Hibernian

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Steven Gerrard’s first experience of league football as a manager looks a tasty prospect – a visit to last season’s Scottish runners-up, Aberdeen, at Pittodrie, a ground where the atmosphere always has an edge when the Ibrox side visit. Nor will Gerrard have much time to find his feet before the opening Old Firm collision of the season brings him up against his former Liverpool mentor, Brendan Rodgers, when Celtic host their arch-foes on either September 1 or 2. Celtic, meanwhile, open their season with a home fixture against newly-promoted Livingston, who last visited Celtic Park in the league on Boxing Day 2005 when Shaun Maloney and Shunsuke Nakamura scored to give Celtic a 2-1 win. The Hoops have already been rated as overwhelming favourites to take their championship run to eight successive titles, with SPFL sponsors Ladbrokes pricing Rodgers’ side at 1/10, with Rangers a distant 7/1 to break the sequence. Aberdeen come in at 18/1 with Neil Lennon’s Hibernian – who surprised last season by following promotion from the Championship with a fourth-place finish – well out at 80/1, although Easter Road partisans will be gratified that Hearts are even more remote at 100/1. Ladbrokes’ spokesman, David Macdonald, said: “The arrival of Steven Gerrard at Ibrox has certainly given Rangers fans some hope that Celtic's dominance will soon come to an end, but early betting suggests that Brendan Rodgers success will run into next season.” Celtic made history last season with a second successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours and are priced at 7/2 for an historic treble-treble, with Rangers 250/1 to lift all three trophies. Meanwhile, Club 1872, the Rangers fans’ shareholding group confirmed that it would invest £1 million in the forthcoming stock issue, which is intended to fund Gerrard’s reconstruction of the playing squad. The announcement came a year after Club 1872 paid £1 million to buy the shares of Mike Ashley’s MASH Holdings. Club 1872 Director Laura Fawkes said: “A huge thank you to all our members for their regular donations and those in our membership and the wider support who made one-off donations towards our share issue campaign. These funds will not only put more shares into the hands of Rangers supporters but will go directly into the club to assist with the rebuilding process now underway under Steven Gerrard. “For Club 1872 to raise this level of funding purely through donations from around 7500 Rangers supporters shows the huge potential of the organisation. What we can achieve together will be determined solely by how many supporters take part. “When we look at the number of supporters involved, we have only scratched the surface of the contribution that we can make to Rangers. We hope that investment into the club on this scale will show the thousands of supporters out there who have not yet joined us, that there are huge benefits of doing so.” “Club 1872 is still a young organisation and we are learning all the time but there is no question that if our support acts together we can be a formidable force, not only in pushing our football club back to where it belongs but also in making sure that the damaging events of the past can never be repeated.” Brendan Rodgers' Celtic are the team to beat Credit: pa So far, Gerrard has secured six players – Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield, Jamie Murphy, Ovie Ejaria, Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson – and met his squad for the first time on Friday morning at the club’s Auchenhowie base, which has also been the subject of an income-generating deal and is now named the Hummel Training Centre after their new kit manufacturer. Rangers have not been alone in making plans for the next campaign. Celtic have secured Odsonne Edouard, the 20-year-old PSG striker who spent last season on loan to the Scottish champions, for a club record transfer purchase fee, believed to be in the region of £9 million. Edouard, who scored 11 goals in 29 appearances, said: “Now that I’m back here I want to continue learning from both the manager and my team-mates as well. “There wasn’t a particular moment that I knew I wanted to stay. As soon as I came on board I wanted to impress enough to try and stay at Celtic. I was working closely with the manager on a project and I want to finish what I had started with the manager because I feel I am improving as a player. “It feels amazing to have finally signed. I’m very happy to be here. It was my number one objective to come back to the club. Now that I’m here, I’m going to focus on enjoying my time here, learning a lot from the coach and my team mates and just really try to enjoy my time here at this club. “The day we won the league against Rangers at Celtic Park has been one of the highlights of my time here at Celtic so far. At the beginning, it was a bit hard because I was adapting to a new country, a new club and new team-mates. “I needed time to settle down. Once I did that I started to score and really started enjoying my time here.” Hibs have also kept the services of a loan striker, Florian Kamberi, who became a favourite with the Easter Road faithful when he arrived from Grasshopper Zurich in January and scored nine goals in 14 outings. Kamberi was secured for £100,000, because of a purchase option open to Hibs and negotiated at the start of his loan period, despite interest in him from clubs – including Sunderland – evidently willing to pay £1 million or more.
Scottish Premiership fixtures 2018/19: Steven Gerrard's Rangers start with tricky trip to Aberdeen
Steven Gerrard’s first experience of league football as a manager looks a tasty prospect – a visit to last season’s Scottish runners-up, Aberdeen, at Pittodrie, a ground where the atmosphere always has an edge when the Ibrox side visit. Nor will Gerrard have much time to find his feet before the opening Old Firm collision of the season brings him up against his former Liverpool mentor, Brendan Rodgers, when Celtic host their arch-foes on either September 1 or 2. Celtic, meanwhile, open their season with a home fixture against newly-promoted Livingston, who last visited Celtic Park in the league on Boxing Day 2005 when Shaun Maloney and Shunsuke Nakamura scored to give Celtic a 2-1 win. The Hoops have already been rated as overwhelming favourites to take their championship run to eight successive titles, with SPFL sponsors Ladbrokes pricing Rodgers’ side at 1/10, with Rangers a distant 7/1 to break the sequence. Aberdeen come in at 18/1 with Neil Lennon’s Hibernian – who surprised last season by following promotion from the Championship with a fourth-place finish – well out at 80/1, although Easter Road partisans will be gratified that Hearts are even more remote at 100/1. Ladbrokes’ spokesman, David Macdonald, said: “The arrival of Steven Gerrard at Ibrox has certainly given Rangers fans some hope that Celtic's dominance will soon come to an end, but early betting suggests that Brendan Rodgers success will run into next season.” Celtic made history last season with a second successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours and are priced at 7/2 for an historic treble-treble, with Rangers 250/1 to lift all three trophies. Meanwhile, Club 1872, the Rangers fans’ shareholding group confirmed that it would invest £1 million in the forthcoming stock issue, which is intended to fund Gerrard’s reconstruction of the playing squad. The announcement came a year after Club 1872 paid £1 million to buy the shares of Mike Ashley’s MASH Holdings. Club 1872 Director Laura Fawkes said: “A huge thank you to all our members for their regular donations and those in our membership and the wider support who made one-off donations towards our share issue campaign. These funds will not only put more shares into the hands of Rangers supporters but will go directly into the club to assist with the rebuilding process now underway under Steven Gerrard. “For Club 1872 to raise this level of funding purely through donations from around 7500 Rangers supporters shows the huge potential of the organisation. What we can achieve together will be determined solely by how many supporters take part. “When we look at the number of supporters involved, we have only scratched the surface of the contribution that we can make to Rangers. We hope that investment into the club on this scale will show the thousands of supporters out there who have not yet joined us, that there are huge benefits of doing so.” “Club 1872 is still a young organisation and we are learning all the time but there is no question that if our support acts together we can be a formidable force, not only in pushing our football club back to where it belongs but also in making sure that the damaging events of the past can never be repeated.” Brendan Rodgers' Celtic are the team to beat Credit: pa So far, Gerrard has secured six players – Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield, Jamie Murphy, Ovie Ejaria, Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson – and met his squad for the first time on Friday morning at the club’s Auchenhowie base, which has also been the subject of an income-generating deal and is now named the Hummel Training Centre after their new kit manufacturer. Rangers have not been alone in making plans for the next campaign. Celtic have secured Odsonne Edouard, the 20-year-old PSG striker who spent last season on loan to the Scottish champions, for a club record transfer purchase fee, believed to be in the region of £9 million. Edouard, who scored 11 goals in 29 appearances, said: “Now that I’m back here I want to continue learning from both the manager and my team-mates as well. “There wasn’t a particular moment that I knew I wanted to stay. As soon as I came on board I wanted to impress enough to try and stay at Celtic. I was working closely with the manager on a project and I want to finish what I had started with the manager because I feel I am improving as a player. “It feels amazing to have finally signed. I’m very happy to be here. It was my number one objective to come back to the club. Now that I’m here, I’m going to focus on enjoying my time here, learning a lot from the coach and my team mates and just really try to enjoy my time here at this club. “The day we won the league against Rangers at Celtic Park has been one of the highlights of my time here at Celtic so far. At the beginning, it was a bit hard because I was adapting to a new country, a new club and new team-mates. “I needed time to settle down. Once I did that I started to score and really started enjoying my time here.” Hibs have also kept the services of a loan striker, Florian Kamberi, who became a favourite with the Easter Road faithful when he arrived from Grasshopper Zurich in January and scored nine goals in 14 outings. Kamberi was secured for £100,000, because of a purchase option open to Hibs and negotiated at the start of his loan period, despite interest in him from clubs – including Sunderland – evidently willing to pay £1 million or more.
Steven Gerrard’s first experience of league football as a manager looks a tasty prospect – a visit to last season’s Scottish runners-up, Aberdeen, at Pittodrie, a ground where the atmosphere always has an edge when the Ibrox side visit. Nor will Gerrard have much time to find his feet before the opening Old Firm collision of the season brings him up against his former Liverpool mentor, Brendan Rodgers, when Celtic host their arch-foes on either September 1 or 2. Celtic, meanwhile, open their season with a home fixture against newly-promoted Livingston, who last visited Celtic Park in the league on Boxing Day 2005 when Shaun Maloney and Shunsuke Nakamura scored to give Celtic a 2-1 win. The Hoops have already been rated as overwhelming favourites to take their championship run to eight successive titles, with SPFL sponsors Ladbrokes pricing Rodgers’ side at 1/10, with Rangers a distant 7/1 to break the sequence. Aberdeen come in at 18/1 with Neil Lennon’s Hibernian – who surprised last season by following promotion from the Championship with a fourth-place finish – well out at 80/1, although Easter Road partisans will be gratified that Hearts are even more remote at 100/1. Ladbrokes’ spokesman, David Macdonald, said: “The arrival of Steven Gerrard at Ibrox has certainly given Rangers fans some hope that Celtic's dominance will soon come to an end, but early betting suggests that Brendan Rodgers success will run into next season.” Celtic made history last season with a second successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours and are priced at 7/2 for an historic treble-treble, with Rangers 250/1 to lift all three trophies. Meanwhile, Club 1872, the Rangers fans’ shareholding group confirmed that it would invest £1 million in the forthcoming stock issue, which is intended to fund Gerrard’s reconstruction of the playing squad. The announcement came a year after Club 1872 paid £1 million to buy the shares of Mike Ashley’s MASH Holdings. Club 1872 Director Laura Fawkes said: “A huge thank you to all our members for their regular donations and those in our membership and the wider support who made one-off donations towards our share issue campaign. These funds will not only put more shares into the hands of Rangers supporters but will go directly into the club to assist with the rebuilding process now underway under Steven Gerrard. “For Club 1872 to raise this level of funding purely through donations from around 7500 Rangers supporters shows the huge potential of the organisation. What we can achieve together will be determined solely by how many supporters take part. “When we look at the number of supporters involved, we have only scratched the surface of the contribution that we can make to Rangers. We hope that investment into the club on this scale will show the thousands of supporters out there who have not yet joined us, that there are huge benefits of doing so.” “Club 1872 is still a young organisation and we are learning all the time but there is no question that if our support acts together we can be a formidable force, not only in pushing our football club back to where it belongs but also in making sure that the damaging events of the past can never be repeated.” Brendan Rodgers' Celtic are the team to beat Credit: pa So far, Gerrard has secured six players – Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield, Jamie Murphy, Ovie Ejaria, Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson – and met his squad for the first time on Friday morning at the club’s Auchenhowie base, which has also been the subject of an income-generating deal and is now named the Hummel Training Centre after their new kit manufacturer. Rangers have not been alone in making plans for the next campaign. Celtic have secured Odsonne Edouard, the 20-year-old PSG striker who spent last season on loan to the Scottish champions, for a club record transfer purchase fee, believed to be in the region of £9 million. Edouard, who scored 11 goals in 29 appearances, said: “Now that I’m back here I want to continue learning from both the manager and my team-mates as well. “There wasn’t a particular moment that I knew I wanted to stay. As soon as I came on board I wanted to impress enough to try and stay at Celtic. I was working closely with the manager on a project and I want to finish what I had started with the manager because I feel I am improving as a player. “It feels amazing to have finally signed. I’m very happy to be here. It was my number one objective to come back to the club. Now that I’m here, I’m going to focus on enjoying my time here, learning a lot from the coach and my team mates and just really try to enjoy my time here at this club. “The day we won the league against Rangers at Celtic Park has been one of the highlights of my time here at Celtic so far. At the beginning, it was a bit hard because I was adapting to a new country, a new club and new team-mates. “I needed time to settle down. Once I did that I started to score and really started enjoying my time here.” Hibs have also kept the services of a loan striker, Florian Kamberi, who became a favourite with the Easter Road faithful when he arrived from Grasshopper Zurich in January and scored nine goals in 14 outings. Kamberi was secured for £100,000, because of a purchase option open to Hibs and negotiated at the start of his loan period, despite interest in him from clubs – including Sunderland – evidently willing to pay £1 million or more.
