- Rangers 0 Celtic 2
Odsonne Edouard continued his impressive goalscoring record against Rangers as Celtic won 2-0 in the Old Firm derby at Ibrox.
The Frenchman capitalised on a loose pass to net his fifth goal in seven derbies in the 32nd minute following a tight opening to the game.
Rangers defender Connor Goldson gave the ball straight to Celtic winger Mikey Johnston, who slipped the 21-year-old through to slot home.
Substitute Jonny Hayes rounded off the victory in stoppage time after netting at the second attempt on the counter-attack.
The hosts started without any natural width or top goalscorer Alfredo Morelos and they took almost an hour to manage a shot on target.
Steven Gerrard made some positive changes but Celtic stood firm despite losing centre-back Nir Bitton to injury.
Rangers suffered further insult in the final seconds as substitute Jordan Jones was sent off for a foul on Moritz Bauer.
All four fixtures had been won by the home team last season after the visiting ticket allocations had been slashed to less than a thousand.
And Celtic’s victory saw them extend their 100 per cent record in the Ladbrokes Premiership to four wins.
Neil Lennon reaction
I‘m so proud, it was an outstanding performance. Everyone’s written us off, we don’t believe the noise, don’t believe the hype, we’ve performed an absolute masterclass in how to play the derby. Alan McGregor kept the score down from four or five. Maybe people will cut us some slack.
We knew coming here Rangers were in great form, we felt we had the quality, new players, the whole team had been playing so well and I thought my captain and McGregor set the level today.
The shape of the team, the mentality of the team was outstanding. We came in as underdogs for whatever reason but I think we’ve put an end to that today.
He’s talented, he’s cold, great under pressure, his finish was typical Odsonne. We’re pleased with the progress he’s making and he could go on to have a very good career.
I hope this is a real kickstart for our domestic season and our European season.
Any business tomorrow?
Yep. Deals come and go very quickly and if there’s a deal to be done we’ll try and do it.
I have no word for the job we did on the pitch. For 90, 95 minutes we push ourselves, did a good job, we were like a family on the field. The victory was just perfect.
Since pre-season we defend well, we talk a lot. I’m really sorry about Europe what happened, it’s really a good performance.
Last time we didn’t perform here (some generic chat about three points etc) it was all achieved today.
He’s drilled into us we need to start better, we worked hard all week in training.
Fantastic performance and result for Celtic. Big players turned up with their top game, think Jullien deserves a lot of credit he was immense at the back. Gerrard got it wrong today with his selection. Bollingoli should’ve been put under much more pressure from the start.
— Michael Stewart (@mstewart_23)September 1, 2019
90 mins +2 – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Hayes is booked for squaring up to Morelos. Tavernier takes the free-kick… which is cleared for a throw. The ball is hooked in, cleared up into the air and is going to drop! It’s a stramash in the box… and Goldson heads wide! Big chance gone again.
Bolingoli has mysteriously discovered he has cramp. Some time is wasted.
90 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Ntcham has been excellent since coming on, holding the ball and bringing others into play. Another dreadful pass from the back by a Rangers defender gives Celtic the chance to counter high in the opposition half, Ntcham’s clever pass plays in Hayes whose low cross is put behind for a corner. Christie takes that short and tries to shield it in the corner but doesn’t get the free-kick he wanted.
Arfield grabs Ntcham’s shorts as he runs away, Ntcham slows down and is then angry that Arfield continues to try and rip his shorts off.
It would be so typical if this game descends into childish spats and tackles.
And here it comes. Guess who’s at the centre? Morelos.
88 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Ojo is played in down the right wing, has Elhamed tight to him and ends up putting the ball out for a throw. He hasn’t adjusted to the pace of this match.
Brown doesn’t contest a header and instead lets Davis fall over him, giving away a free-kick in a dangerous position. Tavernier can cross in… and it’s headed behind for a goal kick.
Jullien is furious with the referee because of something Morelos said or did to him.
84 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Ntcham punts a clearance away, Celtic have everyone in their own half and can’t get out. Jones crosses out for a goal kick and now they can take their time.
