Match report: Celtic 4-0 Rangers
Scottish Premiership: “Rangers were second best here and by a considerable distance,” writes Ewan Murray from Celtic Park. “Only a brave – or daft - individual would bet against a successful title defence for Postecoglou and his players.”
A quick recap: Celtic lost their star striker Kyogo to a shoulder injury mere seconds after kick-off but ultimately managed just fine without him. With Rangers repeatedly switching off at throw-ins and free-kicks, they raced into a 3-0 lead, with Liel Abadal scoring either side of a splendid effort from Jota.
Continuing their domination in the second half, Celtic extended their lead after Rangers goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin inexplicably played the ball short to the feet of substitute David Turnball from a goal-kick. Celtic fans concerned for the wellbeing of Kyogo will be delighted to see him smiling as he leads the post-match cheers, although his arm is in a sling. Only time will tell if he’ll be fit for the arrival of Real Madrid on Tuesday but his chances don’t look great.
Full time: Celtic 4-0 Rangers
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeep! It’s all over at Celtic Park, where the home side have completely bossed their visitors in almost every department. They run out worthy winners and go five points clear at the top of the table after six games.
90+2 min: Tavernier sends a free-kick into the Celtic penalty area, where Callum McGregor goes close to heading into his own net. Joe Hart spares his captain’s blushes.
90 min: Connor Goldson hacks down Maeda as he gallops into the Rangers half on a late counter-attack. He made no effort to play the ball and gets a yellow card. Celtic striker Giorgo Giakoumakis thinks he should have got a red and is booked for protesting.
89 min: From that corner, Rangers win another but nothing comes of it.
88 min: Mortiz Jenz goes down holding his head and Rangers have a free-kick within shooting distance of Joe Hart’s goal. Tavernier shapes to have a go but instead chips the ball to the far post, where Connor Goldson’s downward header is tipped around the upright by Hart for corner.
85 min: Daizen Maede wins his side a free-kick about 40 yards from the Rangers goal. Jota Sends the ball into the penalty area, where McLaughlin claims it.
84 min: Scott Arfield brings down Jota with a hack from behind but escapes a booking. The players of Rangers look completely beaten and demoralised at this late stage of the game.
82 min: Celtic fans appeal for a penalty as the ball appears to bounce off the hand of James Sands in the Rangers penalty area. It drops for Giakoumakis, who swivels and sends a low effort fizzing across the face of goal and wide.
80 min: Waiting to take a goal kick with options available to him, McLaughlin chooses the wrong one. He plays the ball short, straight to the feet of David Turnball. He needs no second invitation and smashes the ball past McLaughlin, into the back of the net. Dearie me.
GOAL! Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Turnbull 78)
Celtic extend their lead. A howler from Rangers goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin presents the substitute with a gift.
78 min: Rangers double-substitution: Ryan Jack and Fashion Sakala on for Kent and Lundstram.
77 min: Juranovic advances on the Rangers penalty area but blasts high and wide from 20 yards out.
76 min: Celtic continue to dominate with 14 minutes to go. The team in blue have offered very little going forward in this second half.
73 min: Celtic triple-substitution: Mooy, Turnbull and Maeda on, Abada, Hatate and O’Riley off.
71 min: It’s Hart-in-mouth time for Celtic as their goalkeeper throws the ball straight to the feet of Scott Arfield, who was standing just inside the Celtic penalty area. He shoots over the bar but I don’t think his effort would have counted if it had gone in, as the ball hadn’t left the box.
70 min: Sprinting down the inside left, Morelos latches on to a ball over the top before shooting low, hard and wide of the far post.
69 min: Barisic picks out Alfredo Morelos with another excellent cross from the left but the Colombian is unable to control the ball and shoot and ends up in a tangle of sorts with his team-mate Scott Wright. It was a half-chance, nothing more.
66 min: It’s all Celtic as Abada tries to tee up Giakoumakis after making his way into the Rangers penalty area from the right. His pass is intercepted.
65 min: Jon McLaughlin plucks a Josip Juranovic cross from the right from the air with a minimum of fuss.
