Rangers triumph to delay Celtic’s title celebrations

With the sun shining in the Scotland’s biggest city, the Glasgow giants played out an enthralling Old Firm encounter, which saw three red cards and Celtic manager Neil Lennon sent off at half-time, then warned that for his safety he should not sit in the stand spending the rest of the game in the media room.

Goals from Sone Aluko, Andy Little and Lee Wallace saw Rangers open up a 3-0 lead before a late fight back from nine-man Celtic scoring twice left Rangers sweating. But Ally McCoist’s men held on to stop Celtic from securing the SPL title at Ibrox.

The Rangers manager welcomed back Steven Whittaker and Sasa Papac from injury, while Dorin Goian and Carlos Bocanegra came back into the heart of defence after being suspended last week.

Neil Lennon was without youngster James Forrest and left striker Gary Hooper on the bench, preferring the strike force of Anthony Stokes and Georgios Samaras.

From the word go Rangers started positively and in the third minute Sone Aluko gave a taste of things to come when his shot was blocked by Thomas Rogne.

Ten minutes in, Rangers took the lead as Aluko ran through the Celtic defence before finding time and space to stroke the ball past Fraser Forster in the Celtic goal.

The visitors responded quickly as Samaras found space to run at the Rangers defence before forcing Allan McGregor into a good save. The rebound fell to Stokes but his shot sailed well over the bar. Stokes again had a chance soon after but the Rangers keeper tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.

After surviving a few set pieces, Aluko set Rangers on another attack and Wallace should have done better from his pass before sending his shot over the bar.

The former Hearts man was to be involved in the game’s first controversial incident on the half hour. He burst down the left-wing but was adjudged to have been pulled back by Cha Du Ri on the edge of the box.

Referee Callum Murray decided it was a goalscoring opportunity and showed the South Korean a red card, a decision which incensed Neil Lennon and the rest of the Celtic bench.

The rest of the first half saw Rangers dominate possession without really creating too many clear-cut chances.

Celtic boss Lennon didn’t emerge from the tunnel in the second half and it emerged that he had been ordered to the stand by referee Callum Murray, before being warned not to take a seat in the Rangers director box for his own safety.

Rangers continued to stop their east end neighbours from getting the ball and Celtic’s frustration came to a head on the hour mark when Victor Wanyama joined Cha for an early bath after a two-footed lunge at Steven Whittaker.

Despite the two-man advantage Rangers couldn’t find the second goal and soon McCoist was forced into making changes. First to go off was the impressive youngster Rhys McCabe with a calf problem and on came Kyle Lafferty for his first appearance since January 2nd. He was immediately in the thick of it forcing Forster into a good save after turning Emilio Izaguirre.

Lafferty’s fellow Northern Irishman Andy Little was the next to come off the bench and his first touch was dramatic. After Forster saved Wallace’s initial effort he followed up to double Rangers lead.

Wallace was to get himself on the scoresheet on 76 minutes after a great ball from Steve Davis, which he slotted under Forster to celebrate a first derby day goal after being denied in the 1-0 defeat at Parkhead in December.

Wallace was replaced by Salim Kerkar and Rangers were expected to see out the final 10 minutes with little difficulty. However, with a minute of normal time remaining Samaras was hauled down in the box by Carlos Bocanegra, who was shown the third red card of the game. Captain Scott Brown scored the resulting penalty which was seen as nothing more than a consolation.

But in injury time Celtic won a free-kick which was headed in by Rogne to set up a tense finale, but Rangers held on to deny nine man Celtic the chance to win the title at Ibrox, with the bubbly put on ice for a week at least.

Match Information

Rangers: McGregor, Whittaker, Goian, Bocanegra, Papac, Aluko (Little), Davis, Edu, McCabe (Lafferty), Wallace (Kerkar), McCulloch.

Celtic: Forster, Cha, Rogne, Mulgrew, Matthews, Brown, Ki (Commons), Wanyama, Ledley (Hooper), Samaras, Stokes (Izaguirre).

Referee: Callum Murray

Attendance: 50,191

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  1. Ian Ferguson says:

    Rangers were hungrier & determined that Celtic were not going to clinch the league on their ground.

    There are a few Celtic players who are not up to the big occassion & a few others who just expected it to happen.

    Star man? Young McCabe. great performance.

  2. adan rush says:

    thought match-fixing was illegal ! Off-side goal for Rangers plus two dubious reds.The SFA were TERRIFIED of the Rangers riot if Celtic had won.Maintains a long tradition of anti-Celtic decisions at Ibrox.I wish Celtic could get out of this league where they will never get natural justice.I’ve seen Barry Ferguson go in two-footed and hurt a Celtic player and get yellow.Wanyama won the ball and Whittaker then stamped on his calf.ANY HARSH DECISIONS AGAINST RANGERS ? Right Calum Murray doesn’t do harsh decisons against Rangers-does he ? This continues a long tradition of Celtic-hating refs like the Syme brothers,Andrew Waddell,JPR McCluskey,JPR Gordon,Hugh Dallas,Kenny Clark,Dougie McDonald etc.
    I didn’t watch the game because I PREDICTED EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.How did I know ? You could see it coming.None of the Rangers comments mention the refs “gifts”.It’s all about “bottle”,How do you summon up bottle when the ref gives the oipposition everything ?

