Perhaps the only thing more inevitable than Celtic winning the Scottish title this season is an outcry about VAR erupting when they play Rangers these days.

The aftermath of the cinch Premiership match at Parkhead on Saturday – a fiercely-contested, engrossing, incident-packed, exhilarating encounter which was a fantastic advertisement for the game in this country – was as predictable as it was tedious.

The two goals which Kyogo Furuhashi scored in a 3-2 victory that sent the defending champions 12 points clear at the top of the league table with seven games remaining certainly received a fair mention once the final whistle had blown.

As, for that matter, did the double that James Tavernier netted to take his tally for the Ibrox club to 100.

Yet, the post-match reaction very much centred around the Alfredo Morelos effort that referee Kevin Clancy and his VAR colleague Nick Walsh disallowed, the Jota “handball” in the build up to the second Furuhashi strike that went unpunished and the Alistair Johnston tug on Morelos in his penalty box that was also ignored.

Michael Beale, the Rangers manager, was not slow to express his displeasure at the handling of all three incidents by the match officials when he spoke following a defeat that ended what slim hopes the Govan outfit had of catching and overtaking their city rivals. 

Internet chatrooms, social media websites and radio phone-ins have been inundated with complaints and conspiracy theories ever since.

Your correspondent gave up trying to understand what constitutes a foul, a penalty or a red card in the modern game a long time ago. But it was not hard to appreciate why Beale felt aggrieved at a couple of the rulings.

Would, though, Rangers really have recorded the victory which they so desperately required if all of the big calls had gone their way during the course of the 90 minutes?

The fact that Celtic once again dominated an Old Firm derby – they enjoyed the majority of the possession, created a greater number of scoring opportunities and got more shots on target – despite not producing their top form has been conveniently overlooked by the paranoid and perpetually offended.

Not having any of their fans in the 59,621-strong crowd did nothing to help the visitors’ cause. It is to be hoped the hierarchies at the age-old adversaries can agree a return to some sort of normality next season for the sake of the world-famous fixture.

That said, Tavernier and his team mates were, despite the closeness of the scoreline and despite the disputed decisions, very much second best against opponents who were missing Liel Abada and Reo Hatate, two of their best performers this term, due to injury.

Allan McGregor may have gifted Celtic winger Jota the all-important third goal when he failed to get out to a misplaced John Souttar passback quickly enough. But the veteran goalkeeper did well to deny the same player twice as well as his namesake Callum in the first-half. His opposite number Joe Hart was far quieter.

Nicolas Raskin impressed greatly in the middle of the park. Souttar did well, his fatal lapse in concentration aside, in difficult circumstances after being drafted in for the injured Connor Goldson. And skipper Tavernier led by example. They were far less passive than they had been in the Viaplay Cup final defeat at Hampden back in February.     

There were once again signs that Rangers are improving. Still, they were nowhere near good enough in attack or defence. They lacked a cutting edge in the final third and made far too many sloppy errors at the back. Their substitutes, too, failed to make a significant impact.

Beale’s contention that Jota had handled after his centre half Ben Davies had tried, and failed, to head the ball to safety before the third goal of the afternoon was, quite frankly, ridiculous. But he was spot on when he admitted that he needs to strengthen further in the summer. Substantial investment is required if they are to challenge for silverware next term.

Celtic, who can eclipse the record points total of 106 that was set by Brendan Rodgers’ all-conquering team back in 2017 if they win all their remaining games, are currently superior and stronger in every department than their nearest challengers.

Postecoglou was able to remove Aaron Mooy, who looked distinctly out-of-sorts after nearly a month on the sidelines, and put on Tomoki Iwata early on in the second-half without it affecting his side’s overall display.

Hyeon-gyu Oh, Sead Haksabanovic, David Turnbull and Alexandro Bernabei replaced Jota, Matt O’Riley, Jota and Furuhashi respectively and ensured that the hosts maintained their relentless intensity until the death.

Even if certain key men depart this summer – and developing raw talent and then selling them on at a profit has been their business model for some time – they will be well placed to maintain their domestic dominance.

The impression that Johnston has made since replacing Josip Juranovic at right back in January has underlined how good their recruitment is these days. The Canadian internationalist was immense at the weekend and was a deserved recipient of the Man of the Match award.          `

Sky Sports reported on Saturday night that Rangers will write to the SFA asking for an explanation about why Morelos’s goal was not allowed to stand. There is no doubt that contact on Johnston was minimal and that the defender went down easily. But he definitely had two hands placed his back. Clancy, then, could hardly book him for diving. 

If you were of a cynical nature, you might suspect that the vocal gripes about a referee’s performance which are often aired by managers and players in the wake of bad result are designed to deflect attention away from their own shortcomings.

Rangers should redouble their efforts and focus on halting Celtic’s bid to land a fifth treble in seven years with a victory in the Scottish Cup semi-final at the end of the month instead of bemoaning how hard done by they were.

However, it will take more, much more, than one cup win to shift the balance of power in Scottish football on the evidence of Saturday’s events.