Bolingoli takes a throw-in, Edouard and Ntcham link superbly with a one-two and Ntcham ends up heading over the bar as his shot is deflected by McGregor. Great play by Celtic. Rangers urged to get forward by Gerrard.
82 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
The corner is headed away, drops to Tavernier and he lines up a volley with power which rises and swerves high and wide.
Morelos holds off Elhamed really well, wins a free-kick and takes it quickly! Jack is in behind but Brown has read the danger and blocks at the near post. Really smart thinking from Morelos and Jack and it’s a corner. Bauer sees it behind for another corner.
80 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Goldson’s passing has been little short of atrocious. He’s just launched an easy one out of play… as in properly lifted it into the crowd when all he needed to do was pass along the ground to a teammate.
Jack does well to hold off Brown and keep the ball in the Celtic half, Jones wins a corner off Bauer.
77 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
The corner is headed away, lands with MCGREGORRRR and his shot is blocked! Great hit. Ntcham can hit now though and Jack heads it over the bar for another corner. Christie takes his time.
Christie goes short, gets the return, chops past a tackle and Celtic are in! Great save by McGregor! Brilliant! But it’s not cleared, Jullien stays up and receives the ball in the area and fires low again at McGregor… who saves the day once more! Superb goalkeeping!
75 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Jones takes on Christie on the left, shifts onto his right and goes down. Foul. He was looking for it but that’s a free-kick… and it’s crossed in at pace. The keeper deals with it and Celtic have a chance to counter! Ntcham turns outside the area and wins a corner as he launches a shot at goal.
71 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
None of Celtic’s back four were at the club in June. Madness.
Rangers are growing into the game, really turning up the pressure. A corner is sent into the area and Forster drops it! But the ball had gone out of play.
Jordan Jones comes on for Aribo. That’ll be to test Bauer at right-back.
67 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Now the issue with Bitton being injured is that Celtic don’t have any other centre-backs. Moritz Bauer is a right-back and could maybe come on at centre-back, moving Elhamed to the centre of defence.
Rangers fans aren’t enjoying how long this is taking. It’s not ideal for Celtic to have this change now that Morelos is on and hungry for action.
Forrest is replaced by Ntcham, Lennon looking to control the game and see it out.
65 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Bitton chases that Christie free-kick out of play and pulls his hamstring doing so. He’s out the game, clearly unable to continue but his hobbling back towards his own box.
Bolingoli tries to win the ball high up the pitch and doesn’t and is now out of position! He recovers, Rangers keep the ball… Ojo skips past two tackles and then passes straight out for a throw. Bitton looks gutted and is flat out on his back now.
60 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Superb tackle by Katic to steal the ball from Edouard as he tried to round him with a smart first touch. Rangers opening up the pitch with their passing but too many errors have resulted in lost possession.
Defoe off, Morelos on. Could this be the spark? He’s never scored against Celtic.
56 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
This game convinces me that we need a bigger top flight. There’s no way the two Dundee sides and others in the Championship couldn’t play in the premiership. No huge gap in quality.
— Jim Spence (@JimSpenceSport)September 1, 2019
54 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Great tackle by Jullien on Defoe, who just can’t get into this game. Bolingoli moves too far up the wing for this throw, the referee gives it the other way (I’ve never seen that before) and the throw-in goes straight to Brown! Brown runs at pace through the middle of the Rangers, skipping past two challenges before he’s brought down in the final third and the danger removed.
50 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Aribo has moved into a central position and it’s already made a big difference. Rangers have a player to pass to through the middle of the park now and that’s really helped.
Bolingoli pulls out of a 50/50 as he sees Jack steaming in, this time Jack slides with some level of control and scoops the ball off the turf.
Defoe is played into the box, turns and shoots, winning a corner. Better from Rangers.
Andy Walker with another bit of archaic analysis: Rangers need someone more physical, someone stronger upfront.
Mate, I know you were a decent player but Rangers can’t keep the ball longer than 30 seconds because every second pass is a tackle. They need to move it quicker through the lines, not lump it forward!