Scottish Premiership fixtures 2018/19: Steven Gerrard's Rangers start with tricky trip to Aberdeen
Steven Gerrard’s first experience of league football as a manager looks a tasty prospect – a visit to last season’s Scottish runners-up, Aberdeen, at Pittodrie, a ground where the atmosphere always has an edge when the Ibrox side visit. Nor will Gerrard have much time to find his feet before the opening Old Firm collision of the season brings him up against his former Liverpool mentor, Brendan Rodgers, when Celtic host their arch-foes on either September 1 or 2. Celtic, meanwhile, open their season with a home fixture against newly-promoted Livingston, who last visited Celtic Park in the league on Boxing Day 2005 when Shaun Maloney and Shunsuke Nakamura scored to give Celtic a 2-1 win. The Hoops have already been rated as overwhelming favourites to take their championship run to eight successive titles, with SPFL sponsors Ladbrokes pricing Rodgers’ side at 1/10, with Rangers a distant 7/1 to break the sequence. Aberdeen come in at 18/1 with Neil Lennon’s Hibernian – who surprised last season by following promotion from the Championship with a fourth-place finish – well out at 80/1, although Easter Road partisans will be gratified that Hearts are even more remote at 100/1. Ladbrokes’ spokesman, David Macdonald, said: “The arrival of Steven Gerrard at Ibrox has certainly given Rangers fans some hope that Celtic's dominance will soon come to an end, but early betting suggests that Brendan Rodgers success will run into next season.” Celtic made history last season with a second successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours and are priced at 7/2 for an historic treble-treble, with Rangers 250/1 to lift all three trophies. Meanwhile, Club 1872, the Rangers fans’ shareholding group confirmed that it would invest £1 million in the forthcoming stock issue, which is intended to fund Gerrard’s reconstruction of the playing squad. The announcement came a year after Club 1872 paid £1 million to buy the shares of Mike Ashley’s MASH Holdings. Club 1872 Director Laura Fawkes said: “A huge thank you to all our members for their regular donations and those in our membership and the wider support who made one-off donations towards our share issue campaign. These funds will not only put more shares into the hands of Rangers supporters but will go directly into the club to assist with the rebuilding process now underway under Steven Gerrard. “For Club 1872 to raise this level of funding purely through donations from around 7500 Rangers supporters shows the huge potential of the organisation. What we can achieve together will be determined solely by how many supporters take part. “When we look at the number of supporters involved, we have only scratched the surface of the contribution that we can make to Rangers. We hope that investment into the club on this scale will show the thousands of supporters out there who have not yet joined us, that there are huge benefits of doing so.” “Club 1872 is still a young organisation and we are learning all the time but there is no question that if our support acts together we can be a formidable force, not only in pushing our football club back to where it belongs but also in making sure that the damaging events of the past can never be repeated.” Brendan Rodgers' Celtic are the team to beat Credit: pa So far, Gerrard has secured six players – Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield, Jamie Murphy, Ovie Ejaria, Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson – and met his squad for the first time on Friday morning at the club’s Auchenhowie base, which has also been the subject of an income-generating deal and is now named the Hummel Training Centre after their new kit manufacturer. Rangers have not been alone in making plans for the next campaign. Celtic have secured Odsonne Edouard, the 20-year-old PSG striker who spent last season on loan to the Scottish champions, for a club record transfer purchase fee, believed to be in the region of £9 million. Edouard, who scored 11 goals in 29 appearances, said: “Now that I’m back here I want to continue learning from both the manager and my team-mates as well. “There wasn’t a particular moment that I knew I wanted to stay. As soon as I came on board I wanted to impress enough to try and stay at Celtic. I was working closely with the manager on a project and I want to finish what I had started with the manager because I feel I am improving as a player. “It feels amazing to have finally signed. I’m very happy to be here. It was my number one objective to come back to the club. Now that I’m here, I’m going to focus on enjoying my time here, learning a lot from the coach and my team mates and just really try to enjoy my time here at this club. “The day we won the league against Rangers at Celtic Park has been one of the highlights of my time here at Celtic so far. At the beginning, it was a bit hard because I was adapting to a new country, a new club and new team-mates. “I needed time to settle down. Once I did that I started to score and really started enjoying my time here.” Hibs have also kept the services of a loan striker, Florian Kamberi, who became a favourite with the Easter Road faithful when he arrived from Grasshopper Zurich in January and scored nine goals in 14 outings. Kamberi was secured for £100,000, because of a purchase option open to Hibs and negotiated at the start of his loan period, despite interest in him from clubs – including Sunderland – evidently willing to pay £1 million or more.
Football - Hibernian v Hamilton Academical - Scottish Premiership Play-Off Final Second Leg - Easter Road - 25/5/14 Hibernian manager Terry Butcher Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Graham Stuart / Livepic
Hibernian v Hamilton Academical - Scottish Premiership Play-Off Final Second Leg
Football - Hibernian v Hamilton Academical - Scottish Premiership Play-Off Final Second Leg - Easter Road - 25/5/14 Hibernian manager Terry Butcher Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Graham Stuart / Livepic
Football - Hibernian v Hamilton Academical - Scottish Premiership Play-Off Final Second Leg - Easter Road - 25/5/14 Hibernian manager Terry Butcher Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Graham Stuart Livepic
Hibernian v Hamilton Academical - Scottish Premiership Play-Off Final Second Leg
Football - Hibernian v Hamilton Academical - Scottish Premiership Play-Off Final Second Leg - Easter Road - 25/5/14 Hibernian manager Terry Butcher Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Graham Stuart Livepic
Socceroos sponsor Caltex are using Tim Cahill's picture in an advertising campaign for the World Cup, forcing Australia to deny Cahill's selection was for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed (AFP Photo/Saeed KHAN)
Socceroos sponsor Caltex are using Tim Cahill's picture in an advertising campaign for the World Cup, forcing Australia to deny Cahill's selection was for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed
Socceroos sponsor Caltex are using Tim Cahill's picture in an advertising campaign for the World Cup, forcing Australia to deny Cahill's selection was for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed (AFP Photo/Saeed KHAN)
Socceroos sponsor Caltex are using Tim Cahill's picture in an advertising campaign for the World Cup, forcing Australia to deny Cahill's selection was for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed
Socceroos sponsor Caltex are using Tim Cahill's picture in an advertising campaign for the World Cup, forcing Australia to deny Cahill's selection was for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed
Socceroos sponsor Caltex are using Tim Cahill's picture in an advertising campaign for the World Cup, forcing Australia to deny Cahill's selection was for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed
A makeshift and inexperienced Scotland side were beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru at the frenzied Estadio Nacional in Lima. It was all going pretty well for Alex McLeish's men until the 37th minute when Christian Cueva scored from the spot after defender Scott McKenna had handled in the penalty area. Lokomotiv Moscow's Jefferson Farfan made it 2-0 from close range in the 47th minute with Millwall keeper Jordan Archer, one of four starting debutants, looking culpable again after his misjudgement had led to the earlier penalty. Peru are on the way to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and in front of 40,000 exuberant home fans Ricardo Gareca's side, ranked 11th in the world, threatened to impose more damage. However, the Scots steadied themselves and looked solid enough while ending the night with seven new faces having made their first appearances for the national team. McLeish said: "The first goal was a big set-back. I felt we contained Peru very well, they are a good team, technically good, very strong, quick. "It was very disappointing to lose the goal at the moment we lost it, just before half-time. "It was really a basic ball over the top and normally it should be easy for the defender, but we didn't deal with it well. But overall I was happy with the team's display. Scotland fielded seven debutants during the match in Lima Credit: reuters "I thought the defenders were very strong, very organised, didn't make it easy for Peru. The second half, after the early goal, it gave them some more confidence to show their skills and at that moment in the game it was a bit difficult. "We got over it and made a couple of chances in the end, but never really threatened the goal. But maybe if we did other things we could maybe have had a goal out of the game." It was always going to be difficult for McLeish to shape up a team capable of giving the South Americans a real test. After six call-offs to a squad which was already without a clutch of regulars, the former Scotland defender had nine uncapped players, including all three keepers, with Archer selected for the first time. Kilmarnock right-back Stephen O'Donnell and Hibernian duo, Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch, were included in a side captained by Blackburn Rovers skipper Charlie Mulgrew who, in winning his 35th cap, was the most experienced player in the team. The Incas, on an unprecedented 12-game unbeaten run, were missing their captain Paolo Guerrero to a 14-month drug ban but had the influential Farfan leading the line. Peru are preparing for the World Cup in Russia Credit: reuters Archer started the game strongly, diving low to his right within minutes to make a decent save from Cueva's 25-yard free-kick. However, the Scots played their way into the game, growing in confidence with each passing minute. Archer, though, was tested again in the 32nd minute, this time by a Farfan drive from outside the box. But when the Lokomotiv striker's curling shot at goal was blocked by the hand of McKenna, after the Scotland keeper had rushed out to the edge of the box to collide with Mulgrew, Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero pointed to the spot. Cueva fired his penalty low and hard into the corner of the net and suddenly the home side raised their game with Archer spilling a powerful drive from Andre Carrillo, with the Scots surviving. However, two minutes after the restart Archer again did not look too clever as Farfan's 12-yard drive from a Edison Flores cut-back went under his body. In the 63rd minute Oliver McBurnie and Callum Paterson replaced Jamie Murphy and John McGinn before Celtic new boy Lewis Morgan replaced Matt Phillips to makes his debut and there was a tinkering of formation. Paterson almost found McBurnie with a good ball to the back post, a move that encouraged the few hundred Tartan Army inside the ground who saw Graeme Shinnie replace McGeouch in the 76th minute to make his debut. McLeish ext takes his inexperienced team to face Mexico at the Azteca stadium on June 2.
Makeshift Scotland beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru
A makeshift and inexperienced Scotland side were beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru at the frenzied Estadio Nacional in Lima. It was all going pretty well for Alex McLeish's men until the 37th minute when Christian Cueva scored from the spot after defender Scott McKenna had handled in the penalty area. Lokomotiv Moscow's Jefferson Farfan made it 2-0 from close range in the 47th minute with Millwall keeper Jordan Archer, one of four starting debutants, looking culpable again after his misjudgement had led to the earlier penalty. Peru are on the way to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and in front of 40,000 exuberant home fans Ricardo Gareca's side, ranked 11th in the world, threatened to impose more damage. However, the Scots steadied themselves and looked solid enough while ending the night with seven new faces having made their first appearances for the national team. McLeish said: "The first goal was a big set-back. I felt we contained Peru very well, they are a good team, technically good, very strong, quick. "It was very disappointing to lose the goal at the moment we lost it, just before half-time. "It was really a basic ball over the top and normally it should be easy for the defender, but we didn't deal with it well. But overall I was happy with the team's display. Scotland fielded seven debutants during the match in Lima Credit: reuters "I thought the defenders were very strong, very organised, didn't make it easy for Peru. The second half, after the early goal, it gave them some more confidence to show their skills and at that moment in the game it was a bit difficult. "We got over it and made a couple of chances in the end, but never really threatened the goal. But maybe if we did other things we could maybe have had a goal out of the game." It was always going to be difficult for McLeish to shape up a team capable of giving the South Americans a real test. After six call-offs to a squad which was already without a clutch of regulars, the former Scotland defender had nine uncapped players, including all three keepers, with Archer selected for the first time. Kilmarnock right-back Stephen O'Donnell and Hibernian duo, Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch, were included in a side captained by Blackburn Rovers skipper Charlie Mulgrew who, in winning his 35th cap, was the most experienced player in the team. The Incas, on an unprecedented 12-game unbeaten run, were missing their captain Paolo Guerrero to a 14-month drug ban but had the influential Farfan leading the line. Peru are preparing for the World Cup in Russia Credit: reuters Archer started the game strongly, diving low to his right within minutes to make a decent save from Cueva's 25-yard free-kick. However, the Scots played their way into the game, growing in confidence with each passing minute. Archer, though, was tested again in the 32nd minute, this time by a Farfan drive from outside the box. But when the Lokomotiv striker's curling shot at goal was blocked by the hand of McKenna, after the Scotland keeper had rushed out to the edge of the box to collide with Mulgrew, Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero pointed to the spot. Cueva fired his penalty low and hard into the corner of the net and suddenly the home side raised their game with Archer spilling a powerful drive from Andre Carrillo, with the Scots surviving. However, two minutes after the restart Archer again did not look too clever as Farfan's 12-yard drive from a Edison Flores cut-back went under his body. In the 63rd minute Oliver McBurnie and Callum Paterson replaced Jamie Murphy and John McGinn before Celtic new boy Lewis Morgan replaced Matt Phillips to makes his debut and there was a tinkering of formation. Paterson almost found McBurnie with a good ball to the back post, a move that encouraged the few hundred Tartan Army inside the ground who saw Graeme Shinnie replace McGeouch in the 76th minute to make his debut. McLeish ext takes his inexperienced team to face Mexico at the Azteca stadium on June 2.
