Rangers were the better team by far in the first Glasgow derby of the season, with Steven Gerrard orchestrating a victory which will have caused Neil Lennon genuine concern. And if it hasn't, it certainly should have. Celtic looked devoid of ideas and were outplayed, out-thought,Read More »
Rangers take on the Belgian side in the Europa League on Thursday.
Former Liverpool man has been shaping his squad since day one to be able to put on the sort of performance they did against Celtic last weekend
One swallow might not make a summer, but the arrival of a second suggests that a breeding season could be at hand. Rangers’ success in the first Old Firm derby of the season – and indeed of 2020 – was impressive and merited but they have been here before and know the disappointment of a mishandled aftermath. When Steven Gerrard and his players posted their first win for nine years at Celtic Park last December the assumption was that they had a plausible chance of stopping their arch-foes equalling the record of nine successive title wins. Instead, they foundered after the Scottish Premiership’s winter break and could not muster back-to-back league wins before the Covid-19 shutdown in March. Whatever else shredded their self-belief, Rangers were undermined by the suspension of their top scorer, Alfredo Morelos, who incurred a needless caution for simulation in injury time of the December derby and was dismissed for the second time in as many weeks. Without hostile crowds to bait him this season, the Colombian has not been sent off but this is a man who can start an argument in an empty stadium and who spent much of his energy on Saturday engaged in futile feuds with Scott Brown and Shane Duffy. Morelos cuffed Brown’s head in an incident off the ball which was missed by the match officials, but not the TV cameras, a detail which will likely trigger the interest of the Scottish Football Association compliance officer. That would be an unwelcome development for Gerrard as he tries to avoid a repeat of the inability to exploit a rare advantage over Celtic. Fortunately for Rangers, while Morelos was engaged in his petty vendettas, Connor Goldson took on the burden of scoring and contributed a wholly improbable double which took the central defender’s total for this season to four goals, his tally in each of the preceding two seasons. From Celtic’s point of view, the goals they conceded were poorly defended and Shane Duffy will not enjoy watching his part in either of them again. The Irishman’s misjudged step backwards when James Tavernier delivered a free kick into the Celtic box in the ninth minute meant that Goldson was onside when he headed past Vasilis Barkas for the opener. The second goal, 10 minutes after the break, saw Goldson allowed two stabs at the ball in the heart of the Celtic box.