Celtic are taking the ball off Rangers way too easily but it’s because they don’t have any options to pass and keep trying to go forward, forward, forward. Aribo gets it and loses it straight away – just control, pass and move. Draw them out! Goldson’s pass to give away possession for the goal was a classic example of frantic football leading to mistakes.
Celtic outplaying Rangers here and lead deservedly at the break. Rangers should be down to 10, Celtic should have had two bookings for tackles which I’ve seen players sent off for in other leagues. Ah well. It’s the same sport as La Liga, remember, there’s no need to referee it to encourage The Hard Men.
40 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 1
Andy Walker has just said he has no problem with the referee “letting the game breathe”. This is one of the big problems with Scottish football mentality – it is the same sport played in Spain, Holland, Brazil… you think they’d accept it? Mental. It does my head in.
Nothing’s happening on the pitch by the way.
27 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 0
Rangers are in Celtic’s half, it’s all really scrappy, no composure… and Defoe passes to nobody. Celtic have some work to do defending this move now though… and Aribo has given the ball away again. He has it back, tries to dribble past a couple of defenders and is easily tackled.
20 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 0
Brown is super hyped, trying to rouse his teammates with some pumped fists and yelling. That’ll do the trick.
Rangers are fine with possession in their own half but don’t seem to have a single idea how to move the ball beyond the halfway line other than chipping it towards someone near the box.
17 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 0
Celtic have men forward, lose the ball and Kamara tries to bring it out quickly. He’s easily robbed of possession, Celtic try to come back but Kamara recovers and then has Brown chasing him. Brown slides in and fouls him, another clear booking… and it’s a free-kick and nothing more.
Really hate that referees treat this game like some odd mythical beast that exists outwith the usual laws of football.
10 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 0
Well that’s a fairly stupid/dangerous challenge by McGregor. He goes flying in on Arfield, is late and slides at pace and that will surely be pulled back for a yellow card. Play continues… and Rangers win a corner as Aribo links with Defoe.
The referee gives McGregor a talking to. That’s an absolute textbook yellow card but apparently you have to treat Rangers and Celtic as different creatures to normal football teams.
8 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 0
Johnston goes on a great run, taking on Tavernier and dribbling into the area, winning a corner. Christie curls it in… and it’s headed away. Goldson heads away the next cross into the box and Celtic retreat to keep possession.
This is a lovely photo of Gerrard and Lennon. Awww.
6 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 0
Tavernier tries a long pass towards Aribo which goes out for a throw. Katic bravely smashes a header out for another throw, for no real reason, presumably yelling “RAAAARGGGHHH!” as he did so.
Aribo is easily muscled off the ball on the left wing. He looks a little tentative.
4 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 0
Christie tries one from 25 yards but puts it over the bar. Loves a long range strike, that lad.
Davis brings the ball forward now but Bolingoli reads the pass out to Tavernier and heads away. Kamara plays it safe and goes back to his goalie rather than risk a forward pass and McGregor launches the ball out of play.
2 mins – Rangers 0 Celtic 0
Celtic launch the ball to touch from kick off. Welcome to the derby, folks.
Johnston has the ball on the edge of the box immediately, tries to jink his way past a heap of defenders, Rangers absorb the move and get it clear.
And we’ve had the day’s first strong challenge as Flanagan leaves some on Elhamed.
Neil Lennon seems pretty relaxed
We decided to go with Fraser to give us that presence in the goal, it really was a difficult decision.
We knew Kris was struggling, Jozo had a reaction in the knee from training, the two guys who played centre-half on Thursday were brilliant. It’s nice to have Elhamed back.
They’re small quick (Defoe and Morelos), have goals in them, quite similar in the way they play.
Defoe vs Morelos
Morelos scored the winner midweek vs Legia after a hard shift and after about 800 crosses had been sent into the box. Rangers have great players but I’m not convinced they create as many chances as they should do and when you consider both goals against Kilmarnock were from corners, and the winner vs St Mirren was a free-kick, there’s a pattern which emerges. Against Legia Rangers hurled in cross after cross, continually pushed wide and going with it, but without a targetman in the middle there’s not an awful lot of point doing it.
