NEIL LENNON insists he doesn't care if he is voted Manager of the Year, by his peers, journalists or anyone else.
The title which does matter to the Hoops boss is that he is manager of the SPL champions.
His next targets are to get the six points required to better last season's total of 92, score another eight goals to shoot past the 85 they got last time and avoid conceding more than one more goal to ensure they finish with a hat-trick of improvements on his debut campaign.
The 3-0 victory over Rangers kept Celtic bang on track for all three figures, while also blasting the Parkhead side 21 points clear and nailing once and for all the myth this is in any way a tainted title.
It has been won on merit, has gone to the best team by some distance, and, on the evidence of the final Old Firm game of one of the most turbulent seasons, is a fitting reward for the team Lennon has produced.
The goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Kris Commons – his first of the season – and Gary Hooper exposed the fragility of this Rangers side and underlined the gulf which is opening between the two, a gap which seems certain to become even wider as the Ibrox side battle to survive let alone compete.
The two sets of fans at Parkhead acknowledged it is likely to be the end of an era by verging on showing a sense of humour, if not respect, towards one another.
The 'You Will Never Walk Alone' majority and the 'We Will Never Walk Away' minority sang as though it was a parting of the ways rather than an end-of-season party, and who knows when they will again stand at opposite ends of the same stadium?
Most of the fight and determination which denied Celtic the chance to win the title at Ibrox a month earlier had been sapped from Rangers before they arrived at Parkhead, and Celtic took full advantage with what Lennon called "as emphatic an Old Firm win as I've seen for a Celtic team for quite a while".
From his vantage point in the stand, Lennon could sense immediately his players were not going to sign off their series of games against Rangers with anything less than a victory, and were not perturbed by the manner in which their visitors set about testing their 3-5-2 system which was trialled for the first time at Motherwell a week earlier.
The manager was sure his team was not prepared to consider this a dead rubber, and explained: "It was significant for the players.
"They were playing for pride more than anything else, and sometimes that's worth more than medals or trophies.
"They put a marker down, proved they are worthy champions, and played with a great swagger about them."
The catalyst for Celtic taking control of the match was a crunching tackle from Adam Matthews on Lee Wallace, from which a corner was won and the opportunity to score the opening goal delivered.
"I told Adam he set the tone for the team with his tackle," said Lennon. "Then Scott Brown just rampaged through midfield. He and Joe Ledley were magnificent, and it gave us a foothold in the game.
"Emilio Izaguirre was also back to his best, and, looking at him in that position, it maybe suits him a little bit better even than left back."
Certainly, the deployment of Matthews and Izzy as wing-backs adds a more swashbuckling element to the side, and atones for the absence of James Forrest's direct running.
With Kris Commons proving so difficult to pick up as he floats between midfield and attack, there is an unpredictability about Celtic's offensive play which causes problems for the opposition. Lennon, though, considers it a work in progress and said: "The formation is not ideal, and there are flaws in it, like there are in every system.
"You look at Mulgrew left side and Victor Wanyama right side of the back three. If they get dragged out into wider areas, they can cope with it.
"Then you can get your wing backs tucking back in, or Brown just coming back to help the central defender.
"We looked at a couple of systems, but felt 3-5-2 was the best one and it suited them. Thankfully, it paid off. It's not a tactical masterstroke. For me, it's just football common sense."
Lennon has one eye on the future as he uses the remaining games to experiment with players and systems, and he is confirming he is real student of the game.
"Udinese played with this system against us, but we felt that, when we went to a diamond, it caused them a lot of problems," he added.
"So, we do have flexibility in and, if it had not worked, we could have gone to a different formation with the players we have."
The margin and manner of victory over Rangers proved it was the way to go, and the bonus was the return to top form of Izaguirre and Commons.
Lennon said: "If you look at Emilio and Kris, injury has really curtailed them this season.
"We're just starting to see the best of Emilio now. It took him a long time to recover from what was a very complicated injury. He does like to get forward, and his starting position at times from left-back is too high.
"I thought he was fantastic yesterday, and I was really pleased for him. He has worked very, very hard, and he deserves that performance.
"So does Kris, who I thought was exceptional, too."
MAN BY MAN
FORSTER Steady The goalkeeper made fine saves from Andy Little and Sone Aluko in either half. That apart, he had precious little to do.
MATTHEWS Tireless The right-back enjoyed another bright display against Rangers at Celtic Park. Tormented Lee Wallace down his flank.
LOOVENS Solid Performed his defensive duties reliably. Effectively nullified the threat posed by lone Rangers frontman Lee McCulloch and others.
MULGREW Reliable Did his hopes of landing this season's Player of the Year awards no harm whatsoever. Opened the scoring with a brilliant diving header.
IZAGUIRRE Brilliant The little Honduran, out injured for most of the season, was back to his brilliant best. Immense in attack, decent at the back.
BROWN Awesome Worked tirelessly and read the game intelligently. Lucky not to be sent off late on, though, for a rash challenge on Salim Kerkar.
WANYAMA Immense A powerful presence in central midfield. Forced good blocks from Allan McGregor with goal-bound shots in first half and second half.
LEDLEY Solid The Welshman combined nicely with Wanyama. Unlucky not to score. His left-foot volley was destined for the top corner until McGregor intervened.
COMMONS Outstanding Set up his side's opening goal with a penetrating corner. Displayed great composure to net the second himself. Much more like it from the Scotland man.
SAMARAS Busy Covered every blade of grass on the hallowed Parkhead turf. Teed up Gary Hooper for the third goal with a perfectly weighted through ball.
HOOPER Great touches The English striker showed some sublime skills before setting up Commons for his goal and rifled home his goal powerfully.
STOKES Quiet Overlooked for another Old Firm game. Was unable to make any impression on proceedings after replacing Samaras with 10 minutes left.
McCOURT No impact Took over from Commons late on. Hardly involved.
WATT No time Made his Old Firm debut when he replaced Hooper at the death. Will surely be the first of many for the talented striker.