CELTIC will travel to Ibrox on Sunday in the knowledge that a win will seal the league title in all but name. The matter, many would reasonably argue, has in fact been settled already.

Lubomir Moravcik knows such a situation well. Back in April 2001, he was part of the Celtic side that went across the city as champions and returned with their superiority underlined after a resounding 3-0 victory. Henrik Larsson got his 50th goal of the season that day, and Moravcik helped himself to a double.

So, he is well-placed to judge the mindset of the current crop of Celtic players as they gear up to take on a Rangers side this weekend who they have left in the dust since the winter break. He has no worries about complacency creeping into the Celtic squad, certainly not under his former teammate Neil Lennon’s watch.

A game against Rangers, no matter the league positions of either side, is still a game against Rangers, after all. For Moravcik, if Celtic lose at Ibrox, the consolation of the healthy lead they will still enjoy in the Premiership table will be cold comfort to the club’s supporters.

The class of ’01 adopted the mindset that they would not let those fans down, regardless of the fact the league was already wrapped up, and he is certain that will be the thought uppermost in the minds of Celtic’s current crop when they take to the field on Sunday.

“The Old Firm game is the Old Firm game,” Moravcik said. “It doesn’t matter so much that Celtic are 10 points ahead, or if you are going into the game as champions as we were, these games are always the most important games of the season.

“That is simply because it is the most important game for the fans, and that is who you are playing for.

“The Celtic players will be looking forward to the game because it is a game against Rangers, and it matters just as much whether you are at the top of the league or whether you are in second place.

“It doesn’t matter, the most important thing is to beat Rangers, because it is for the fans. If it is important to them, it is important to the players.

“It is a very important game no matter when you play it. All the time.”

Moravcik revelled in rubbing Rangers noses in Celtic’s success that afternoon almost 19 years ago as much as any supporter, but it was another double against Rangers that gave the first hint of what was to come from the Slovakian magician.

Arriving in Scotland as an unheralded veteran – derided even, in some quarters – his introduction to the Old Firm fixture in a thumping 5-1 win in November 1998 was spectacular, and made an instant mockery of those who doubted his pedigree.

“The most important game for me was the first match against Rangers when I scored two goals,” he said.

“That game gave me a lot of freedom in my mind, and then the 3-0 game was more of a special bonus for me.

“The first Old Firm game was really important for me. Even though I was 33, I was a bit nervous beforehand. I knew there was a lot of responsibility on our shoulders, and it was only natural to be a bit nervous.

“When I played my first game against Dundee, it was a normal game and I wasn’t really nervous, but the Rangers game was entirely different.

“We were up against a really strong Rangers team at that time, with really good players and a good manager in Dick Advocaat, so it wasn’t an easy game going into it.

“The other game at Ibrox after we won the league, that was easier, but it was still an important game for everybody.

“It was much easier for me though and I took a lot more pleasure from it. You could relax a little bit, even though you were always making sure you had the focus to win the game. You have to win, no matter the circumstances, that is vital.”

Having lapped up the adulation of 10,000 Celtic supporters in Ibrox’s Broomloan Stand behind the goal where he scored twice all those years ago, Moravcik is naturally a little saddened that the Celtic players will only be able to enjoy a potential victory on Sunday with a fraction of that amount of fans.

He feels that the reduced away allocation takes a little of the sheen off of the fixture, but as is a constant theme when speaking to Moravcik, he says it is paramount the Celtic players don’t lose sight of just who they are representing as a result.

“It’s a bit if a shame,” he said. “If you only have 800 rather than 10,000 Celtic supporters there then it takes a bit away from the atmosphere.

“The fans will still be watching it in the bars and in their homes, and for the players, it shouldn’t change their motivation at all.

“They still have to be very motivated and concentrated to play well because there are so many people watching and it means so much to so many Celtic supporters, not just the ones who are in the stadium.”