A makeshift and inexperienced Scotland side were beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru at the frenzied Estadio Nacional in Lima. It was all going pretty well for Alex McLeish's men until the 37th minute when Christian Cueva scored from the spot after defender Scott McKenna had handled in the penalty area. Lokomotiv Moscow's Jefferson Farfan made it 2-0 from close range in the 47th minute with Millwall keeper Jordan Archer, one of four starting debutants, looking culpable again after his misjudgement had led to the earlier penalty. Peru are on the way to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and in front of 40,000 exuberant home fans Ricardo Gareca's side, ranked 11th in the world, threatened to impose more damage. However, the Scots steadied themselves and looked solid enough while ending the night with seven new faces having made their first appearances for the national team. McLeish said: "The first goal was a big set-back. I felt we contained Peru very well, they are a good team, technically good, very strong, quick. "It was very disappointing to lose the goal at the moment we lost it, just before half-time. "It was really a basic ball over the top and normally it should be easy for the defender, but we didn't deal with it well. But overall I was happy with the team's display. Scotland fielded seven debutants during the match in Lima Credit: reuters "I thought the defenders were very strong, very organised, didn't make it easy for Peru. The second half, after the early goal, it gave them some more confidence to show their skills and at that moment in the game it was a bit difficult. "We got over it and made a couple of chances in the end, but never really threatened the goal. But maybe if we did other things we could maybe have had a goal out of the game." It was always going to be difficult for McLeish to shape up a team capable of giving the South Americans a real test. After six call-offs to a squad which was already without a clutch of regulars, the former Scotland defender had nine uncapped players, including all three keepers, with Archer selected for the first time. Kilmarnock right-back Stephen O'Donnell and Hibernian duo, Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch, were included in a side captained by Blackburn Rovers skipper Charlie Mulgrew who, in winning his 35th cap, was the most experienced player in the team. The Incas, on an unprecedented 12-game unbeaten run, were missing their captain Paolo Guerrero to a 14-month drug ban but had the influential Farfan leading the line. Peru are preparing for the World Cup in Russia Credit: reuters Archer started the game strongly, diving low to his right within minutes to make a decent save from Cueva's 25-yard free-kick. However, the Scots played their way into the game, growing in confidence with each passing minute. Archer, though, was tested again in the 32nd minute, this time by a Farfan drive from outside the box. But when the Lokomotiv striker's curling shot at goal was blocked by the hand of McKenna, after the Scotland keeper had rushed out to the edge of the box to collide with Mulgrew, Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero pointed to the spot. Cueva fired his penalty low and hard into the corner of the net and suddenly the home side raised their game with Archer spilling a powerful drive from Andre Carrillo, with the Scots surviving. However, two minutes after the restart Archer again did not look too clever as Farfan's 12-yard drive from a Edison Flores cut-back went under his body. In the 63rd minute Oliver McBurnie and Callum Paterson replaced Jamie Murphy and John McGinn before Celtic new boy Lewis Morgan replaced Matt Phillips to makes his debut and there was a tinkering of formation. Paterson almost found McBurnie with a good ball to the back post, a move that encouraged the few hundred Tartan Army inside the ground who saw Graeme Shinnie replace McGeouch in the 76th minute to make his debut. McLeish ext takes his inexperienced team to face Mexico at the Azteca stadium on June 2.
Makeshift Scotland beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru
A makeshift and inexperienced Scotland side were beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru at the frenzied Estadio Nacional in Lima. It was all going pretty well for Alex McLeish's men until the 37th minute when Christian Cueva scored from the spot after defender Scott McKenna had handled in the penalty area. Lokomotiv Moscow's Jefferson Farfan made it 2-0 from close range in the 47th minute with Millwall keeper Jordan Archer, one of four starting debutants, looking culpable again after his misjudgement had led to the earlier penalty. Peru are on the way to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and in front of 40,000 exuberant home fans Ricardo Gareca's side, ranked 11th in the world, threatened to impose more damage. However, the Scots steadied themselves and looked solid enough while ending the night with seven new faces having made their first appearances for the national team. McLeish said: "The first goal was a big set-back. I felt we contained Peru very well, they are a good team, technically good, very strong, quick. "It was very disappointing to lose the goal at the moment we lost it, just before half-time. "It was really a basic ball over the top and normally it should be easy for the defender, but we didn't deal with it well. But overall I was happy with the team's display. Scotland fielded seven debutants during the match in Lima Credit: reuters "I thought the defenders were very strong, very organised, didn't make it easy for Peru. The second half, after the early goal, it gave them some more confidence to show their skills and at that moment in the game it was a bit difficult. "We got over it and made a couple of chances in the end, but never really threatened the goal. But maybe if we did other things we could maybe have had a goal out of the game." It was always going to be difficult for McLeish to shape up a team capable of giving the South Americans a real test. After six call-offs to a squad which was already without a clutch of regulars, the former Scotland defender had nine uncapped players, including all three keepers, with Archer selected for the first time. Kilmarnock right-back Stephen O'Donnell and Hibernian duo, Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch, were included in a side captained by Blackburn Rovers skipper Charlie Mulgrew who, in winning his 35th cap, was the most experienced player in the team. The Incas, on an unprecedented 12-game unbeaten run, were missing their captain Paolo Guerrero to a 14-month drug ban but had the influential Farfan leading the line. Peru are preparing for the World Cup in Russia Credit: reuters Archer started the game strongly, diving low to his right within minutes to make a decent save from Cueva's 25-yard free-kick. However, the Scots played their way into the game, growing in confidence with each passing minute. Archer, though, was tested again in the 32nd minute, this time by a Farfan drive from outside the box. But when the Lokomotiv striker's curling shot at goal was blocked by the hand of McKenna, after the Scotland keeper had rushed out to the edge of the box to collide with Mulgrew, Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero pointed to the spot. Cueva fired his penalty low and hard into the corner of the net and suddenly the home side raised their game with Archer spilling a powerful drive from Andre Carrillo, with the Scots surviving. However, two minutes after the restart Archer again did not look too clever as Farfan's 12-yard drive from a Edison Flores cut-back went under his body. In the 63rd minute Oliver McBurnie and Callum Paterson replaced Jamie Murphy and John McGinn before Celtic new boy Lewis Morgan replaced Matt Phillips to makes his debut and there was a tinkering of formation. Paterson almost found McBurnie with a good ball to the back post, a move that encouraged the few hundred Tartan Army inside the ground who saw Graeme Shinnie replace McGeouch in the 76th minute to make his debut. McLeish ext takes his inexperienced team to face Mexico at the Azteca stadium on June 2.
A makeshift and inexperienced Scotland side were beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru at the frenzied Estadio Nacional in Lima. It was all going pretty well for Alex McLeish's men until the 37th minute when Christian Cueva scored from the spot after defender Scott McKenna had handled in the penalty area. Lokomotiv Moscow's Jefferson Farfan made it 2-0 from close range in the 47th minute with Millwall keeper Jordan Archer, one of four starting debutants, looking culpable again after his misjudgement had led to the earlier penalty. Peru are on the way to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and in front of 40,000 exuberant home fans Ricardo Gareca's side, ranked 11th in the world, threatened to impose more damage. However, the Scots steadied themselves and looked solid enough while ending the night with seven new faces having made their first appearances for the national team. McLeish said: "The first goal was a big set-back. I felt we contained Peru very well, they are a good team, technically good, very strong, quick. "It was very disappointing to lose the goal at the moment we lost it, just before half-time. "It was really a basic ball over the top and normally it should be easy for the defender, but we didn't deal with it well. But overall I was happy with the team's display. Scotland fielded seven debutants during the match in Lima Credit: reuters "I thought the defenders were very strong, very organised, didn't make it easy for Peru. The second half, after the early goal, it gave them some more confidence to show their skills and at that moment in the game it was a bit difficult. "We got over it and made a couple of chances in the end, but never really threatened the goal. But maybe if we did other things we could maybe have had a goal out of the game." It was always going to be difficult for McLeish to shape up a team capable of giving the South Americans a real test. After six call-offs to a squad which was already without a clutch of regulars, the former Scotland defender had nine uncapped players, including all three keepers, with Archer selected for the first time. Kilmarnock right-back Stephen O'Donnell and Hibernian duo, Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch, were included in a side captained by Blackburn Rovers skipper Charlie Mulgrew who, in winning his 35th cap, was the most experienced player in the team. The Incas, on an unprecedented 12-game unbeaten run, were missing their captain Paolo Guerrero to a 14-month drug ban but had the influential Farfan leading the line. Peru are preparing for the World Cup in Russia Credit: reuters Archer started the game strongly, diving low to his right within minutes to make a decent save from Cueva's 25-yard free-kick. However, the Scots played their way into the game, growing in confidence with each passing minute. Archer, though, was tested again in the 32nd minute, this time by a Farfan drive from outside the box. But when the Lokomotiv striker's curling shot at goal was blocked by the hand of McKenna, after the Scotland keeper had rushed out to the edge of the box to collide with Mulgrew, Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero pointed to the spot. Cueva fired his penalty low and hard into the corner of the net and suddenly the home side raised their game with Archer spilling a powerful drive from Andre Carrillo, with the Scots surviving. However, two minutes after the restart Archer again did not look too clever as Farfan's 12-yard drive from a Edison Flores cut-back went under his body. In the 63rd minute Oliver McBurnie and Callum Paterson replaced Jamie Murphy and John McGinn before Celtic new boy Lewis Morgan replaced Matt Phillips to makes his debut and there was a tinkering of formation. Paterson almost found McBurnie with a good ball to the back post, a move that encouraged the few hundred Tartan Army inside the ground who saw Graeme Shinnie replace McGeouch in the 76th minute to make his debut. McLeish ext takes his inexperienced team to face Mexico at the Azteca stadium on June 2.
Makeshift Scotland beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru
A makeshift and inexperienced Scotland side were beaten 2-0 by World Cup-bound Peru at the frenzied Estadio Nacional in Lima. It was all going pretty well for Alex McLeish's men until the 37th minute when Christian Cueva scored from the spot after defender Scott McKenna had handled in the penalty area. Lokomotiv Moscow's Jefferson Farfan made it 2-0 from close range in the 47th minute with Millwall keeper Jordan Archer, one of four starting debutants, looking culpable again after his misjudgement had led to the earlier penalty. Peru are on the way to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and in front of 40,000 exuberant home fans Ricardo Gareca's side, ranked 11th in the world, threatened to impose more damage. However, the Scots steadied themselves and looked solid enough while ending the night with seven new faces having made their first appearances for the national team. McLeish said: "The first goal was a big set-back. I felt we contained Peru very well, they are a good team, technically good, very strong, quick. "It was very disappointing to lose the goal at the moment we lost it, just before half-time. "It was really a basic ball over the top and normally it should be easy for the defender, but we didn't deal with it well. But overall I was happy with the team's display. Scotland fielded seven debutants during the match in Lima Credit: reuters "I thought the defenders were very strong, very organised, didn't make it easy for Peru. The second half, after the early goal, it gave them some more confidence to show their skills and at that moment in the game it was a bit difficult. "We got over it and made a couple of chances in the end, but never really threatened the goal. But maybe if we did other things we could maybe have had a goal out of the game." It was always going to be difficult for McLeish to shape up a team capable of giving the South Americans a real test. After six call-offs to a squad which was already without a clutch of regulars, the former Scotland defender had nine uncapped players, including all three keepers, with Archer selected for the first time. Kilmarnock right-back Stephen O'Donnell and Hibernian duo, Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch, were included in a side captained by Blackburn Rovers skipper Charlie Mulgrew who, in winning his 35th cap, was the most experienced player in the team. The Incas, on an unprecedented 12-game unbeaten run, were missing their captain Paolo Guerrero to a 14-month drug ban but had the influential Farfan leading the line. Peru are preparing for the World Cup in Russia Credit: reuters Archer started the game strongly, diving low to his right within minutes to make a decent save from Cueva's 25-yard free-kick. However, the Scots played their way into the game, growing in confidence with each passing minute. Archer, though, was tested again in the 32nd minute, this time by a Farfan drive from outside the box. But when the Lokomotiv striker's curling shot at goal was blocked by the hand of McKenna, after the Scotland keeper had rushed out to the edge of the box to collide with Mulgrew, Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero pointed to the spot. Cueva fired his penalty low and hard into the corner of the net and suddenly the home side raised their game with Archer spilling a powerful drive from Andre Carrillo, with the Scots surviving. However, two minutes after the restart Archer again did not look too clever as Farfan's 12-yard drive from a Edison Flores cut-back went under his body. In the 63rd minute Oliver McBurnie and Callum Paterson replaced Jamie Murphy and John McGinn before Celtic new boy Lewis Morgan replaced Matt Phillips to makes his debut and there was a tinkering of formation. Paterson almost found McBurnie with a good ball to the back post, a move that encouraged the few hundred Tartan Army inside the ground who saw Graeme Shinnie replace McGeouch in the 76th minute to make his debut. McLeish ext takes his inexperienced team to face Mexico at the Azteca stadium on June 2.
Jamie Maclaren celebrates scoring for Hibernian against Rangers last month.
Jamie Maclaren brought into Socceroos World Cup squad
Jamie Maclaren celebrates scoring for Hibernian against Rangers last month.