The hope must be winning second balls because Defoe isn’t going to outjump Jullien and that may well be why Rangers are playing both Arfield and Aribo today. They make the shape more of a 4-3-2-1 and it means when the full-backs get forward, as they will, any crosses cleared from the box can be collected by one of the advanced midfielders.
A bit of Scottish football analysis
Iwrote this during the week onKilmarnock and how they play under Angelo Alessio. Give it a wee read if you’re interested as we wait for things to happen at Ibrox.
Steven Gerrard treating this like a normal game
We’re in a good place, we’re ready. We always want to put a marker down. It’s early in the season, there’s an international break on teh back of it so we’ll do everything we can to get a victory.
Very tough, I’ve gone for the freshness, Alfredo put everything into the death (in Europe). Having said that, Alfredo will be needed.
I’ve always got confidence we can win here, the last Old Firm game is in the past. Whoever performs close to their best level will win this match.
As we all know from Football Manager, it’s risky talking down the importance of matches like this one! Calm heids might produce nicer football but this match turns into a battle as soon as the ref blows his whistle.
Greg Taylor to Celtic?
“There are a number of options and Greg would be one of those,” said Neil Lennon on Friday. Taylor didn’t play for Kilmarnock yesterday or in their game last week either. It’s basically done, you’d think.
And yes that is the newest photo of Taylor I could find in our database.
Elhamed – Jullien – Bitton – Bolingoli
Neil Lennon has been speaking about how Celtic aren’t the underdogs today but that back four really isn’t great. Let’s go through it:
- Elhamed has only played in four Celtic games since signing and conceded in all except a 7-0 humping of St Johnstone.
- Jullien is a new signing and this is his very first Old Firm match. He wasn’t even trusted for the defeat to Cluj which suggests Lennon didn’t feel he was ready then… but injury means he has to be now.
- Bitton is a midfielder.
- Is a wing-back, not a full-back. Very effective when beyond the halfway line but clearly has a lot to learn about his defensive position.
More worrying is that Brown and McGregor have been overrun in midfield many times before and are similar players. Brown is the captain and a leader – has to play in theory – but both like to occupy the same bits of the pitch when in a midfield two and Rangers can easily outnumber them in the centre of the park with Jack, Kamara and Davis.
Here we go!
It’s the first Rangers vs Celtic game of the season and it really is a big one. Celtic aren’t the invincible beast of seasons past, Rangers are well put together and stacked with talent and though Kris Boyd isn’t exactly the most reliable of pundits in the world, his assertion that “the league title comes down to who wins the Old Firm games” isn’t entirely wrong.
Celtic fans are already in their little section of Ibrox, most of the Rangers support haven’t quite made their way in yet. All in the boardroom at Ibrox will be desperate that those fans who do turn up actually behave themselves today because the Uefa sanctions placed on Rangers, which prompted strongly worded statements from the club, must be followed up with similar from the authorities in Scotland too.
As for the game, this could be great. Celtic’s back four is… interesting, Rangers have left Alfredo Morelos on the bench and put Jermain Defoe on instead. That makes perfect sense – although Morelos is hugely talented, he is a red card waiting to happen in games like today.
The decision to replace Borna Barisic with Jon Flanagan is another potentially wise managerial choice from Gerrard. Barisic has a wand of a left foot – good for crosses – but he’s not as defensively minded as Flanagan, who can help protect against the powers of James Forrest on the Celtic right.
The midfield is designed to control the game and Sheyi Ojo may miss out today because for all his talents with the ball, his work off it isn’t the strongest defensively and he hasn’t affected play in the final third as much as some others. Scott Arfield had to play today.
Watch Rangers target the Celtic left-back Bolingoli. Decent with the ball, the boy’s defensive positioning has been exposed many times already this season. Brown and McGregor isn’t a midfield duo that has worked wonders in the past… and without Ajer behind, suddenly Celtic are a lot weaker defensively too. This is not Celtic’s strongest side by a long way.
Kick off is as 12pm – stay with us for all the buildup and action!
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