Goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Kris Commons and Gary Hooper gave the home side a convincing win against their administration-hit rivals, whose boss’s thoughts turned to his club’s next off-field battle today.
The 12 Scottish Premier League clubs will meet at Hampden to vote on a proposal that would involve increasing points deductions for teams in administration from 10 points to at least 15.
Any club applying for re-entry as a ‘newco’ — which could happen if Gers are liquidated — would also be deducted 10 points for two seasons and lose 75% of their income from the league for three years.
Beleaguered McCoist, who has appealed last week’s decision by the Scottish Football Association to hit Rangers with a 12-month ban on signing players as well as fines totalling £160,000 for breaching regulations, reiterated his belief that any decisions arrived at today should be taken with the Ibrox club’s place in Scottish football in mind.
He said: “There has to be an outcome and quite possibly the outcome might hurt Rangers but it could possibly hurt Scottish football just as much, if not more, and that is something that will obviously concern everybody.”
However, asked if he agreed with McCoist that Rangers and Celtic should, in general, be treated differently, Hoops boss Lennon said: “No. Not if you break the rules, not if you break the laws of football.
“There is an issue of sporting integrity and moral sporting integrity as well.
“I understand Ally’s point to a certain extent but if you have flouted the laws in the capacity that they have then the powers-that-be will punish you accordingly.
“If you break the rules then you should expect to be punished.”
Asked if he would have any qualms about starting next season 10 points ahead of Rangers, who were deducted that amount in February when they entered administration, the former Celtic skipper said: “You are talking hypothetically here.
“It is not my place to talk about Rangers, it’s not my place to talk about the outcome of whatever sanctions they are going to get. I will leave that to other people and cross that bridge when I come to it.”
McCoist is looking for the SPL clubs to take an holistic approach when they come to cast their votes today.
“I don’t think for a minute they should go lightly on us, I really don’t,” said the former Rangers striker. “I think we should receive a justified punishment, if they feel we should be punished then I hope it will be a fair one.
“But I said at the press conference on Friday, it’s not a fair or ideal world but I believe Rangers and Celtic are different.
“Now I can understand supporters up and down the country who don’t support the Old Firm will say that is rubbish. In an ideal world, it is a totally wrong statement but it’s not an ideal world and I believe it is a correct statement.
“They might make a decision that we are not happy with again and we might disagree with that but we will take it on the chin.”
Celtic stretched their lead to 21 points, which would have made them champions even if Rangers had not been deducted 10 points.
Lennon hit back at those who claimed their title win was “devalued and tainted”.
He said: “The only way it is tainted is if you have won it and you cheated to win it and we have done nothing wrong.”
CELTIC: Forster, Matthews, Loovens, Mulgrew, Izaguirre, Commons (McCourt 85), Brown, Wanyama, Ledley, Samaras (Stokes 81), Hooper (Watt 89).
RANGERS: McGregor, Bartley, Goian, Bocanegra, Whittaker, McCabe (Ness 57), Edu, Wallace, Aluko, Little (Kerkar 72), McCulloch.
Referee: Calum Murray (Scotland).