Jordan White was the Ross County hero as they inflicted a second defeat on Celtic this season and put Rangers on course for a Parkhead title party.
White headed home unchallenged from a 71st-minute free-kick to lift County off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership above Hamilton and Kilmarnock and leave Celtic 18 points adrift of Rangers with eight games remaining. The champions’ 1-0 loss means Rangers could officially clinch the title at Celtic Park on 21 March if both sides win their two games beforehand.
The title already appeared destined for Ibrox before Celtic lined up in Dingwall. But a fresh setback – which came after an astonishing miss from Ryan Christie – piled more misery on Hoops fans after a five-match winning run gave them some respite from a season that imploded long ago.
Callum McGregor drove forward and played Odsonne Edouard in behind, and the Frenchman unselfishly set up Christie but he cleared the Jail End stand with his effort from seven yards.
The hosts got the breakthrough after Jonjoe Kenny fouled Harry Paton on the left wing. The substitute took the free-kick himself and White headed into the top corner at the far post.
It was a second goal in three games for White since he ended a barren six months at Motherwell.
Christie fired just over the top corner before immediately being replaced by Mohamed Elyounoussi in the 83rd minute and the substitute came closest to an equaliser as Celtic piled forward, with Laidlaw stretching to push his header wide.
Earlier, Rangers maintained their perfect Ibrox record by hammering Dundee United 4-1.
The runaway league leaders have now won all 15 of their league fixtures at home but despite the final scoreline they were tested by Micky Mellon’s side, who forced Allan McGregor into a trio of key saves inside the first half an hour.
The Rangers goalkeeper twice denied Louis Appere and also saved from Lawrence Shankland as the hosts made a sluggish start. Rangers made the most of those early let-offs, as Ianis Hagi and Ryan Kent transformed the game with a pair of quickfire goals.
Hagi was on hand to deflect Joe Aribo’s strike past Benjamin Siegrist in the 35th minute, before Kent connected with Borna Barisic’s cross three minutes later, sending his shot squirming under the visiting keeper.
It was not all plain sailing for Rangers after going 2-0 up, with Ryan Jack forced off through injury before half-time, potentially joining James Tavernier and Kemar Roofe for a spell on the sidelines. Barisic also missed a second-half penalty, but by that time Rangers were four goals up.
Three minutes after the restart, Aribo moved into the box and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the corner, before Morelos forced a fourth in the 64th minute. The Colombian chased down Ryan Edwards’s back pass and Siegrist’s clearance cannoned off his body and bounced into the empty net.
Marc McNulty grabbed a late consolation from the edge of the area after Siegrist had saved Barisic’s spot kick, but Rangers had long since wrapped up victory.