Saturday’s Old Firm defeat left Celtic a cavernous 19 points behind Rangers, and even if the Hoops win their two games in hand, Neil Lennon must know the dream of 10 Scottish Premierships in a row has evaporated.
The match itself was, as always, a lively and at times feisty affair, and was fairly equal for the most part.
If anything, Celtic were more on top at Ibrox than their hosts, with Steven Gerrard staring down the barrel at a potential fifth Old Firm defeat since taking charge north of the border.
The eventual 1-0 win for Rangers hinged on the sending off of Nir Bitton for a ridiculous rugby tackle on Alfredo Morelos.
With a one-man advantage, the tables were turned, though it took an own goal from Callum McGregor to win it.
To that end, Lennon was at pains not to criticise his players, however, he didn’t hold back in his condemnation of the official.
“I’m bitterly disappointed. We were the better team and I think the referee has made the wrong decision and it’s changed the course of the game,” he said to Sky Sports after the game, cited by the Daily Star.
“It’s not a sending off, it’s a foul. We’ve got [Kristoffer] Ajer coming around on the cover, Morelos is in a wide position.
“It’s not a clear and obvious goalscoring opportunity. He might get a shot off but he’s certainly not clean through on goal and I think he’s too quick to get the red card out.
“I’m really proud of the performance. I thought we were outstanding up until the red card which changed the course of the game.
“We were absolutely in total control, dominating the game, dominating the play, dominating the chances and once again we’ve been done by a pretty poor refereeing decision. I didn’t think he was great all day.”
The result won’t help Lennon of course.
His grip on the job was slipping before this game, and there are sure to be more protests in light of how far ahead Rangers are now.