Jamie Maclaren has been re-called to the Socceroos squad due to an ongoing injury to Tomi Juric
Hibernian v Rangers
Jamie Maclaren has been re-called to the Socceroos squad due to an ongoing injury to Tomi Juric
Australian football chiefs were forced to deny that veteran Tim Cahill was in the country's World Cup squad for commercial reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed.
FIFA World Cup 2018: Australian FA denies Tim Cahill's inclusion for commercial reasons as in-form Jamie Maclaren misses out
Australian football chiefs were forced to deny that veteran Tim Cahill was in the country's World Cup squad for commercial reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed.
Australia's Socceroos key sponsor Caltex displays veteran Tim Cahill's picture as new advertising campaign at the company's petrol station in Sydney on May 15, 2018. Australian football chiefs were forced to deny that veteran Tim Cahill was in the country's World Cup squad for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed
Australia's Socceroos key sponsor Caltex displays veteran Tim Cahill's picture as new advertising campaign at the company's petrol station in Sydney on May 15, 2018. Australian football chiefs were forced to deny that veteran Tim Cahill was in the country's World Cup squad for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed
Australia's Socceroos key sponsor Caltex displays veteran Tim Cahill's picture as new advertising campaign at the company's petrol station in Sydney on May 15, 2018. Australian football chiefs were forced to deny that veteran Tim Cahill was in the country's World Cup squad for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed
Australia's Socceroos key sponsor Caltex displays veteran Tim Cahill's picture as new advertising campaign at the company's petrol station in Sydney on May 15, 2018. Australian football chiefs were forced to deny that veteran Tim Cahill was in the country's World Cup squad for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed. (AFP Photo/Saeed KHAN)
Australia's Socceroos key sponsor Caltex displays veteran Tim Cahill's picture as new advertising campaign at the company's petrol station in Sydney on May 15, 2018. Australian football chiefs were forced to deny that veteran Tim Cahill was in the country's World Cup squad for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed
Australia's Socceroos key sponsor Caltex displays veteran Tim Cahill's picture as new advertising campaign at the company's petrol station in Sydney on May 15, 2018. Australian football chiefs were forced to deny that veteran Tim Cahill was in the country's World Cup squad for commerical reasons after in-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed. (AFP Photo/Saeed KHAN)
Hibernian's Jamie Maclaren scored a last minute equaliser to rescue a 5-5 draw with Rangers on a thrilling final day in the Scottish Premiership.
Hibs snatch late equaliser in 10-goal thriller with Rangers
Hibernian's Jamie Maclaren scored a last minute equaliser to rescue a 5-5 draw with Rangers on a thrilling final day in the Scottish Premiership.
Hibernian's Jamie Maclaren scored a last minute equaliser to rescue a 5-5 draw with Rangers on a thrilling final day in the Scottish Premiership.
Hibs snatch late equaliser in 10-goal thriller with Rangers
Hibernian's Jamie Maclaren scored a last minute equaliser to rescue a 5-5 draw with Rangers on a thrilling final day in the Scottish Premiership.
Hibernian's Jamie Maclaren scored a last minute equaliser to rescue a 5-5 draw with Rangers on a thrilling final day in the Scottish Premiership.
Hibs snatch late equaliser in 10-goal thriller with Rangers
Hibernian's Jamie Maclaren scored a last minute equaliser to rescue a 5-5 draw with Rangers on a thrilling final day in the Scottish Premiership.
The green and gold forward has hit form at the right time
Socceroos Watch: Hat-trick hero Jamie Maclaren earns Hibernian draw against Rangers
The green and gold forward has hit form at the right time
Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren has scored a hat-trick in Hibernian's 5-5 draw with Rangers
WC18 Aust
Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren has scored a hat-trick in Hibernian's 5-5 draw with Rangers
A ridiculously eventful climax to the Scottish Premiership schedule saw Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Rangers embroiled in a spectacular resolution of the final league placings. Celtic, of course, were guaranteed a seventh successive title party, which duly proceeded at a packed Parkhead, but only after they had lost at home to Scottish opponents for the first time since Brendan Rodgers became Hoops manager in the summer of 2016. The setback was inflicted by Aberdeen, for whom Andrew Considine’s 47th-minute goal ended a lamentable run of 25 consecutive defeats over 14 years of visits to the east end of Glasgow, hence the visitors’ celebrations after the final whistle, although these were marred somewhat when Shay Logan was shown a post-match red card for his part in an altercation with Mikael Lustig. Considine’s contribution also guaranteed the Dons the runners-up spot for the fourth year in a row and quashed Rangers’ hopes of a second-place finish to an otherwise dispiriting season. In fact, within 22 minutes of their visit to Easter Road, Rangers looked on the verge of a humiliation as great as those inflicted by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final and in the title clincher last month. Hibernian raced to a 3-0 lead, beginning their scoring spree with a Florian Kamberi penalty after Jamie Maclaren had been fouled by David Bates, the Rangers defender who was playing his last game for the club before heading to Hamburg during the close season. Jamie Maclaren scrambles home a 90th minute equaliser Credit: Getty images Scott Allan made it 2-0 when he connected at close range with a prompt from Vykintas Slivka and Maclaren netted Hibs’ third with a header from a Lewis Stevenson cross midway through the first half. At that stage of the proceedings there seemed to be a significant chance that Hibs could get to 6-0, the scoreline required to displace the Ibrox side from third place in the table. Instead, Rangers retorted with three goals inside a quarter of an hour. The revival began when James Tavernier beat Ofir Marciano with a right-foot shot from the centre of the Hibs’ box and it continued two minutes later when Jordan Rossiter found the mark from almost the same position. Bruno Alves replaced Sean Goss in the Rangers midfield – Goss punching the dugout on his way off – and the Portuguese centre-back’s presence paid a dividend five minutes before the break when he equalised with a beautifully controlled free-kick. Astoundingly, 10 minutes into the second half, Rangers went ahead with a Jason Holt shot and increased their lead when Holt supplied Jason Windass for a scoring finish just before the hour mark. The visitors’ celebrations were promptly curtailed as Maclaren struck again for his second of the afternoon and, with five minutes remaining, Rangers were reduced to 10 men when Holt was shown a second yellow card for a needless foul on John McGinn. Easter Road was in a ferment as the contest moved into six minutes of stoppage time, midway through which Maclaren turned a pass from Brandon Barker over the line to make it 5-5. Aberdeen secured second place Credit: PA For Rangers, the most significant consequence of the afternoon’s results is that Steven Gerrard’s first competitive game in charge at Ibrox will be the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round on July 12. Hibs, meanwhile, will play in Europe if Celtic beat Motherwell in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on Saturday, but if the Steelmen upset the odds at Hampden Park, Neil Lennon’s men will not qualify for the Europa League. Lennon, who had questioned his own future at Hibs after the derby defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday – and who had missed training and his media briefing on Friday – drew back from his threat to leave Easter Road. “I’ve had a bad virus the last two or three weeks and I just couldn’t get out of bed on Friday,” he said. “I know the conspiracy theories were flying around but I wasn’t well and thankfully I’m coming out of the remnants now. “However, what I have done is opened up a lot of unnecessary speculation and analysis of my relationship with the board and there’s just nothing there. The board have backed me every step of the way. “I do not make demands of the board, I do not throw the toys out of the pram – in fact I’m the exact opposite and have been throughout my managerial career. They gave me extra funds in January if we wanted to sign an extra player and we decided not to go with that. “All the speculation about me making demands or being unhappy with the club couldn’t be further from the truth.” Indeed, Lennon finished his season by being sent off for running to the pitch to gesture towards the Rangers support when Hibs made it 5-5, although his grinning departure did not suggest contrition. “I was getting a bit of stick from the Rangers support so I gave them some back,” he said. “It was bonkers. We were 3-0 up but – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – we needed the fourth.”
Aberdeen gatecrash Celtic's title party as Scottish Premiership comes to feverish climax
A ridiculously eventful climax to the Scottish Premiership schedule saw Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Rangers embroiled in a spectacular resolution of the final league placings. Celtic, of course, were guaranteed a seventh successive title party, which duly proceeded at a packed Parkhead, but only after they had lost at home to Scottish opponents for the first time since Brendan Rodgers became Hoops manager in the summer of 2016. The setback was inflicted by Aberdeen, for whom Andrew Considine’s 47th-minute goal ended a lamentable run of 25 consecutive defeats over 14 years of visits to the east end of Glasgow, hence the visitors’ celebrations after the final whistle, although these were marred somewhat when Shay Logan was shown a post-match red card for his part in an altercation with Mikael Lustig. Considine’s contribution also guaranteed the Dons the runners-up spot for the fourth year in a row and quashed Rangers’ hopes of a second-place finish to an otherwise dispiriting season. In fact, within 22 minutes of their visit to Easter Road, Rangers looked on the verge of a humiliation as great as those inflicted by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final and in the title clincher last month. Hibernian raced to a 3-0 lead, beginning their scoring spree with a Florian Kamberi penalty after Jamie Maclaren had been fouled by David Bates, the Rangers defender who was playing his last game for the club before heading to Hamburg during the close season. Jamie Maclaren scrambles home a 90th minute equaliser Credit: Getty images Scott Allan made it 2-0 when he connected at close range with a prompt from Vykintas Slivka and Maclaren netted Hibs’ third with a header from a Lewis Stevenson cross midway through the first half. At that stage of the proceedings there seemed to be a significant chance that Hibs could get to 6-0, the scoreline required to displace the Ibrox side from third place in the table. Instead, Rangers retorted with three goals inside a quarter of an hour. The revival began when James Tavernier beat Ofir Marciano with a right-foot shot from the centre of the Hibs’ box and it continued two minutes later when Jordan Rossiter found the mark from almost the same position. Bruno Alves replaced Sean Goss in the Rangers midfield – Goss punching the dugout on his way off – and the Portuguese centre-back’s presence paid a dividend five minutes before the break when he equalised with a beautifully controlled free-kick. Astoundingly, 10 minutes into the second half, Rangers went ahead with a Jason Holt shot and increased their lead when Holt supplied Jason Windass for a scoring finish just before the hour mark. The visitors’ celebrations were promptly curtailed as Maclaren struck again for his second of the afternoon and, with five minutes remaining, Rangers were reduced to 10 men when Holt was shown a second yellow card for a needless foul on John McGinn. Easter Road was in a ferment as the contest moved into six minutes of stoppage time, midway through which Maclaren turned a pass from Brandon Barker over the line to make it 5-5. Aberdeen secured second place Credit: PA For Rangers, the most significant consequence of the afternoon’s results is that Steven Gerrard’s first competitive game in charge at Ibrox will be the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round on July 12. Hibs, meanwhile, will play in Europe if Celtic beat Motherwell in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on Saturday, but if the Steelmen upset the odds at Hampden Park, Neil Lennon’s men will not qualify for the Europa League. Lennon, who had questioned his own future at Hibs after the derby defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday – and who had missed training and his media briefing on Friday – drew back from his threat to leave Easter Road. “I’ve had a bad virus the last two or three weeks and I just couldn’t get out of bed on Friday,” he said. “I know the conspiracy theories were flying around but I wasn’t well and thankfully I’m coming out of the remnants now. “However, what I have done is opened up a lot of unnecessary speculation and analysis of my relationship with the board and there’s just nothing there. The board have backed me every step of the way. “I do not make demands of the board, I do not throw the toys out of the pram – in fact I’m the exact opposite and have been throughout my managerial career. They gave me extra funds in January if we wanted to sign an extra player and we decided not to go with that. “All the speculation about me making demands or being unhappy with the club couldn’t be further from the truth.” Indeed, Lennon finished his season by being sent off for running to the pitch to gesture towards the Rangers support when Hibs made it 5-5, although his grinning departure did not suggest contrition. “I was getting a bit of stick from the Rangers support so I gave them some back,” he said. “It was bonkers. We were 3-0 up but – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – we needed the fourth.”
