Celtic 2-1 Rangers: Brendan Rodgers’ side reassert authority with derby win

30 December 2023 0 By Total Football News
Jack Butland is beaten by Kyogo Furuhashi who makes it 2-0 Celtic during a Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic ParkKyogo Furuhashi scored a stunning second goal for Celtic

Celtic reasserted their authority at the top of the Scottish Premiership by ending rivals Rangers' 16-game unbeaten run under manager Philippe Clement in a gripping Old Firm derby.

Paulo Bernardo smashed in a half volley before the break to give Brendan Rodgers' side the lead at a boisterous Celtic Park full only of home fans, as a frenetic first half flew by.

Kyogo Furuhashi whipped in another beauty two minutes after the break to double the lead and continue his hot streak against Rangers, having now scored seven goals in 11 derbies.

Rangers played out the last 30 minutes with 10 men after Leon Balogun was dismissed for hauling down Daizen Maeda as he burst towards goal.

However, captain James Tavernier set up a tense finish with a sensational free-kick into the top corner on 88 minutes.

Eleven minutes of frantic injury time ensued, but Celtic held on to move eight points clear at the summit, although Rangers do have two games in hand with one round of games left before the winter break.

Clement's side came into this derby with momentum, having won the Viaplay Cup, reached the last 16 of the Europa League, and chipped into Celtic's lead in the Premiership over the course of 16 games under the Belgian.

But once again they floundered against their greatest foes.

They will rue missed chances having been offered plenty of encouragement on the break by a makeshift Celtic backline.

The maligned Cyriel Dessers pounced on a mistake but took an age to set himself up for a shot and wasted a golden opportunity in the first half.

Todd Cantwell and Ross McCausland both tested Joe Hart in the Celtic goal, and also chose the wrong option in the final third, as Celtic turned ragged after getting themselves in front.

Rangers also had a shout for a penalty when Alistair Johnston handled in the box while tussling with Abdallah Sima, but later replays showed Sima was offside in the build-up anyway.

But once again it was Celtic who found the required quality when it mattered in the derby, with Bernardo's rocket and Kyogo's curled finish from the edge of the box fit to win such an important game.

Tavernier's late effort was typically brilliant as he bent the ball away from the despairing Hart from the left corner of the box, but all it ultimately achieved was making Celtic sweat for their win.

Player of the match - Paulo Bernardo (Celtic)

Celtic’s Paulo Bernardo celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 Celtic during a Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic ParkThe Portuguese midfielder scored a wonderful goal and got involved in the final third, while also getting stuck in and winning seven duels - a glimpse of his potential

Celtic serve timely reminder of quality - analysis

This was a critical - and thoroughly deserved - victory for Celtic.

The noise from the other side of the city was swelling after Clement's impressive start at Ibrox, which coincided with unrest at Celtic Park over signings, a dispute with a section of the fans and poor recent results which had cut their lead.

But here they looked the more coherent team as, for the most part, they passed neatly through Rangers.

Bernardo put in his most impressive display since his loan switch from Benfica in what has been a troublesome position for Rodgers, with Callum McGregor and Matt O'Riley certain starters in the other midfield berths.

They did look vulnerable for a spell in the first half after centre-back Stephen Welsh went off for Maik Nawrocki but, after a shaky start, the Polish defender composed himself, before the nervy end from the whole team.

This result will not determine who wins the league, but it is a timely reminder of the champions' quality, especially as they welcomed back Reo Hatate and Liel Abada from long-term injuries.

Rangers will have plenty of regrets. Despite not getting on top of their rivals, they still created plenty of opportunities to score.

Dessers had the chance to transform his Rangers career in the first half and failed to take it. It summed up his start to life in Scotland - despite scoring nine goals.

Overall, though, there was a lack of style from the visitors. Clement has had to deal with a lot of injuries, little time on the training ground and a grim mood around Ibrox when he walked in.

He has been successful in managing that situation and narrowing the gap, instilling discipline and some steel in a side previously weak under Michael Beale. However, it's clear he still has work to do to mould the team in his image.

The Belgian needs signings and time for that, and Rangers will not go away in the race for the title, but this was a reality check for his team.

What's next?

Celtic travel to Paisley to face St Mirren in their final game before the winter break on 2 January (17:00 GMT) while Rangers host Kilmarnock (15:00).

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Hart
  • 2JohnstonBooked at 17mins
  • 57WelshSubstituted forNawrockiat 35'minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 5Scales
  • 3Taylor
  • 33O'RileyBooked at 40mins
  • 42McGregorBooked at 85mins
  • 28Gonçalves BernardoBooked at 26minsSubstituted forTurnbullat 71'minutesBooked at 80mins
  • 38MaedaSubstituted forJohnstonat 83'minutes
  • 8FuruhashiSubstituted forOhat 83'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 7PalmaSubstituted forAbadaat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Abada
  • 13Yang
  • 14Turnbull
  • 17Nawrocki
  • 19Oh
  • 29Bain
  • 41Hatate
  • 56Ralston
  • 90Johnston

Rangers

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Butland
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6GoldsonBooked at 90mins
  • 27BalogunBooked at 71mins
  • 3Yilmaz
  • 21SterlingBooked at 59mins
  • 4LundstramSubstituted forSouttarat 77'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 45McCausland
  • 13CantwellSubstituted forDowellat 69'minutes
  • 19SimaSubstituted forWrightat 70'minutes
  • 9Dessers

Substitutes

  • 5Souttar
  • 14Lammers
  • 15Cifuentes
  • 17Matondo
  • 20Dowell
  • 23Wright
  • 28McCrorie
  • 38King
  • 44Devine
Referee:
Nick Walsh

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 2, Rangers 1.

Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Rangers 1.


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