the covers and the hard work from staff and volunteers during the week, it’s unplayable due to the freezing weather overnight. pic.twitter.com/iKLe7RVkFI
Brendan Rodgers (Celtic): “There is always excitement going into the European competitions and this is no different. It is a real good group we are in.
“The dynamics are slightly different in terms of playing Rosenborg, previously it has been knockout and maybe the first legs have been a little bit cagey. But the difficulty of the game is still there.”
Rini Coolen (Rosenborg): “The match against Celtic is completely different from the earlier tie. That was about trying to knock them out of the competition over two legs, while these games are all about picking up points.
“The last times we played them, they played 3-5-2 and then 4-3-3, so we need to be wary of that and adapt to it. But the most important thing is our style of play.
Celtic will be sweating over the fitness of Kristoffer Ajer, who is stricken with a virus, while Josip Simunovic remains sidelined.
The Norwegian champions look set to be without Nicklas Bendtner due to a thigh injury. The ex-Arsenal striker was recently in the headlines for an altercation involving a taxi driver. Samuel Adegbenro is another expected absentee.
Here’s a round-up of all the top Scottish football headlines and transfer-related gossip from Sunday’s newspapers and online…
Celtic are ready to reject a bid from Everton for Kieran Tierney, the left-back, who signed a six-year deal in October. The Toffees are reportedly going to offer £25million for the 21-year-old this week. (Daily Record)
Tottenham have emerged as rivals to Everton in the race for Tierney. (Liverpool Echo)
Brendan Rodgers has spoken to Tierney amid the reported interest in him from the Premier League, telling him to keep his focus. (Scottish Sun)
Former Rangers star Kenny Miller will ask the Ibrox club if he can sign some of their young players on loan following his appointment as Livingston manager. (The Scotsman)
David Gray returned from a six-month injury lay-off to return in Hibernian’s 2-0 friendly defeat of Linlithgow Rose. (The Scotsman)
Latest transfer news
signed and sealed
Bournemouth sign midfielder from Sheffield United
Arsenal to complete third summer signing next week
Liverpool resume Fekir talks, Arsenal to complete signing, Spurs want Celtic ace
Ruben Neves reportedly commits future to Wolves with bumper new contract
Man United 'make offer' for Nabil Fekir after Liverpool deal collapse
Wolves sign duo on permanent contracts
Petr Cech promises he will do everything to retain no.1 jersey at Arsenal
Chelsea transfer news: Blues want wonderkid to replace outgoing star
Chelsea transfer news: Deal for Croatian international midfielder to be completed
Liverpool transfer news: £53million target could now be signed on the cheap
Manchester United transfer news: Jorge Mendes to help rivals sign top target
Norwich sign former Celtic striker Teemu Pukki on free transfer
Jozo Simunovic will not leave Celtic this summer, despite interest in the centre-half from French side Lille. (Daily Record)
Steven Gerrard has been backed to lead Rangers into the Europa League group stages by Ibrox legend Barry Ferguson. (Scottish Sun)
Willo Flood was a Dunfermline player for just nine days before deciding to pack his bags and head for the sunshine. Apparently, everybody loves the sunshine.
The 33-year-old got an offer from Bali and couldn’t turn it down.
“Before joining our club, Willo had highlighted that it had always been his ambition to continue his playing career abroad, and had been seeking such a move over the last couple of seasons. However, no opportunity had arisen, until last weekend. He has now received an attractive offer from Bali United,” a statement on the club’s website read.
Flood added: “I would like to thank Allan and the club for their understanding in this matter, as I fully appreciate it leaves them in a very difficult and embarrassing position. This opportunity is just too good for me and my family to turn down. I have only been in training for a week, but I have really enjoyed my short time at East End Park and genuinely wish the club every success this season.”
Johnston, his manager, said: “We are obviously disappointed to lose a player of Willo’s experience, but he had a clause in his contract for a very short window to allow him to move abroad. There is simply no point retaining an unhappy player at our club. However, we have retained the first option on Willo, should he return to Scotland, as he has already proved to be a great professional.”
Willo Flood looks like he’d get sunburnt opening his fridge. What’s he doing going to Bali?
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.