A ridiculously eventful climax to the Scottish Premiership schedule saw Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Rangers embroiled in a spectacular resolution of the final league placings. Celtic, of course, were guaranteed a seventh successive title party, which duly proceeded at a packed Parkhead, but only after they had lost at home to Scottish opponents for the first time since Brendan Rodgers became Hoops manager in the summer of 2016. The setback was inflicted by Aberdeen, for whom Andrew Considine’s 47th-minute goal ended a lamentable run of 25 consecutive defeats over 14 years of visits to the east end of Glasgow, hence the visitors’ celebrations after the final whistle, although these were marred somewhat when Shay Logan was shown a post-match red card for his part in an altercation with Mikael Lustig. Considine’s contribution also guaranteed the Dons the runners-up spot for the fourth year in a row and quashed Rangers’ hopes of a second-place finish to an otherwise dispiriting season. In fact, within 22 minutes of their visit to Easter Road, Rangers looked on the verge of a humiliation as great as those inflicted by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final and in the title clincher last month. Hibernian raced to a 3-0 lead, beginning their scoring spree with a Florian Kamberi penalty after Jamie Maclaren had been fouled by David Bates, the Rangers defender who was playing his last game for the club before heading to Hamburg during the close season. Jamie Maclaren scrambles home a 90th minute equaliser Credit: Getty images Scott Allan made it 2-0 when he connected at close range with a prompt from Vykintas Slivka and Maclaren netted Hibs’ third with a header from a Lewis Stevenson cross midway through the first half. At that stage of the proceedings there seemed to be a significant chance that Hibs could get to 6-0, the scoreline required to displace the Ibrox side from third place in the table. Instead, Rangers retorted with three goals inside a quarter of an hour. The revival began when James Tavernier beat Ofir Marciano with a right-foot shot from the centre of the Hibs’ box and it continued two minutes later when Jordan Rossiter found the mark from almost the same position. Bruno Alves replaced Sean Goss in the Rangers midfield – Goss punching the dugout on his way off – and the Portuguese centre-back’s presence paid a dividend five minutes before the break when he equalised with a beautifully controlled free-kick. Astoundingly, 10 minutes into the second half, Rangers went ahead with a Jason Holt shot and increased their lead when Holt supplied Jason Windass for a scoring finish just before the hour mark. The visitors’ celebrations were promptly curtailed as Maclaren struck again for his second of the afternoon and, with five minutes remaining, Rangers were reduced to 10 men when Holt was shown a second yellow card for a needless foul on John McGinn. Easter Road was in a ferment as the contest moved into six minutes of stoppage time, midway through which Maclaren turned a pass from Brandon Barker over the line to make it 5-5. Aberdeen secured second place Credit: PA For Rangers, the most significant consequence of the afternoon’s results is that Steven Gerrard’s first competitive game in charge at Ibrox will be the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round on July 12. Hibs, meanwhile, will play in Europe if Celtic beat Motherwell in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on Saturday, but if the Steelmen upset the odds at Hampden Park, Neil Lennon’s men will not qualify for the Europa League. Lennon, who had questioned his own future at Hibs after the derby defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday – and who had missed training and his media briefing on Friday – drew back from his threat to leave Easter Road. “I’ve had a bad virus the last two or three weeks and I just couldn’t get out of bed on Friday,” he said. “I know the conspiracy theories were flying around but I wasn’t well and thankfully I’m coming out of the remnants now. “However, what I have done is opened up a lot of unnecessary speculation and analysis of my relationship with the board and there’s just nothing there. The board have backed me every step of the way. “I do not make demands of the board, I do not throw the toys out of the pram – in fact I’m the exact opposite and have been throughout my managerial career. They gave me extra funds in January if we wanted to sign an extra player and we decided not to go with that. “All the speculation about me making demands or being unhappy with the club couldn’t be further from the truth.” Indeed, Lennon finished his season by being sent off for running to the pitch to gesture towards the Rangers support when Hibs made it 5-5, although his grinning departure did not suggest contrition. “I was getting a bit of stick from the Rangers support so I gave them some back,” he said. “It was bonkers. We were 3-0 up but – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – we needed the fourth.”
Aberdeen gatecrash Celtic's title party as Scottish Premiership comes to feverish climax
A ridiculously eventful climax to the Scottish Premiership schedule saw Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Rangers embroiled in a spectacular resolution of the final league placings. Celtic, of course, were guaranteed a seventh successive title party, which duly proceeded at a packed Parkhead, but only after they had lost at home to Scottish opponents for the first time since Brendan Rodgers became Hoops manager in the summer of 2016. The setback was inflicted by Aberdeen, for whom Andrew Considine’s 47th-minute goal ended a lamentable run of 25 consecutive defeats over 14 years of visits to the east end of Glasgow, hence the visitors’ celebrations after the final whistle, although these were marred somewhat when Shay Logan was shown a post-match red card for his part in an altercation with Mikael Lustig. Considine’s contribution also guaranteed the Dons the runners-up spot for the fourth year in a row and quashed Rangers’ hopes of a second-place finish to an otherwise dispiriting season. In fact, within 22 minutes of their visit to Easter Road, Rangers looked on the verge of a humiliation as great as those inflicted by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final and in the title clincher last month. Hibernian raced to a 3-0 lead, beginning their scoring spree with a Florian Kamberi penalty after Jamie Maclaren had been fouled by David Bates, the Rangers defender who was playing his last game for the club before heading to Hamburg during the close season. Jamie Maclaren scrambles home a 90th minute equaliser Credit: Getty images Scott Allan made it 2-0 when he connected at close range with a prompt from Vykintas Slivka and Maclaren netted Hibs’ third with a header from a Lewis Stevenson cross midway through the first half. At that stage of the proceedings there seemed to be a significant chance that Hibs could get to 6-0, the scoreline required to displace the Ibrox side from third place in the table. Instead, Rangers retorted with three goals inside a quarter of an hour. The revival began when James Tavernier beat Ofir Marciano with a right-foot shot from the centre of the Hibs’ box and it continued two minutes later when Jordan Rossiter found the mark from almost the same position. Bruno Alves replaced Sean Goss in the Rangers midfield – Goss punching the dugout on his way off – and the Portuguese centre-back’s presence paid a dividend five minutes before the break when he equalised with a beautifully controlled free-kick. Astoundingly, 10 minutes into the second half, Rangers went ahead with a Jason Holt shot and increased their lead when Holt supplied Jason Windass for a scoring finish just before the hour mark. The visitors’ celebrations were promptly curtailed as Maclaren struck again for his second of the afternoon and, with five minutes remaining, Rangers were reduced to 10 men when Holt was shown a second yellow card for a needless foul on John McGinn. Easter Road was in a ferment as the contest moved into six minutes of stoppage time, midway through which Maclaren turned a pass from Brandon Barker over the line to make it 5-5. Aberdeen secured second place Credit: PA For Rangers, the most significant consequence of the afternoon’s results is that Steven Gerrard’s first competitive game in charge at Ibrox will be the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round on July 12. Hibs, meanwhile, will play in Europe if Celtic beat Motherwell in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on Saturday, but if the Steelmen upset the odds at Hampden Park, Neil Lennon’s men will not qualify for the Europa League. Lennon, who had questioned his own future at Hibs after the derby defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday – and who had missed training and his media briefing on Friday – drew back from his threat to leave Easter Road. “I’ve had a bad virus the last two or three weeks and I just couldn’t get out of bed on Friday,” he said. “I know the conspiracy theories were flying around but I wasn’t well and thankfully I’m coming out of the remnants now. “However, what I have done is opened up a lot of unnecessary speculation and analysis of my relationship with the board and there’s just nothing there. The board have backed me every step of the way. “I do not make demands of the board, I do not throw the toys out of the pram – in fact I’m the exact opposite and have been throughout my managerial career. They gave me extra funds in January if we wanted to sign an extra player and we decided not to go with that. “All the speculation about me making demands or being unhappy with the club couldn’t be further from the truth.” Indeed, Lennon finished his season by being sent off for running to the pitch to gesture towards the Rangers support when Hibs made it 5-5, although his grinning departure did not suggest contrition. “I was getting a bit of stick from the Rangers support so I gave them some back,” he said. “It was bonkers. We were 3-0 up but – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – we needed the fourth.”
A ridiculously eventful climax to the Scottish Premiership schedule saw Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Rangers embroiled in a spectacular resolution of the final league placings. Celtic, of course, were guaranteed a seventh successive title party, which duly proceeded at a packed Parkhead, but only after they had lost at home to Scottish opponents for the first time since Brendan Rodgers became Hoops manager in the summer of 2016. The setback was inflicted by Aberdeen, for whom Andrew Considine’s 47th-minute goal ended a lamentable run of 25 consecutive defeats over 14 years of visits to the east end of Glasgow, hence the visitors’ celebrations after the final whistle, although these were marred somewhat when Shay Logan was shown a post-match red card for his part in an altercation with Mikael Lustig. Considine’s contribution also guaranteed the Dons the runners-up spot for the fourth year in a row and quashed Rangers’ hopes of a second-place finish to an otherwise dispiriting season. In fact, within 22 minutes of their visit to Easter Road, Rangers looked on the verge of a humiliation as great as those inflicted by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final and in the title clincher last month. Hibernian raced to a 3-0 lead, beginning their scoring spree with a Florian Kamberi penalty after Jamie Maclaren had been fouled by David Bates, the Rangers defender who was playing his last game for the club before heading to Hamburg during the close season. Jamie Maclaren scrambles home a 90th minute equaliser Credit: Getty images Scott Allan made it 2-0 when he connected at close range with a prompt from Vykintas Slivka and Maclaren netted Hibs’ third with a header from a Lewis Stevenson cross midway through the first half. At that stage of the proceedings there seemed to be a significant chance that Hibs could get to 6-0, the scoreline required to displace the Ibrox side from third place in the table. Instead, Rangers retorted with three goals inside a quarter of an hour. The revival began when James Tavernier beat Ofir Marciano with a right-foot shot from the centre of the Hibs’ box and it continued two minutes later when Jordan Rossiter found the mark from almost the same position. Bruno Alves replaced Sean Goss in the Rangers midfield – Goss punching the dugout on his way off – and the Portuguese centre-back’s presence paid a dividend five minutes before the break when he equalised with a beautifully controlled free-kick. Astoundingly, 10 minutes into the second half, Rangers went ahead with a Jason Holt shot and increased their lead when Holt supplied Jason Windass for a scoring finish just before the hour mark. The visitors’ celebrations were promptly curtailed as Maclaren struck again for his second of the afternoon and, with five minutes remaining, Rangers were reduced to 10 men when Holt was shown a second yellow card for a needless foul on John McGinn. Easter Road was in a ferment as the contest moved into six minutes of stoppage time, midway through which Maclaren turned a pass from Brandon Barker over the line to make it 5-5. Aberdeen secured second place Credit: PA For Rangers, the most significant consequence of the afternoon’s results is that Steven Gerrard’s first competitive game in charge at Ibrox will be the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round on July 12. Hibs, meanwhile, will play in Europe if Celtic beat Motherwell in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on Saturday, but if the Steelmen upset the odds at Hampden Park, Neil Lennon’s men will not qualify for the Europa League. Lennon, who had questioned his own future at Hibs after the derby defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday – and who had missed training and his media briefing on Friday – drew back from his threat to leave Easter Road. “I’ve had a bad virus the last two or three weeks and I just couldn’t get out of bed on Friday,” he said. “I know the conspiracy theories were flying around but I wasn’t well and thankfully I’m coming out of the remnants now. “However, what I have done is opened up a lot of unnecessary speculation and analysis of my relationship with the board and there’s just nothing there. The board have backed me every step of the way. “I do not make demands of the board, I do not throw the toys out of the pram – in fact I’m the exact opposite and have been throughout my managerial career. They gave me extra funds in January if we wanted to sign an extra player and we decided not to go with that. “All the speculation about me making demands or being unhappy with the club couldn’t be further from the truth.” Indeed, Lennon finished his season by being sent off for running to the pitch to gesture towards the Rangers support when Hibs made it 5-5, although his grinning departure did not suggest contrition. “I was getting a bit of stick from the Rangers support so I gave them some back,” he said. “It was bonkers. We were 3-0 up but – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – we needed the fourth.”
Aberdeen gatecrash Celtic's title party as Scottish Premiership comes to feverish climax
A ridiculously eventful climax to the Scottish Premiership schedule saw Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Rangers embroiled in a spectacular resolution of the final league placings. Celtic, of course, were guaranteed a seventh successive title party, which duly proceeded at a packed Parkhead, but only after they had lost at home to Scottish opponents for the first time since Brendan Rodgers became Hoops manager in the summer of 2016. The setback was inflicted by Aberdeen, for whom Andrew Considine’s 47th-minute goal ended a lamentable run of 25 consecutive defeats over 14 years of visits to the east end of Glasgow, hence the visitors’ celebrations after the final whistle, although these were marred somewhat when Shay Logan was shown a post-match red card for his part in an altercation with Mikael Lustig. Considine’s contribution also guaranteed the Dons the runners-up spot for the fourth year in a row and quashed Rangers’ hopes of a second-place finish to an otherwise dispiriting season. In fact, within 22 minutes of their visit to Easter Road, Rangers looked on the verge of a humiliation as great as those inflicted by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final and in the title clincher last month. Hibernian raced to a 3-0 lead, beginning their scoring spree with a Florian Kamberi penalty after Jamie Maclaren had been fouled by David Bates, the Rangers defender who was playing his last game for the club before heading to Hamburg during the close season. Jamie Maclaren scrambles home a 90th minute equaliser Credit: Getty images Scott Allan made it 2-0 when he connected at close range with a prompt from Vykintas Slivka and Maclaren netted Hibs’ third with a header from a Lewis Stevenson cross midway through the first half. At that stage of the proceedings there seemed to be a significant chance that Hibs could get to 6-0, the scoreline required to displace the Ibrox side from third place in the table. Instead, Rangers retorted with three goals inside a quarter of an hour. The revival began when James Tavernier beat Ofir Marciano with a right-foot shot from the centre of the Hibs’ box and it continued two minutes later when Jordan Rossiter found the mark from almost the same position. Bruno Alves replaced Sean Goss in the Rangers midfield – Goss punching the dugout on his way off – and the Portuguese centre-back’s presence paid a dividend five minutes before the break when he equalised with a beautifully controlled free-kick. Astoundingly, 10 minutes into the second half, Rangers went ahead with a Jason Holt shot and increased their lead when Holt supplied Jason Windass for a scoring finish just before the hour mark. The visitors’ celebrations were promptly curtailed as Maclaren struck again for his second of the afternoon and, with five minutes remaining, Rangers were reduced to 10 men when Holt was shown a second yellow card for a needless foul on John McGinn. Easter Road was in a ferment as the contest moved into six minutes of stoppage time, midway through which Maclaren turned a pass from Brandon Barker over the line to make it 5-5. Aberdeen secured second place Credit: PA For Rangers, the most significant consequence of the afternoon’s results is that Steven Gerrard’s first competitive game in charge at Ibrox will be the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round on July 12. Hibs, meanwhile, will play in Europe if Celtic beat Motherwell in the William Hill Scottish Cup final on Saturday, but if the Steelmen upset the odds at Hampden Park, Neil Lennon’s men will not qualify for the Europa League. Lennon, who had questioned his own future at Hibs after the derby defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday – and who had missed training and his media briefing on Friday – drew back from his threat to leave Easter Road. “I’ve had a bad virus the last two or three weeks and I just couldn’t get out of bed on Friday,” he said. “I know the conspiracy theories were flying around but I wasn’t well and thankfully I’m coming out of the remnants now. “However, what I have done is opened up a lot of unnecessary speculation and analysis of my relationship with the board and there’s just nothing there. The board have backed me every step of the way. “I do not make demands of the board, I do not throw the toys out of the pram – in fact I’m the exact opposite and have been throughout my managerial career. They gave me extra funds in January if we wanted to sign an extra player and we decided not to go with that. “All the speculation about me making demands or being unhappy with the club couldn’t be further from the truth.” Indeed, Lennon finished his season by being sent off for running to the pitch to gesture towards the Rangers support when Hibs made it 5-5, although his grinning departure did not suggest contrition. “I was getting a bit of stick from the Rangers support so I gave them some back,” he said. “It was bonkers. We were 3-0 up but – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – we needed the fourth.”