64 min: Hatate advances on the Rangers goal without anyone trying to close him down and unleashes a shot from 20 yards. His effort sails extremely high and wide.
64 min: James Tavernier is lucky to escape a booking for a barge into the back of Jota.
62 min: Reo Hatate tries to play Giakomakis in behind the Rangers defence with a weighted pass from the edge of the penalty area. Giomakis wasn’t on the same wavelength as his teammate and didn’t make the required run.
60 min: Rangers double-substitution: Alfredo Morelos and Scott Arfield on, Colak and Tillman off
59 min: Celtic drive forward and Matt O’Riley sends a cross/shot fizzing high and wide of the Rangers goal.
58 min: Callum McGregor tries to shimmy his way through the Rangers penalty area but runs into traffic and is dispossessed. The ball breaks to Giakoumakis, who is unable to get a shot off.
57 min: Starfelt is unable to continue and is replaced by Moritz Jenz. Celtic remain in total control of this Old Firm derby.
55 min: There’s a break in play so Carl Starfelt can receive treatment for an injury he sustained while challenging Malik Tillman. The Celtic defender gets a yellow card for the tackle.
53 min: On Sky Sports, Ally McCoist is full of admirration for the Celtic ballboys, who each have a ball at their feet and are quickly chucking them to the home players any time the ball goes out for a throw-in. They’ll be claiming assists for two of the three goals.
49 min: From the right wing, Scott Wright drills a low cross into the Celtic penalty area. Cameron Carter-Vickers blocks at the near post. The ball goes out for a throw-in, from which Steven Davis fashions a shot on goal. Joe Hart saves comfortably, clutching the ball to his chest.
47 min: John Lundstram loses the ball to GIakoumakis inside his own half and Celtic advance upfield. They don’t get too far.
Second half: Celtic 3-0 Rangers
46 min: Play resumes with Celtic getting the ball rolling. Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has made one change in personnel, replacing Glen Kamara with Scott Wright in midfield.
Half-time: Celtic 3-0 Rangers
Peep! The shell-shocked Rangers players retire to the dressing-room to lick their wounds having conceded three without reply to their ruthless rivals. Liel Abada bagged a brace for Celtic, either side of an absolutely outstanding finish by Jota in a very entertaining first half. Rangers have it all to do – and then some – in the second half.
45 + 1 min: Barisic sends another cross from the left into the Celtic box. Cameron Carter-Vickers hoofs it clear on the volley. THe ball comes back to Joe Hart, whose poor clearance lands straight at the feet of Steven Davis. He shoots goalwards but Hart gathers with a minimum of fuss.
44 min: Celtic centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers is booked for a foul that fells Ryan Kent as he advances towards the opposition penalty area at speed.
42 min: Giovanni van Bronckhorst looks ashen-faced on the Rangers bench, having seen his team get dismantled in this first half. Rangers have created chances of their own, with Borna Barisic sending a succession of excellent crosses intop the Celtic box but they’re three behind approaching the break.
GOAL! Celtic 3-0 Rangers (Abada 40)
Celtic lead by three! Liel Abada scores his second of the game, getting on the end of a low cross at the far post to send the ball fizzing through the legs of McLaughlin from about eight yards out. It came from another quickly taken throw-in deep in Rangers territory and the visitors had switched off again!
39 min: Kolak heads over for Rangers, before Borna Barisic swings another fine cross into the Celtic box that the big man is unable to get get to.
38 min: Rangers midfielder Malik Tillman was booked for some indiscretion or other moments after kick-off after Celtic’s second goal. I’m not sure what.
36 min: There was a suggestion that Jota might have been offside as he ran on to Matt O’Riley’s pass from deep for the second goal. I’ve seen it twice and can’t tell whether the flag should have gone up or not. It looked tight.
34 min: That was an exquisitely taken goal but not for the first time today, Rangers were caught napping in the build-up. Celtic had a free-kick in their own half and took it quickly while Glen Kamara, John Lundstrum and Ryan Kent were all unprepared facing the wrong way.
GOAL! Celtic 2-0 Rangers (Jota 32)
Celtic double their lead! Jota runs on to a pass from deep and dinks the ball over Jon McLaughlin from a tight angle. That is a splendid finish.
