Dundee United tried so hard to evoke the memory of Jim McLean with this performance but ended up losing to Celtic.
It was not something to shout about but it was rather fitting for this occasion that the late, great McLean was the last Tangerines manager to win a match at Celtic Park.
Not since Boxing Day of 1992, when Duncan Ferguson scored the only goal of the game, had United left Parkhead with a victory over the Hoops.
It would have been a wonderful time to have ended that drought, coming just days after his passing.
It wasn’t to be, though, despite some decent play from the visitors.
First-half goals from Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull had the home team in control at the break.
Hoops frontman Odsonne Edouard made it 3-0 on 75 minutes as United battled away and chased every ball to no avail.
Soro and Turnbull give the champions control
United had made four changes to the side that drew with Motherwell last weekend.
In came Ryan Edwards, Ian Harkes, Peter Pawlett and Nicky Clark, who grabbed the late leveller against the Steelmen. Out went Calum Butcher, Paul McMullan, Jeando Fuchs and Luke Bolton.
Before kick-off, there was a minute’s silence held in memory of McLean and a there was a wonderful tribute from the Celtic stadium announcer.
It was just a shame that there were not 60,000 fans inside the ground to pay their own respects to one of Scottish football’s finest managers.
When the play got going, United had a half-chance after just two minutes when Lawrence Shankland headed goalwards at the back post but there were no takers.
Two minutes later, home frontman Edouard got the break of the ball outside the United box, sidestepped a challenge but then shot into the arms of Tangerines’ keeper Benjamin Siegrist.
Turnbull fired wide for the hosts on 14 minutes and his attempt did not trouble Siegrist.
On 23 minutes, though, United found themselves a goal behind.
Siegrist was beaten by what looked like a wicked swerve of the ball in the air after Soro shot from 25 yards.
The big Swiss goalie, having enjoyed such an excellent season, will still have been disappointed to have conceded from that distance.
United tried to battle back and, on 35 minutes, defender Ryan Edwards sent a header just wide following a corner from the right.
Siegrist then saved from Leigh Griffiths before the Tannadice men had a big shout for a handball after Shankland lobbed the ball into the Celtic box. United boss Micky Mellon was incensed and had a long chat with referee Willie Collum on the sidelines.
With 40 minutes on the clock, it was the Hoops who scored next.
Turnbull got yet another goal for his club when he beat Siegrist with a low drive that hit off the keeper’s bottom right-hand post and nestled into the net.
Two goals down, the Tangerines had the proverbial mountain to climb now.
United battle back but Edouard makes it three
Nevertheless, just two minutes after the restart, they had a glorious chance to get back into it.
Shankland sent striker partner Marc McNulty away and, just slightly to the right of goal, McNulty clipped his shot over the onrushing Barkas.
The ball was going in until Christopher Jullien scooped it away at the back post. Those heroics cost the Celtic man as he was injured in the process and had to taken away on a stretcher and replaced by Nir Bitton.
On 63 minutes, the Tannadice men had another go but this time Clark’s shot missed the target by a couple of yards.
Siegrist did well to keep out Edouard but he got the better of him on 75 minutes when the Hoops grabbed their third.
Griffiths was the creator, playing Edouard in with a ball over the top before the striker lobbed Siegrist from the edge of the box.
United defender Connolly then missed with a header as Micky Mellon’s men looked for a consolation goal.
Tangerines’ sub McMullan looked to have a run in at goal in the last minute of regulation time but he couldn’t get the ball under control and the opportunity slipped away.
It was a tough afternoon for United after a difficult week.
However, their season will not depend upon results against Celtic and they should get their heads right up for Saturday’s trip to Aberdeen.
Celtic: Barkas, Frimpong, Jullien (Bitton, 51), Ajer, Laxalt, Soro (Brown, 80), Christie, Turnbull (Rogic, 77), McGregor, Griffiths (Ajeti, 77), Edouard (Elyounoussi, 80).
Subs not used: Hazard (GK), Taylor, Duffy and Johnston.
Dundee United: Siegrist, Smith (Bolton, 83) Connolly, Edwards, Reynolds, Robson (Sporle, 83), Clark, Harkes, Pawlett (Powers, 74), McNulty, Shankland (McMullan, 68).
Subs not used: Deniz (GK), Fotheringham, Appere, Neilson, Hutchinson.
Referee: Willie Collum.