Jimmy Nicholl can help buy Steven Gerrard valuable time tomorrow if he can steer Rangers to second place in the Scottish Premiership. The Ibrox side will secure the runners-up spot if they beat Hibernian at Easter Road and Aberdeen lose or draw against Celtic at Parkhead. A second-place finish – if coupled with a victory for overwhelming favourites, Celtic, in next weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park – would see Rangers avoid the hazards of a Europe League first qualifying round tie and allow incoming manager Gerrard an extra two weeks to secure and prepare players for entry to the second qualifying round. Nicholl, in charge at Ibrox on a caretaker basis following the sacking of interim boss Graeme Murty, was appointed player-manager of Raith Rovers at the age of 33 – four years younger than Gerrard is now – and went on to win the Scottish League Cup and qualify for the Uefa Cup, At one stage, Raith led Bayern Munich 1-0 at half-time in the Olympic Stadium. In contrast, last season saw Rangers play their first European tie for five years only for Pedro Caixinha to supervise the club’s worst ever result when they were ejected from the Europa League by the might of mid-table Luxembourg power, Progres Niederkorn. How far, then, are Rangers from emulating Raith’s adventures under Nicholl? “If you look at what they did last year they are a million miles away, but you can’t think like that,” said the Northern Irishman. “If he [Gerrard] gets a run in Europe, he is off to a flier right away. The only way to get rid of negativity is to do better than the previous year but you have to have the players who can do a job for you.” Steven Gerrard could be given a couple more weeks to prepare for Europa League if Rangers finish second Credit: Getty Images Nicholl, who had two spells at Ibrox as a player, highlighted the damaging impact of a current phenomenon on today’s squad. “That social media, I just stay away from it,” he said. “If Rangers win a game of football, I am happy. If I read the papers, listen to the radio and go on social media, it isn’t going to make me any happier, but if I am low and I read all that, hear all that and see all that, I am going to get lower – so don’t do it. The first social media I ever saw was a Raith Rovers fanzine. It was all about Ally Graham being a donkey. He was getting slaughtered in this fanzine, it was horrific. This was the same Ally Graham who Terry Butcher or Richard Gough would say they hated playing against. “The boys come in, read it, and are all having a laugh at his expense. Ally got to the stage at half two, quarter to three on match day when we are all doing finishing, that he would say, ‘Gaffer could you take me out of it?’ “Why? Because he is getting booed at quarter to three. That was a wee early lesson for me to say – you can’t read this.” Gerrard is gearing up for his first senior manager's role Credit: Rangers FC Asked to identify Gerrard’s biggest challenge, Nicholl suggested many of the Rangers squad are snowflakes. “You don’t need me to say it. You can’t lose seven or eight games here and expect to win the league,” he said. “We need new players who can handle a wee setback, not just wait for somebody else to do it. They have to be able to handle playing in front of 50,000. Too many of them are sensitive to criticism. You’re walking on eggshells sometimes. “I’ve had it at other clubs but it’s here they’ve got to win leagues. “It sounds as if I’m berating all the players. I’m not. There are good ones I love talking to and there’s other ones. You can weigh them up and you know. “On a personal note, this game is the bit that I’m looking forward to the most. If I can just leave here with a win, the team second and in Europe, it will at least give them some sort of start for next season. The first round of Europa League qualifying is the 12th of July, the second is the 26th. It is a big thing as it gives the manager extra time to get players in and train a bit longer with them.”
Rangers caretaker hopes parting gift to Steven Gerrard can be second-place finish
Jimmy Nicholl can help buy Steven Gerrard valuable time tomorrow if he can steer Rangers to second place in the Scottish Premiership. The Ibrox side will secure the runners-up spot if they beat Hibernian at Easter Road and Aberdeen lose or draw against Celtic at Parkhead. A second-place finish – if coupled with a victory for overwhelming favourites, Celtic, in next weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park – would see Rangers avoid the hazards of a Europe League first qualifying round tie and allow incoming manager Gerrard an extra two weeks to secure and prepare players for entry to the second qualifying round. Nicholl, in charge at Ibrox on a caretaker basis following the sacking of interim boss Graeme Murty, was appointed player-manager of Raith Rovers at the age of 33 – four years younger than Gerrard is now – and went on to win the Scottish League Cup and qualify for the Uefa Cup, At one stage, Raith led Bayern Munich 1-0 at half-time in the Olympic Stadium. In contrast, last season saw Rangers play their first European tie for five years only for Pedro Caixinha to supervise the club’s worst ever result when they were ejected from the Europa League by the might of mid-table Luxembourg power, Progres Niederkorn. How far, then, are Rangers from emulating Raith’s adventures under Nicholl? “If you look at what they did last year they are a million miles away, but you can’t think like that,” said the Northern Irishman. “If he [Gerrard] gets a run in Europe, he is off to a flier right away. The only way to get rid of negativity is to do better than the previous year but you have to have the players who can do a job for you.” Steven Gerrard could be given a couple more weeks to prepare for Europa League if Rangers finish second Credit: Getty Images Nicholl, who had two spells at Ibrox as a player, highlighted the damaging impact of a current phenomenon on today’s squad. “That social media, I just stay away from it,” he said. “If Rangers win a game of football, I am happy. If I read the papers, listen to the radio and go on social media, it isn’t going to make me any happier, but if I am low and I read all that, hear all that and see all that, I am going to get lower – so don’t do it. The first social media I ever saw was a Raith Rovers fanzine. It was all about Ally Graham being a donkey. He was getting slaughtered in this fanzine, it was horrific. This was the same Ally Graham who Terry Butcher or Richard Gough would say they hated playing against. “The boys come in, read it, and are all having a laugh at his expense. Ally got to the stage at half two, quarter to three on match day when we are all doing finishing, that he would say, ‘Gaffer could you take me out of it?’ “Why? Because he is getting booed at quarter to three. That was a wee early lesson for me to say – you can’t read this.” Gerrard is gearing up for his first senior manager's role Credit: Rangers FC Asked to identify Gerrard’s biggest challenge, Nicholl suggested many of the Rangers squad are snowflakes. “You don’t need me to say it. You can’t lose seven or eight games here and expect to win the league,” he said. “We need new players who can handle a wee setback, not just wait for somebody else to do it. They have to be able to handle playing in front of 50,000. Too many of them are sensitive to criticism. You’re walking on eggshells sometimes. “I’ve had it at other clubs but it’s here they’ve got to win leagues. “It sounds as if I’m berating all the players. I’m not. There are good ones I love talking to and there’s other ones. You can weigh them up and you know. “On a personal note, this game is the bit that I’m looking forward to the most. If I can just leave here with a win, the team second and in Europe, it will at least give them some sort of start for next season. The first round of Europa League qualifying is the 12th of July, the second is the 26th. It is a big thing as it gives the manager extra time to get players in and train a bit longer with them.”
Jimmy Nicholl can help buy Steven Gerrard valuable time tomorrow if he can steer Rangers to second place in the Scottish Premiership. The Ibrox side will secure the runners-up spot if they beat Hibernian at Easter Road and Aberdeen lose or draw against Celtic at Parkhead. A second-place finish – if coupled with a victory for overwhelming favourites, Celtic, in next weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park – would see Rangers avoid the hazards of a Europe League first qualifying round tie and allow incoming manager Gerrard an extra two weeks to secure and prepare players for entry to the second qualifying round. Nicholl, in charge at Ibrox on a caretaker basis following the sacking of interim boss Graeme Murty, was appointed player-manager of Raith Rovers at the age of 33 – four years younger than Gerrard is now – and went on to win the Scottish League Cup and qualify for the Uefa Cup, At one stage, Raith led Bayern Munich 1-0 at half-time in the Olympic Stadium. In contrast, last season saw Rangers play their first European tie for five years only for Pedro Caixinha to supervise the club’s worst ever result when they were ejected from the Europa League by the might of mid-table Luxembourg power, Progres Niederkorn. How far, then, are Rangers from emulating Raith’s adventures under Nicholl? “If you look at what they did last year they are a million miles away, but you can’t think like that,” said the Northern Irishman. “If he [Gerrard] gets a run in Europe, he is off to a flier right away. The only way to get rid of negativity is to do better than the previous year but you have to have the players who can do a job for you.” Steven Gerrard could be given a couple more weeks to prepare for Europa League if Rangers finish second Credit: Getty Images Nicholl, who had two spells at Ibrox as a player, highlighted the damaging impact of a current phenomenon on today’s squad. “That social media, I just stay away from it,” he said. “If Rangers win a game of football, I am happy. If I read the papers, listen to the radio and go on social media, it isn’t going to make me any happier, but if I am low and I read all that, hear all that and see all that, I am going to get lower – so don’t do it. The first social media I ever saw was a Raith Rovers fanzine. It was all about Ally Graham being a donkey. He was getting slaughtered in this fanzine, it was horrific. This was the same Ally Graham who Terry Butcher or Richard Gough would say they hated playing against. “The boys come in, read it, and are all having a laugh at his expense. Ally got to the stage at half two, quarter to three on match day when we are all doing finishing, that he would say, ‘Gaffer could you take me out of it?’ “Why? Because he is getting booed at quarter to three. That was a wee early lesson for me to say – you can’t read this.” Gerrard is gearing up for his first senior manager's role Credit: Rangers FC Asked to identify Gerrard’s biggest challenge, Nicholl suggested many of the Rangers squad are snowflakes. “You don’t need me to say it. You can’t lose seven or eight games here and expect to win the league,” he said. “We need new players who can handle a wee setback, not just wait for somebody else to do it. They have to be able to handle playing in front of 50,000. Too many of them are sensitive to criticism. You’re walking on eggshells sometimes. “I’ve had it at other clubs but it’s here they’ve got to win leagues. “It sounds as if I’m berating all the players. I’m not. There are good ones I love talking to and there’s other ones. You can weigh them up and you know. “On a personal note, this game is the bit that I’m looking forward to the most. If I can just leave here with a win, the team second and in Europe, it will at least give them some sort of start for next season. The first round of Europa League qualifying is the 12th of July, the second is the 26th. It is a big thing as it gives the manager extra time to get players in and train a bit longer with them.”
