Celtic’s title celebrations are on hold after Fashion Sakala’s second-half strike earned Rangers a draw in the final Old Firm game of the season.
Celtic knew victory would all but guarantee the title and Jota volleyed in the opener to send them on their way.
Gers striker Sakala levelled in the 68th minute with a powerful drive, but the draw keeps Rangers six points behind the Hoops with only three fixtures remaining.
Celtic’s superior goal difference of 19 means it would take a notable and unlikely turnaround to keep the title at Ibrox.
Celtic had lost to their bitter rivals after extra-time in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park two weeks ago and revenge was also in the air.
There were only around 700 Rangers fans allowed inside the 60,000-capacity stadium, drowned out by an expectant home support who watched the Ibrox side start the better of the two teams.
In the 12th minute, Ryan Kent volleyed a cross from captain James Tavernier past the post from 12 yards when he should have at least tested Hoops keeper Joe Hart, who then had to deal with a decent long-distance drive from the Gers attacker.
The home crowd vented frustration at their side but that soon turned to cheers when Jota, on loan from Benfica, got clear from Gers defender Borna Barisic and knocked in a cross from Maeda.
Celtic went on the front foot as the Light Blues tried to compose themselves.
In the 31st minute, after Arfield had conceded possession, Jota headed a cross from midfielder Reo Hatate over the bar.
Then Furuhashi knocked a shot over the bar from a Maeda cross before Maeda headed a cross from Matt O’Riley past the post.
Celtic: Ralston 6, Carter-Vickers 7, Starfelt 8, Taylor 6, McGregor 7, Hatate 6, O’Riley 6, Jota 7, Maeda 6, Kyogo 6
Subs: Rogic 5, Bitton 5, Giakoumakis 4, Abada n/a
Rangers: McGregor 6, Tavernier 7, Goldson 6, Bassey 6, Barisic 5, Lundstram 6, Davis 6, Arfield 6. Aribo 6, Kent 7, Sakala 7
Subs: Wright 5, Jack 6, Diallo n/a
The Govan men worked their way back into the game but Celtic should have added to their lead, unmarked Furuhashi hooking a shot over the bar from a cross from Maeda, who then headed past the post with only McGregor to beat.
Rangers started the second half with promise and defender Connor Goldson blasted over the bar following a Tavernier corner and then Maeda hastily flashed a shot over the bar at the other end.
Postecoglou made a triple substitution on the hour mark with Giakoumakis, Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton on for Furuhashi, Hatate and O’Riley.
For Rangers, Davis was replaced by Jack with Wright on for Aribo and, four minutes later, the visitors were level when Sakala combined with Kent before rifling a low drive past Hart at his near post.
The Celtic keeper perhaps should have done better but he then tipped a powerful drive from the Zambia international over the bar with Sakala then heading the subsequent corner over.
The game sped from end to end with ferocious pace.
In the 74th minute a Celtic penalty claim when Rogic’s cross struck John Lundstram was ignored by referee John Beaton before Liel Abada replaced Maeda.
It was a frantic finish with Rangers going all out for the win they needed to keep their title hopes alive.
Hart then made a terrific save from Arfield before gathering Jack’s shot from the rebound and then Sakala struck the post after being put through by Arfield.
The Gers midfielder was replaced by Amad Diallo who was immediately booked for bringing down Abada as he broke on a counter, the Israeli winger then putting the ball in the net with the flag up for offside well beforehand.
What the managers said
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is focusing on their title push:
“It was a cracking game. It was pretty tight and pretty tense. Ultimately, it was a good contest between two good teams.
“At the end they’ve got nothing to lose so they throw everything at it.
“Three games to go, we’re in a good spot. Hopefully, a good performance against Hearts can push us a little closer.”
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst accepts their title hopes have faded:
“We needed to win to close the gap to three points, we didn’t, we drew, but I think we did everything. I couldn’t ask for more, especially in the second half.
“We pushed really hard to come back in the game and had good opportunities to win the game, but in the end we are two points short.
“We had a good performance today, physically we looked strong as well, now we have three days to prepare for Leipzig. We have to show the same intentions and character we showed today on Thursday.”
Celtic are at home to Hearts on May 7 live on Sky Sports Football.
Rangers host RB Leipzig in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final before a home game against Dundee United on May 8.