THE debate about whether Rangers are the same club today as the one that was founded in Flesher’s Haugh in Glasgow way back in 1872 is wearying and will never be satisfactorily resolved.

Followers of the Ibrox club insist their history remains intact despite their financial meltdown in 2012. Supporters of their rivals? Well, they beg to differ. No consensus will ever be reached.

Yet, the argument may be eclipsed for sheer tediousness in the months and years ahead by another infantile squabble; whether Celtic deserved to be crowned Scottish champions in 2020.

The jibes started long before the SPFL formally announced the Ladbrokes Premiership had been curtailed and the Parkhead club had been victorious yesterday.

It is a tainted title. The outcome was rigged by a corrupt governing body. The season should have been declared null and void like it was in the Netherlands when football was suspended due to coronavirus. There will forever be an asterisk next to the 2019/20 season in the record books.

For many, those who view the world through light blue-tinted spectacles especially, it is a diminished achievement and the record-equalling run of nine consecutive league victories doesn’t deserve to be recognised.

But that says more about the pettiness of the football rivalry in Scotland’s largest city than it does about the validity of Celtic’s accomplishment.

Yes, Rangers could still have caught and overtaken the leaders had the competition been played to a conclusion on the pitch. They were 13 points behind, but had a game in hand, two derbies and nine matches in total remaining when the lockdown was introduced. They certainly had a mathematical chance.

It would, though, have taken a dramatic upturn in form and fortunes from Steven Gerrard’s side and a catastrophic collapse by Neil Lennon’s team and neither of those things was ever going to happen.

Rangers’ performances after their richly-deserved 2-1 triumph over Celtic in the East End back in December – a result which moved them to within two points of the defending champions with a game in hand - has been dreadful.

They lost to Hearts and Kilmarnock away and Hamilton at home and were held to draws by Aberdeen and St Johnstone. Sure, they beat Braga home and away in the Europa League. But could they really be trusted to fulfil all their fixtures and not slip up again?

Would, too, Celtic have buckled under the pressure and lost four times in eight outings? It is fair to say that Kristoffer Ajer, Scott Brown, Ryan Christie, Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest, Fraser Forster, Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham have shown they can cope in the past. They had won nine and drawn just one of their 10 league games this year for goodness sake.

The unusual circumstances which have led to them collecting their 110th major piece of silverware shouldn’t be allowed to detract from their latest triumph or from the work carried out by their manager and his backroom staff.

Lennon had more money to spend than Gerrard last summer, but he had, following the departure of vice-captain Mikael Lustig and star player Kieran Tierney, to use it wisely. His rebuilding job was a resounding success. The contributions of Hatem Elhamed, Mohammed Elyounoussi, Forster, Jeremie Frimpong, Christopher Jullien and Greg Taylor were all significant.   

Lennon and his charges are all entitled to celebrate this Scottish title win as heartily as they did every one of the previous eight despite the noise emanating from the conspiracy theorists and their many detractors and should be proud of their efforts in what has been another momentous 10 months.