31 min: Antonio Colak spots Joe Hart off his line and tries to lob him with a volley as the ball is headed clear his way. His intentions were good but the execution was poor. Wide.
28 min: Greg Taylor dinks a cross into the Rangers box after good work by Hatate and McGregor in the build-up. The Celtic left-back overhits his pass and Giakoumakis is unable to get his head anywhere near the ball.
28 min: Juranovic sends a ball from deep into the Rangers penalty area, picking out Giakoumakis. He hits the dropping ball first time but steers his effort wide.
26 min: Rangers ping the ball around the hinterland surrounding the Celtic penalty area but are unable to find a way through Celtic’s rearguard.
23 min: Matt O’Riley gets down the right wing for Celtic and sends a cross into the Rangers penalty area. A poor touch from Jota enables Connor Goldson to half clear the ball. The Roaming O’Riley scuffs a shot back towards goal, which a seated Jota tries and fails to help on its way with a flick. Rangers clear.
21 min: Glen Kamara and Ryan Kent combine down the left wing for Rangers. Barisic joins them and sends a fine cross into the Celtic penalty area, where Antonio Kolak gets the jump on Cameron Carter-Vickers but skims his header wide. That was a great chance and a brilliant cross from Barisic.
20 min: Borna Barisic gets the first yellow card of the game for hauling Abada to the ground halfway inside the Celtic half. The goalscorer had turned him and Barisic wasn’t taking any chances.
18 min: Giakoumakis has shot high and wide for Celtic, who are very much in the ascendency. He goes on to miss a sitter, sending a glancing header wide of the far post from the dghe of the six-yard box when the ball had been put on a plate for him by O’Riley.
15 min: Celtic appeal for a penalty but don’t get one as Ryan Kent appears to trip Josip Juranovic as he was about to shoot for goal. Looking at the replay, I think a penalty would have been harsh. In case you don’t know, there is no VAR in the Scottish Premiership.
14 min: O’Riley tries to scurry his way into the Rangers box but meets a stout wall of blue resistance in the form of Connor GOldson.
12 min: Going back to the Celtic goal, the ball went out over the touchline off Ryan Kent and Jota wasted no time in taking the quick throw-in. WIth the Rangers defence caught on its heels, Matt O’Riley squared the ball for Liel Abada, whose shot should really have been stopped by McLaughlin. He got a lot of hand on the ball.
10 min: Rangers midfielder John Lundstram gets a ticking-off from referee Nick Walsh for a robust challenge but the official’s yellow card stays in his pocket for now.
GOAL! Celtic 1-0 Rangers (Abada 8)
Celtic lead! The Rangers defence switches off, allowing Celtic to take a quick throw-in. The ball’s worked inside to the Rangers penalty area by O’Riley and an unmarked Abada hits it low and first time. In the Rangers goal, Jon McLaughlin gets a big hand to the ball but is unable to prevent from trickling over the line.
6 min: After that punctuated start, the game begins again in earnest with both sides yet to muster anything in the way of a threat on goal.
5 min: Celtic substitution: Kyogo leaves the field, in tears and holding his left shoulder. He’s replaced by Giorgos Giakoumakius.
3 min: Rangers go forward but are unable to get a cross in. Kyogo is back on the pitch but signals to the Celtic bench that he needs to be replaced. His wait for a first Old Firm goal will go on.
2 min: Play resumes but Kyogo continues to receive treatment on the sideline following what looked a fairly inoccuous tussle in the early seconds.
The first Old Firm derby of the season is go!
1 min: Following a rousing rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone from the home fans, play gets under way. Rangers win an early throw-in near the halfway line but Celtic striker Kyogo is already receiving treatment for a shoulder injury.
Not long now: Led by referee Nick Walsh and his team of match officials, the teams march out on to the Celtic Park sward, with the atmosphere in the stands upbeat and febrile. James Tavernier captains Rangers, while Callum McGregor wears the armband for Celtic.
Those teams: Celtic field the same team that hammered Dundee United 9-0 last weekend, while Giovanni van Bronckhorst has made two changes from the side that trounced Ross County in their most recent League excursion. Tom Lawrence is out with injury, while Scott Wright drops to the bench. Glen Kamara and the evergreen (but always Rangers blue) Steven Davis come into the side.