Rangers caretaker hopes parting gift to Steven Gerrard can be second-place finish
Jimmy Nicholl can help buy Steven Gerrard valuable time tomorrow if he can steer Rangers to second place in the Scottish Premiership. The Ibrox side will secure the runners-up spot if they beat Hibernian at Easter Road and Aberdeen lose or draw against Celtic at Parkhead. A second-place finish – if coupled with a victory for overwhelming favourites, Celtic, in next weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park – would see Rangers avoid the hazards of a Europe League first qualifying round tie and allow incoming manager Gerrard an extra two weeks to secure and prepare players for entry to the second qualifying round. Nicholl, in charge at Ibrox on a caretaker basis following the sacking of interim boss Graeme Murty, was appointed player-manager of Raith Rovers at the age of 33 – four years younger than Gerrard is now – and went on to win the Scottish League Cup and qualify for the Uefa Cup, At one stage, Raith led Bayern Munich 1-0 at half-time in the Olympic Stadium. In contrast, last season saw Rangers play their first European tie for five years only for Pedro Caixinha to supervise the club’s worst ever result when they were ejected from the Europa League by the might of mid-table Luxembourg power, Progres Niederkorn. How far, then, are Rangers from emulating Raith’s adventures under Nicholl? “If you look at what they did last year they are a million miles away, but you can’t think like that,” said the Northern Irishman. “If he [Gerrard] gets a run in Europe, he is off to a flier right away. The only way to get rid of negativity is to do better than the previous year but you have to have the players who can do a job for you.” Steven Gerrard could be given a couple more weeks to prepare for Europa League if Rangers finish second Credit: Getty Images Nicholl, who had two spells at Ibrox as a player, highlighted the damaging impact of a current phenomenon on today’s squad. “That social media, I just stay away from it,” he said. “If Rangers win a game of football, I am happy. If I read the papers, listen to the radio and go on social media, it isn’t going to make me any happier, but if I am low and I read all that, hear all that and see all that, I am going to get lower – so don’t do it. The first social media I ever saw was a Raith Rovers fanzine. It was all about Ally Graham being a donkey. He was getting slaughtered in this fanzine, it was horrific. This was the same Ally Graham who Terry Butcher or Richard Gough would say they hated playing against. “The boys come in, read it, and are all having a laugh at his expense. Ally got to the stage at half two, quarter to three on match day when we are all doing finishing, that he would say, ‘Gaffer could you take me out of it?’ “Why? Because he is getting booed at quarter to three. That was a wee early lesson for me to say – you can’t read this.” Gerrard is gearing up for his first senior manager's role Credit: Rangers FC Asked to identify Gerrard’s biggest challenge, Nicholl suggested many of the Rangers squad are snowflakes. “You don’t need me to say it. You can’t lose seven or eight games here and expect to win the league,” he said. “We need new players who can handle a wee setback, not just wait for somebody else to do it. They have to be able to handle playing in front of 50,000. Too many of them are sensitive to criticism. You’re walking on eggshells sometimes. “I’ve had it at other clubs but it’s here they’ve got to win leagues. “It sounds as if I’m berating all the players. I’m not. There are good ones I love talking to and there’s other ones. You can weigh them up and you know. “On a personal note, this game is the bit that I’m looking forward to the most. If I can just leave here with a win, the team second and in Europe, it will at least give them some sort of start for next season. The first round of Europa League qualifying is the 12th of July, the second is the 26th. It is a big thing as it gives the manager extra time to get players in and train a bit longer with them.”
Jimmy Nicholl can help buy Steven Gerrard valuable time tomorrow if he can steer Rangers to second place in the Scottish Premiership. The Ibrox side will secure the runners-up spot if they beat Hibernian at Easter Road and Aberdeen lose or draw against Celtic at Parkhead. A second-place finish – if coupled with a victory for overwhelming favourites, Celtic, in next weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park – would see Rangers avoid the hazards of a Europe League first qualifying round tie and allow incoming manager Gerrard an extra two weeks to secure and prepare players for entry to the second qualifying round. Nicholl, in charge at Ibrox on a caretaker basis following the sacking of interim boss Graeme Murty, was appointed player-manager of Raith Rovers at the age of 33 – four years younger than Gerrard is now – and went on to win the Scottish League Cup and qualify for the Uefa Cup, At one stage, Raith led Bayern Munich 1-0 at half-time in the Olympic Stadium. In contrast, last season saw Rangers play their first European tie for five years only for Pedro Caixinha to supervise the club’s worst ever result when they were ejected from the Europa League by the might of mid-table Luxembourg power, Progres Niederkorn. How far, then, are Rangers from emulating Raith’s adventures under Nicholl? “If you look at what they did last year they are a million miles away, but you can’t think like that,” said the Northern Irishman. “If he [Gerrard] gets a run in Europe, he is off to a flier right away. The only way to get rid of negativity is to do better than the previous year but you have to have the players who can do a job for you.” Steven Gerrard could be given a couple more weeks to prepare for Europa League if Rangers finish second Credit: Getty Images Nicholl, who had two spells at Ibrox as a player, highlighted the damaging impact of a current phenomenon on today’s squad. “That social media, I just stay away from it,” he said. “If Rangers win a game of football, I am happy. If I read the papers, listen to the radio and go on social media, it isn’t going to make me any happier, but if I am low and I read all that, hear all that and see all that, I am going to get lower – so don’t do it. The first social media I ever saw was a Raith Rovers fanzine. It was all about Ally Graham being a donkey. He was getting slaughtered in this fanzine, it was horrific. This was the same Ally Graham who Terry Butcher or Richard Gough would say they hated playing against. “The boys come in, read it, and are all having a laugh at his expense. Ally got to the stage at half two, quarter to three on match day when we are all doing finishing, that he would say, ‘Gaffer could you take me out of it?’ “Why? Because he is getting booed at quarter to three. That was a wee early lesson for me to say – you can’t read this.” Gerrard is gearing up for his first senior manager's role Credit: Rangers FC Asked to identify Gerrard’s biggest challenge, Nicholl suggested many of the Rangers squad are snowflakes. “You don’t need me to say it. You can’t lose seven or eight games here and expect to win the league,” he said. “We need new players who can handle a wee setback, not just wait for somebody else to do it. They have to be able to handle playing in front of 50,000. Too many of them are sensitive to criticism. You’re walking on eggshells sometimes. “I’ve had it at other clubs but it’s here they’ve got to win leagues. “It sounds as if I’m berating all the players. I’m not. There are good ones I love talking to and there’s other ones. You can weigh them up and you know. “On a personal note, this game is the bit that I’m looking forward to the most. If I can just leave here with a win, the team second and in Europe, it will at least give them some sort of start for next season. The first round of Europa League qualifying is the 12th of July, the second is the 26th. It is a big thing as it gives the manager extra time to get players in and train a bit longer with them.”
Rangers caretaker hopes parting gift to Steven Gerrard can be second-place finish
Jimmy Nicholl can help buy Steven Gerrard valuable time tomorrow if he can steer Rangers to second place in the Scottish Premiership. The Ibrox side will secure the runners-up spot if they beat Hibernian at Easter Road and Aberdeen lose or draw against Celtic at Parkhead. A second-place finish – if coupled with a victory for overwhelming favourites, Celtic, in next weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park – would see Rangers avoid the hazards of a Europe League first qualifying round tie and allow incoming manager Gerrard an extra two weeks to secure and prepare players for entry to the second qualifying round. Nicholl, in charge at Ibrox on a caretaker basis following the sacking of interim boss Graeme Murty, was appointed player-manager of Raith Rovers at the age of 33 – four years younger than Gerrard is now – and went on to win the Scottish League Cup and qualify for the Uefa Cup, At one stage, Raith led Bayern Munich 1-0 at half-time in the Olympic Stadium. In contrast, last season saw Rangers play their first European tie for five years only for Pedro Caixinha to supervise the club’s worst ever result when they were ejected from the Europa League by the might of mid-table Luxembourg power, Progres Niederkorn. How far, then, are Rangers from emulating Raith’s adventures under Nicholl? “If you look at what they did last year they are a million miles away, but you can’t think like that,” said the Northern Irishman. “If he [Gerrard] gets a run in Europe, he is off to a flier right away. The only way to get rid of negativity is to do better than the previous year but you have to have the players who can do a job for you.” Steven Gerrard could be given a couple more weeks to prepare for Europa League if Rangers finish second Credit: Getty Images Nicholl, who had two spells at Ibrox as a player, highlighted the damaging impact of a current phenomenon on today’s squad. “That social media, I just stay away from it,” he said. “If Rangers win a game of football, I am happy. If I read the papers, listen to the radio and go on social media, it isn’t going to make me any happier, but if I am low and I read all that, hear all that and see all that, I am going to get lower – so don’t do it. The first social media I ever saw was a Raith Rovers fanzine. It was all about Ally Graham being a donkey. He was getting slaughtered in this fanzine, it was horrific. This was the same Ally Graham who Terry Butcher or Richard Gough would say they hated playing against. “The boys come in, read it, and are all having a laugh at his expense. Ally got to the stage at half two, quarter to three on match day when we are all doing finishing, that he would say, ‘Gaffer could you take me out of it?’ “Why? Because he is getting booed at quarter to three. That was a wee early lesson for me to say – you can’t read this.” Gerrard is gearing up for his first senior manager's role Credit: Rangers FC Asked to identify Gerrard’s biggest challenge, Nicholl suggested many of the Rangers squad are snowflakes. “You don’t need me to say it. You can’t lose seven or eight games here and expect to win the league,” he said. “We need new players who can handle a wee setback, not just wait for somebody else to do it. They have to be able to handle playing in front of 50,000. Too many of them are sensitive to criticism. You’re walking on eggshells sometimes. “I’ve had it at other clubs but it’s here they’ve got to win leagues. “It sounds as if I’m berating all the players. I’m not. There are good ones I love talking to and there’s other ones. You can weigh them up and you know. “On a personal note, this game is the bit that I’m looking forward to the most. If I can just leave here with a win, the team second and in Europe, it will at least give them some sort of start for next season. The first round of Europa League qualifying is the 12th of July, the second is the 26th. It is a big thing as it gives the manager extra time to get players in and train a bit longer with them.”
Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon. Alarms have been ringing at Ibrox, hence the recruitment of Gerrard in hope that he can restore battered morale, although – according to caretaker manager, Jimmy Nicholl – the former Liverpool and England midfielder might have a more sizeable task than he first realised. Neil Lennon, too, should have been alert to the clamour of an alarm but, ahead of Rangers’ visit to Easter Road on Sunday, the Hibernian manager literally slept through it. Lennon was so upset in the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle - which cost Hibs the chance of finishing second in the Scottish Premiership - that he declared that he would reconsider his position during the summer, in order to calibrate the ambition both of his players and directors. Garry Parker, Lennon’s assistant, took the pre-match media briefing but played down speculation that the manager would soon cut himself adrift from the club. “That was the heat of the moment,” Parker said. “You know what he is like. He is a winner. After a game, if things don’t go his way he just lets it all go. He doesn’t like getting beat at anything - cards, anything - and he loses it.” Of the fact that Lennon had not been seen at the training ground since Wednesday, Parker said: “He is at home in Glasgow. He's overslept. His wife woke him up and then he has gone back to sleep - which is, in fact, a true story. He will be coming in at some point today but when I don’t know.” Meanwhile, Lennon’s fellow Northern Irishman, Nicholl, spoke of the disillusionment that set in after he had agreed to a January request by Rangers’ interim manager, Graeme Murty, to act as his assistant. “At the start I was the happiest man in the word - because we went straight to Florida,” said Nicholl, who had two spells at Rangers as a full-back. Rangers' caretaker manager Jimmy Nicholl thinks Steven Gerrard hs to get more out of the players at Ibrox than the club has managed this season Credit: REUTERS/Scott Heppell “Things started great. We beat Aberdeen, we had six wins in a row - and then you just get a wee setback. All the stuff that was good, all of a sudden, it’s not good enough. “You think, ‘This is what it’s really like’ and you see a difference in the players. They are a wee bit tentative in their approach to games. It’s the reaction to losing games that I was always interested in. “That’s why the Kilmarnock game after the Celtic 3-2 game was a disappointment for me. We did well against Celtic, although we didn’t win it, and then we get beaten by Kilmarnock. “There have been too many games like that while I’ve been here and before that. Sometimes you can see why. I couldn’t see it when I first came in and then I thought - ‘I know now’. You get to know people and you get to know their characters and their wee traits in training, how they react on a Monday and Tuesday after a defeat, how long it takes them to get going again.” Asked how many players would have to be recruited by Gerrard, whose Ibrox tenure begins on June 1, Nicholl said: “I hope he doesn’t need eight or nine. I hope in the end he only needs three or four. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “He should get more out of the boys who are here. If they have anything about them, then he will do. They will respond to his demands. People might say he’s an inexperienced manager, but it doesn’t matter. If someone’s not doing it on the training pitch or on a Saturday for you, then it’s just a case of ‘away you go’. “I was player-manager of Raith Rovers when I was 33 and dealing with older players at that time, making hard decisions and hopefully the right ones. Twenty or more years on, you still make the same decisions and sometimes the same mistakes. “Steven will know right away when he’s out on that training pitch what he needs. I don’t think there are many leaders at clubs unless it’s a top, top club. “Celtic maybe only have one, Scott Brown. In my days, eight or nine of us used to pull two or three through. Now you’re lucky if you have two or three pulling eight or nine through. Not just here, everywhere, in my opinion.” A win for Rangers – if Aberdeen draw or lose to Celtic – would see the Ibrox side finish second, although Nicholl does not expect the achievement to be greeted rapturously, should it occur “The supporters hate to hear that,” he said. Players, too, will turn around and say: ‘What’s second place mean?’ “At least it puts you on a good platform for the manager to come into. People will say a massive achievement for Rangers is winning the league and hopefully that will happen one day, but not at this moment in time. This is now the best we can do.”
