Rangers Ladies made history today by beating their Old Firm rivals Celtic 3-1. It was the first time the Rangers team have won a derby game against Celtic since the team joined the Premier league in 2007. Mary Anne Orr reports from Lennoxtown.
Celtic started the game strong and pressed Rangers back early on, however the Rangers rearguard stood strong. As Rangers began to settle into the game they began to take control of the midfield and dominate play.
The first Rangers chance came after eight minutes when a free kick from Jill Paterson caused a scramble in the goalmouth but Celtic cleared the danger.
The Light Blues then looked to have taken the lead after 10 minutes as Hayley Cunningham struck a shot from distance and had Gemma Fay well beaten, but the ball rattled off the crossbar and diverted away from goal.
On the 20 minute mark, as Rangers got into their rhythm, they took the lead through Karen Penglase. A corner taken by Cunningham was won by Hollie Thomson and the ball fell for Jill Paterson. Her shot was parried by Fay but Penglase pounced on the loose ball to fire Rangers into the lead.
That goal spurred Rangers on and continued to attack. Kathryn Hill made a tremendous solo run, picking the ball up on the edge of the Rangers’ box and driving all the way to the Celtic box, however her shot was wide of the target.
At the other end Rangers’ Khym Ramsay was called into action when Carla Jackson cut inside at the edge of the box to fire a low shot, but the Rangers keeper was equal to the task.
Further attempts from Natalie Ross and Lisa Swanson were unable to add to the score line, and Rangers maintained their one goal lead heading into half time.
The second half started with Celtic searching for an equalizer. Celtic broke forward and Ramsay denied them once again, saving their shot before bravely pouncing on the ball as the striker tried to latch onto the rebound.
On the hour mark, Celtic leveled the score after a one-two on the edge of the box the ball was lobbed over Ramsay by midfielder Maddie Fulton.
After conceding the equaliser, Rangers brought on fresh legs in the guise of Rachel Halliday as Lisa Swanson made way. And it was just after that Rangers regained their lead. Thomson’s through ball met Hill on the edge of the box and she blasted her shot past Fay into the top left corner, a fantastic strike to add to her tally of goals.
Not long after taking the lead, Rangers extended it once more. Natalie Ross won the ball before driving through the Celtic defence and hit the back of the net with Fay helpless.
Celtic fought right to the end to get back into the game, but the Rangers defence kept tight and secured the win against their city rivals.
A delighted Angie Hind speaking after the game, said: “This was a big game for us today and the heat certainly added another dimension to things, however I am really impressed by the team. Not every game can be won by playing fluent football and today was never going to be one of those games. I think the heart, work rate and desire we showed throughout the match was so impressive, especially after they equalised. Real credit should go to this team as they are working so hard and really coming together.”