CELTIC TURN HOPES AROUND MOVES IN TITLE DEFINING VICTORY OVER RANGERS.
Celtic handed Rangers their first defeat at Ibrox Stadium in almost two years, as the ‘Celts’ grabbed a narrow 2-1 victory in the 428th Old Firm derby, and extended their lead over their eternal rivals to six points with just six gameweeks to go in the Scottish Premiership.
With the closest Scottish Premiership title race in recent memory nearing its latter stages, one couldn’t expect anything less than a blistering start between the Glasgow heavyweights. It was Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men who struck the first blow in the 3rd minute via Aaron Ramsey’s composed finish on his Old Firm derby debut, before ‘Bhoys’ midfielder Tom Rogic equalised just minutes later from an opportune rebound.
As the team with the best away record in the division this season, Celtic mustered some momentum after their leveller, but encountered a rather stubborn Rangers outfit keen on holding on to their intensity at home. That intensity was put to the test in the final few minutes of the first period. Celtic capitalised on a ‘Gers’ mishap from a set-piece right before HT, as Cameron Carter-Vickers bagged his fourth goal for the club with a deft finish to subdue the Ibrox chants.
The home side emerged fresh on the other side of the restart, but overcoming Ange Postecoglou’s rejuvenated Celtic side was never going to be easy. A couple of substitutions were made by both outfits around the hour mark aimed at tilting the match in the favour of either side, but Celtic’s calm demeanour at the back caused Rangers to give it their all going forward. The ‘Teddy Bears’ upped the ante in the final quarter-hour, going close to an equaliser from Fashion Sakala’s left-footed low drive that Joe Hart thwarted with a superb reflex save.
Despite throwing everything at Celtic, Rangers could count themselves lucky for not conceding more than two after Liel Abada and Anthony Ralston missed clear-cut opportunities to extend the visitors’ lead. The defeat condemned Rangers to their second loss in five matches, as they failed to make it five H2H wins against their fierce city rivals at home. Celtic’s first win at Ibrox since September 2019 means that they extended their unbeaten run to 32 domestic matches (W28, D4), and now firmly have the Premiership title in their own hands to lose.