Report: Rangers 4 Celtic 2
Rangers came out on top after an entertaining game which gave us six goals. Four for Rangers and two for Celtic. It could have been even more as well with both sides hitting the woodwork, plus Kyle Lafferty having a perfectly good goal chopped off and missing two sitters.
Rangers made two changes to the side that beat Dundee United last week. Fit again Sasa Papac and Nikica Jelavic came in for Kirk Broadfoot and Juan Manual Ortiz. So Rangers lined up with McGregor in goals, Papac, Goian, Bocanegra and Whittaker at the back. A midfield of Wylde, Edu, Davis and Naismith, and Naismith and Jelavic up front.
For a game which ended up an entertaining one, the first fifteen to twenty minutes were pretty dull. Naismith opened the scoring on the 22nd minute in what was Rangers' first shot on goal. Naismith who had been Rangers' best player in the early exchanges finished superbly after a mistake by El Kaddouri who's clearance went straight to the Rangers attacking midfielder.
Celtic were back on level terms 12 minutes later after captain Scott Brown found Gary Hooper in the box, and the Celtic striker curled the ball round Allan McGregor. Even Rangers fans would have to admit it was a beautiful goal.
Celtic then took the lead after a howler from Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor. El Kaddouri hit what looked like a soft shot straight to McGregor but the goalie somehow let the ball slip through his legs and into the goal. Rangers were perhaps unlucky to go in 2-1 down at half-time.
Rangers came out of the trap quickly when the second half started. Steven Davis fired in a beautiful shot from long range which came right off the bar. Two weeks in a row the unlucky midfielder has been denied by the woodwork. Moments later Lafferty had a perfectly good goal chopped off for offside. A decision which the linesman got wrong.
Rangers did however get the equaliser they deserved and it was hitman Nikica Jelavic who got it after getting a free header in the box from a corner. Celtic's Zonal marking system letting them down badly.
Rangers were by far the better team in the second half with Celtic looking jaded after their game against Atletico Madrid on Thursday. Kyle Lafferty missed two great opportunities to put Rangers ahead. The first one a free header from close range, the second one he found himself through in goal after another mistake by El Kaddouri but snapped at the chance and sent it wide.
But like any good striker, Lafferty picked himself up and did eventually get a deserved goal which gave Rangers the lead for the second time in the game. This was after Celtic had hit the post themselves. It was a bit of a scrambled goal after Gregg Wylde had crossed, Lafferty's first effort was saved but he managed to scamble it in at the second attempt to get his first old firm goal.
Celtic were reduced to ten men when Charlie Mulgrew eventually got a second yellow card. His first yellow quite frankly deserved to be a red, but he had at least another two challenges in the game which should have been a second yellow before he finally got it and was ordered off. Any good manager would have had him subbed before it happened.
Rangers were playing out time in the dying minutes but just to make sure of the victory they grabbed a fourth and it was that man Steven Naismith again. Naismith volleyed in from Davis' cross to put the result beyond any doubt.
It was a much needed victory after a tough week for Rangers off the field. There is so much doubt over the future of the club but results like this will prove that Rangers will never die.
Rangers v Celtic Match Stats