  3. trueblue says:

    rangers deserved the victory and it was nice to see aluko score especially after the mob from the east end slagging him week after week rangers took the foot off the pedal alilowing that mob to come back ,nice to see lemmon still hasnt learned his lessson hope the sfa hammer him right this time

  4. fitbamad says:

    well done the bears a well deserved win even before celtic were reduced to 10 then 9 men gers dominated the game. and a know most celic fans won’t like this but a think lennon needs tae take a good look at himself to blame the officials for the 2nd week running rather than blame his OWN players for not performing on the day. the players have let the club down in last couple weeks and too many celic fans and players over the last couple weeks have just expected to turn up and game was won as usual. but lennon needs to take a good look for him to say that wanyama’s sending off was debatable was a ridiculous statement to make it’s pitiful. time tae take a look at your own players neil. is the bottle starting to crash again we will see over the coming weeks.

  5. Ian says:

    Shameful treatment of Celtic yesterday.Two red cards that should have been yellow.The Celtic Manager descriminated against yet again for being Irish.An offside goal.But the biggest issue of all is the Police Couldn’t guarantee the Celtic Mangers Safety in the stand.What kind of a country is Scotland?

  6. jazrfc says:

    browns wage was more than the full rangers starting eleven , hearts must fancy themselves against that mob in the semi . i think mr lennon will get hammered by the sfa [ never defeated always cheated ] watp

  7. Prairie Bhoy says:

    Putting the cards aside for a moment……

    Celtic have been skating by for at least the last few weeks. No escaping that all three Rangers goals were earned off Celtic defensive lapses.

    The first goal was just defense pulled way on the right side with a good cross and header.

    The second was Matthews standing like a statue while Little snuck into kick in the rebound

    The third was just faster players beating a slower pulled up defense.

    Now….On the third goal was it offsides? Probably but why have a defense pulled that far out of position?

    Wanyama deserved his red card. Who slides with a two foot lunge and doesn’t expect a sending off.

    When Murray pulled out the red card after Wallace went down, I was certain it was to send him off for diving. Very questionable decision.

    All in all, Rangers did play harder than Celtic just as Killie outplayed Celtic

    Coming from Chicago where I used to watch Bocanegra play well for the FIre in the MLS……man has he lost it. He was pretty slow in the 2010 world cup, now he plays like he is carrying Edu on his back. Klinsmann, this guy can’t be our national team captain as he now lacks the ability

  8. Jaz you really are trying to milk it ain’t you? Brown is paid a maximum of £25,000. There is no way in hell that 11 players even after the temporary pay cuts will have wages that are equal of or less than his. If you want to take about numbers – how much did that Rangers side cost to build compared to the Celtic one?

  9. Ian Ferguson says:

    You know something? I try to be magnaminous in defeat & what happens, a doughball like you comes on giving it the usual crap.

    You are right in one respect, Rangers played at their best, Celtic didn’t. Yet you needed an offside goal to win + the ref as usual.

    There were contentious decisions, all in Rangers favour, Let’s count things up.

    First half penalty to Celtic.. Not given

    Offside goal.. Given to Rangers.

    One definate wrong red card given against Celtic, in fact the ref reminded me of the “Honest mistakes” period, Quick draw on the red card & run toward the Celtic player.

    When it was a Rangers red it took him AGES to produce it, reluctant to the last.

    Once again the SFA have a problem & once more it has been brought on by double dealing officials, let’s see if they get caught lying yet again.

    Brines is seen PRODDING Neil Lennon. Remember him, a player picks up the ball in the penalty area while play is active & Brines still NEVER gave Celtic a penalty. Scottish Football at it’s best.

    As for Murray, if this was his first pro Rangers display we could say it was maybe a bad day for him but he is a man with previous. He even appeared as a witness in Rangers players FAVOUR when they are red carded, again ONLY IN SCOTLAND. Neutral? by SFA standards not a problem.

    Maybe it is time to tackle this SFA once & for all, this is the SECOND big game in two weeks ruined by the incompetence? of the ref. Murray made Collum look almost acceptable.

    Maybe we should just watch while your team disappears up it’s own jacksie & see who all the homeless refs favour next season.

    I heard the figure HMRC will accept is 100p in the £ & NOT the 10p you can manage to bum to pay a CVA.

    The EURO licence has just about vanished but it doesn’t matter, with all the crap being uncovered about Rangers you will be lucky if you have a newco ready for the SFA & SPL to cheat & help next year. Mind you a year out will give them a chance to whitewash all your dishonest dealings & maybe the court cases will all be over by then.

    I wonder what your OWNER, Mr WHYTE thinks about all these offers coming in? Ching, Ching, mind you he deserves all the dosh he can screw out of you, HE paid £1 when all your Blue Knights renaged on the deal.

    Mind you, the Rangers fans attempt at a huddle wasn’t bad, what is it they say? IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY.

  10. Ian Ferguson says:

    MUPPET,

    Your team sheds points like confetti.

    CELTIC were 15 down to how many ahead now?

    I WATCHED KILMARNOCK TAKE YOUR TEAM APART & LOADS OF YOU WHO DON’T DO WALKING , ran away as fast as your jakie legs could take you, VANISHED, LIKE SNOW OFF A DYKE.

    If EVER a game HAD to be won this was the one. Both sets of Fans turned up , so did KILLIE, where were RANGERS?

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