Celtic v Rangers line-ups
Celtic: Hart, Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, O’Riley, McGregor, Hatate, Abada, Furuhashi, Jota.
Subs: Jenz, Giakoumakis, Haksabanovic, Mooy, Turnbull, Siegrist, Maeda, Forrest, Ralston.
Rangers: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Sands, Barisic, Kamara, Lundstram, Tillman, Davis, Kent, Colak.
Subs: Yilmaz, McGregor, Jack, Morelos, Scott Wright, Sakala, Arfield, King, Devine.
Referee: Nick Walsh (Scotland)
Giovanni van Bronckhorst: “The stakes are always high in an Old Firm,” said the Rangers manager. “"We go out to go all in and win the game. If you see all the games we played last season, they were very close. Apart from the game in February. The performance then wasn’t at the level we needed to compete. All the games after, I think the margins were close. That will be the same tomorrow. If you have games so close, it will be decided by details. We need to make sure the details that will make the difference will be on our side.
On Alfredo Morelos: “Yes, Alfredo is in the squad for tomorrow,” he said. “I had good talks with him last Sunday. I think he understood the message and also worked hard to be back and help the team because he is still a quality player with lots of threats in front of goal. His training this week was very positive. He will be included tomorrow. You want players in the squad who can change games. Alfredo can do that. He is a big threat in front of goal. It gives me another option to play with him. I’m happy for all of us he’s back. He looks positive.”
Ange Postecoglou: “It’s a significant game,” said the Celtic manager with coniderable understatement in his pre-match press conference. “We obviously had an important game on Wednesday to make sure we maintained our good form and this will be a good challenge for us.
“They have started the season strongly as well and we’ll have to play to the best of our ability. At the same time, we’ve been consistent and improved a little every week, and that’s what we’ll take into this game. We know we are hard to stop when we are at our best.
“You want to be involved in big games and test yourself against the best all the time. If you don’t enjoy these games you’re better off not being part of a football club like this.”
Today’s match officials
Referee: Nick Walsh
Referee’s assistants: Graeme Stewart and Calum Spence
Fourth official: Steven McLean
Early team news
With Real Madrid coming to town on Tuesday, today marks the start of a big few days for Celtic and Ange Postocoglou is lucky enough to have a full squad to choose from. Having rested several big names for Wednesday’s League Cup win over Ross County, changes are expected. Matt O’Reilly and Reo Hatate look likely to return to midfield, replacing Aaron Mooy and David Turnball. With Kyogo set to lead the line, Jota and Liel Abada are the most likely contenders to play either side of him.
Rangers play Ajax on Wednesday and Giovanni van Bronckhorst has several players sidelined, with defenders Filip Helander, Ben Davies and John Souttar all ruled out. Further up the field, Tom Lawrence, Kemar Roofe and Ianis Hagi are also injured, while Alfredo Morelos has missed Rangers’ past two games on the back of questions over his fitness and attitude. His manager confirmed yesterday that the Colombian will be in today’s matchday squad.
Old Firm intrigue can't mask broader problems
“From the moment in 1985 when Aberdeen claimed the Premier Division, the gulf between one – or in this case, two – Scottish sides and the rest has never been so alarming,” writes Ewan Murray. “Those who ignore the chasm, largely on the basis of tribal obsession, are burying their heads in the sand. Scotland’s top flight has the unpredictability of the university boat race.”
Scottish Premiership: Celtic v Rangers
Celtic Park is the venue as reigning champions Celtic host Rangers in an eagerly anticipated first Old Firm derby of the season. Having won five games out of five, a win for the hosts would stretch their lead at the top of the table to five points, while victory for Rangers would see them leapfrog their Glasgow rivals to go top of the table.
With six Premiership goals to his name already, in-form striker Kyogo will be hoping to score his first in an Old Firm derby, while Croatian striker Antonio Colak will be getting his first taste of this fixture after bagging seven goals in all competitions for Rangers already this season. Kick-off at Celtic Park is at 12.30pm but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.