Alarm bells ring for Rangers and Hibernian
Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon. Alarms have been ringing at Ibrox, hence the recruitment of Gerrard in hope that he can restore battered morale, although – according to caretaker manager, Jimmy Nicholl – the former Liverpool and England midfielder might have a more sizeable task than he first realised. Neil Lennon, too, should have been alert to the clamour of an alarm but, ahead of Rangers’ visit to Easter Road on Sunday, the Hibernian manager literally slept through it. Lennon was so upset in the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle - which cost Hibs the chance of finishing second in the Scottish Premiership - that he declared that he would reconsider his position during the summer, in order to calibrate the ambition both of his players and directors. Garry Parker, Lennon’s assistant, took the pre-match media briefing but played down speculation that the manager would soon cut himself adrift from the club. “That was the heat of the moment,” Parker said. “You know what he is like. He is a winner. After a game, if things don’t go his way he just lets it all go. He doesn’t like getting beat at anything - cards, anything - and he loses it.” Of the fact that Lennon had not been seen at the training ground since Wednesday, Parker said: “He is at home in Glasgow. He's overslept. His wife woke him up and then he has gone back to sleep - which is, in fact, a true story. He will be coming in at some point today but when I don’t know.” Meanwhile, Lennon’s fellow Northern Irishman, Nicholl, spoke of the disillusionment that set in after he had agreed to a January request by Rangers’ interim manager, Graeme Murty, to act as his assistant. “At the start I was the happiest man in the word - because we went straight to Florida,” said Nicholl, who had two spells at Rangers as a full-back. Rangers' caretaker manager Jimmy Nicholl thinks Steven Gerrard hs to get more out of the players at Ibrox than the club has managed this season Credit: REUTERS/Scott Heppell “Things started great. We beat Aberdeen, we had six wins in a row - and then you just get a wee setback. All the stuff that was good, all of a sudden, it’s not good enough. “You think, ‘This is what it’s really like’ and you see a difference in the players. They are a wee bit tentative in their approach to games. It’s the reaction to losing games that I was always interested in. “That’s why the Kilmarnock game after the Celtic 3-2 game was a disappointment for me. We did well against Celtic, although we didn’t win it, and then we get beaten by Kilmarnock. “There have been too many games like that while I’ve been here and before that. Sometimes you can see why. I couldn’t see it when I first came in and then I thought - ‘I know now’. You get to know people and you get to know their characters and their wee traits in training, how they react on a Monday and Tuesday after a defeat, how long it takes them to get going again.” Asked how many players would have to be recruited by Gerrard, whose Ibrox tenure begins on June 1, Nicholl said: “I hope he doesn’t need eight or nine. I hope in the end he only needs three or four. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “He should get more out of the boys who are here. If they have anything about them, then he will do. They will respond to his demands. People might say he’s an inexperienced manager, but it doesn’t matter. If someone’s not doing it on the training pitch or on a Saturday for you, then it’s just a case of ‘away you go’. “I was player-manager of Raith Rovers when I was 33 and dealing with older players at that time, making hard decisions and hopefully the right ones. Twenty or more years on, you still make the same decisions and sometimes the same mistakes. “Steven will know right away when he’s out on that training pitch what he needs. I don’t think there are many leaders at clubs unless it’s a top, top club. “Celtic maybe only have one, Scott Brown. In my days, eight or nine of us used to pull two or three through. Now you’re lucky if you have two or three pulling eight or nine through. Not just here, everywhere, in my opinion.” A win for Rangers – if Aberdeen draw or lose to Celtic – would see the Ibrox side finish second, although Nicholl does not expect the achievement to be greeted rapturously, should it occur “The supporters hate to hear that,” he said. Players, too, will turn around and say: ‘What’s second place mean?’ “At least it puts you on a good platform for the manager to come into. People will say a massive achievement for Rangers is winning the league and hopefully that will happen one day, but not at this moment in time. This is now the best we can do.”
Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon. Alarms have been ringing at Ibrox, hence the recruitment of Gerrard in hope that he can restore battered morale, although – according to caretaker manager, Jimmy Nicholl – the former Liverpool and England midfielder might have a more sizeable task than he first realised. Neil Lennon, too, should have been alert to the clamour of an alarm but, ahead of Rangers’ visit to Easter Road on Sunday, the Hibernian manager literally slept through it. Lennon was so upset in the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle - which cost Hibs the chance of finishing second in the Scottish Premiership - that he declared that he would reconsider his position during the summer, in order to calibrate the ambition both of his players and directors. Garry Parker, Lennon’s assistant, took the pre-match media briefing but played down speculation that the manager would soon cut himself adrift from the club. “That was the heat of the moment,” Parker said. “You know what he is like. He is a winner. After a game, if things don’t go his way he just lets it all go. He doesn’t like getting beat at anything - cards, anything - and he loses it.” Of the fact that Lennon had not been seen at the training ground since Wednesday, Parker said: “He is at home in Glasgow. He's overslept. His wife woke him up and then he has gone back to sleep - which is, in fact, a true story. He will be coming in at some point today but when I don’t know.” Meanwhile, Lennon’s fellow Northern Irishman, Nicholl, spoke of the disillusionment that set in after he had agreed to a January request by Rangers’ interim manager, Graeme Murty, to act as his assistant. “At the start I was the happiest man in the word - because we went straight to Florida,” said Nicholl, who had two spells at Rangers as a full-back. Rangers' caretaker manager Jimmy Nicholl thinks Steven Gerrard hs to get more out of the players at Ibrox than the club has managed this season Credit: REUTERS/Scott Heppell “Things started great. We beat Aberdeen, we had six wins in a row - and then you just get a wee setback. All the stuff that was good, all of a sudden, it’s not good enough. “You think, ‘This is what it’s really like’ and you see a difference in the players. They are a wee bit tentative in their approach to games. It’s the reaction to losing games that I was always interested in. “That’s why the Kilmarnock game after the Celtic 3-2 game was a disappointment for me. We did well against Celtic, although we didn’t win it, and then we get beaten by Kilmarnock. “There have been too many games like that while I’ve been here and before that. Sometimes you can see why. I couldn’t see it when I first came in and then I thought - ‘I know now’. You get to know people and you get to know their characters and their wee traits in training, how they react on a Monday and Tuesday after a defeat, how long it takes them to get going again.” Asked how many players would have to be recruited by Gerrard, whose Ibrox tenure begins on June 1, Nicholl said: “I hope he doesn’t need eight or nine. I hope in the end he only needs three or four. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “He should get more out of the boys who are here. If they have anything about them, then he will do. They will respond to his demands. People might say he’s an inexperienced manager, but it doesn’t matter. If someone’s not doing it on the training pitch or on a Saturday for you, then it’s just a case of ‘away you go’. “I was player-manager of Raith Rovers when I was 33 and dealing with older players at that time, making hard decisions and hopefully the right ones. Twenty or more years on, you still make the same decisions and sometimes the same mistakes. “Steven will know right away when he’s out on that training pitch what he needs. I don’t think there are many leaders at clubs unless it’s a top, top club. “Celtic maybe only have one, Scott Brown. In my days, eight or nine of us used to pull two or three through. Now you’re lucky if you have two or three pulling eight or nine through. Not just here, everywhere, in my opinion.” A win for Rangers – if Aberdeen draw or lose to Celtic – would see the Ibrox side finish second, although Nicholl does not expect the achievement to be greeted rapturously, should it occur “The supporters hate to hear that,” he said. Players, too, will turn around and say: ‘What’s second place mean?’ “At least it puts you on a good platform for the manager to come into. People will say a massive achievement for Rangers is winning the league and hopefully that will happen one day, but not at this moment in time. This is now the best we can do.”
Alarm bells ring for Rangers and Hibernian
Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon. Alarms have been ringing at Ibrox, hence the recruitment of Gerrard in hope that he can restore battered morale, although – according to caretaker manager, Jimmy Nicholl – the former Liverpool and England midfielder might have a more sizeable task than he first realised. Neil Lennon, too, should have been alert to the clamour of an alarm but, ahead of Rangers’ visit to Easter Road on Sunday, the Hibernian manager literally slept through it. Lennon was so upset in the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle - which cost Hibs the chance of finishing second in the Scottish Premiership - that he declared that he would reconsider his position during the summer, in order to calibrate the ambition both of his players and directors. Garry Parker, Lennon’s assistant, took the pre-match media briefing but played down speculation that the manager would soon cut himself adrift from the club. “That was the heat of the moment,” Parker said. “You know what he is like. He is a winner. After a game, if things don’t go his way he just lets it all go. He doesn’t like getting beat at anything - cards, anything - and he loses it.” Of the fact that Lennon had not been seen at the training ground since Wednesday, Parker said: “He is at home in Glasgow. He's overslept. His wife woke him up and then he has gone back to sleep - which is, in fact, a true story. He will be coming in at some point today but when I don’t know.” Meanwhile, Lennon’s fellow Northern Irishman, Nicholl, spoke of the disillusionment that set in after he had agreed to a January request by Rangers’ interim manager, Graeme Murty, to act as his assistant. “At the start I was the happiest man in the word - because we went straight to Florida,” said Nicholl, who had two spells at Rangers as a full-back. Rangers' caretaker manager Jimmy Nicholl thinks Steven Gerrard hs to get more out of the players at Ibrox than the club has managed this season Credit: REUTERS/Scott Heppell “Things started great. We beat Aberdeen, we had six wins in a row - and then you just get a wee setback. All the stuff that was good, all of a sudden, it’s not good enough. “You think, ‘This is what it’s really like’ and you see a difference in the players. They are a wee bit tentative in their approach to games. It’s the reaction to losing games that I was always interested in. “That’s why the Kilmarnock game after the Celtic 3-2 game was a disappointment for me. We did well against Celtic, although we didn’t win it, and then we get beaten by Kilmarnock. “There have been too many games like that while I’ve been here and before that. Sometimes you can see why. I couldn’t see it when I first came in and then I thought - ‘I know now’. You get to know people and you get to know their characters and their wee traits in training, how they react on a Monday and Tuesday after a defeat, how long it takes them to get going again.” Asked how many players would have to be recruited by Gerrard, whose Ibrox tenure begins on June 1, Nicholl said: “I hope he doesn’t need eight or nine. I hope in the end he only needs three or four. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “He should get more out of the boys who are here. If they have anything about them, then he will do. They will respond to his demands. People might say he’s an inexperienced manager, but it doesn’t matter. If someone’s not doing it on the training pitch or on a Saturday for you, then it’s just a case of ‘away you go’. “I was player-manager of Raith Rovers when I was 33 and dealing with older players at that time, making hard decisions and hopefully the right ones. Twenty or more years on, you still make the same decisions and sometimes the same mistakes. “Steven will know right away when he’s out on that training pitch what he needs. I don’t think there are many leaders at clubs unless it’s a top, top club. “Celtic maybe only have one, Scott Brown. In my days, eight or nine of us used to pull two or three through. Now you’re lucky if you have two or three pulling eight or nine through. Not just here, everywhere, in my opinion.” A win for Rangers – if Aberdeen draw or lose to Celtic – would see the Ibrox side finish second, although Nicholl does not expect the achievement to be greeted rapturously, should it occur “The supporters hate to hear that,” he said. Players, too, will turn around and say: ‘What’s second place mean?’ “At least it puts you on a good platform for the manager to come into. People will say a massive achievement for Rangers is winning the league and hopefully that will happen one day, but not at this moment in time. This is now the best we can do.”
Hearts midfielder Steven Naismith ends Hibernian's hopes of second
Hearts midfielder Steven Naismith ends Hibernian's hopes of second
Hearts midfielder Steven Naismith ends Hibernian's hopes of second
Neil Lennon was thwarted in his ­attempt to steer Hibernian into second place in the Scottish Premiership in their first season ­after promotion by a Hearts victory that enraptured the home fans in a crowd of 19,324 at Tynecastle. The damage was done by goals from Kyle Lafferty and Steven Naismith, on either side of Hibs’ contribution, a penalty kick put away by Florian Kamberi. Naismith, cited by the Scottish Football Association compliance ­officer for a challenge on Celtic’s Scott Brown in Sunday’s defeat, has until today to accept a two-match ban or appeal against the sanction, so was included in the Hearts midfield. David Milinkovic, Danny Amankwaa, Harry Cochrane and Aaron Hughes all came in, to ­replace John Souttar, Don Cowie, Ross Callachan and Lewis Moore respectively. Hibs made one change, replacing Jamie Maclaren with Brandon Barker. It was Barker who gave Hibs hope in an uninspired first half for the visitors but the English forward, on loan from Manchester City, placed two efforts straight into the grasp of Jon McLaughlin. In the 26th minute normally ­dependable Hibs full-back Lewis Stevenson was ambushed by Lafferty inside the box and watched helplessly as the Northern Irishman scored his 19th goal of the season. Hibs’ fortunes turned, however, early in the second half, when Joaquim Adao caught Stevenson’s heel inside the Hearts box for what referee Craig Thomson construed as a penalty kick. Kamberi stepped up to convert with a placed finish. The Hibs’ support behind McLaughlin’s goal got nearly 10 minutes of euphoria out of the equaliser before the pendulum swung again. Lafferty was involved once more, this time as the victim of a clumsy challenge by Paul Hanlon. From the free-kick, Cochrane’s precise, raking delivery was met by Naismith with a glancing header. Hibs responded by replacing Hanlon with Maclaren and spent the closing stages pushing three into attack, while Hearts were forced into a substitution when Cochrane went down with cramp, the teenager being replaced with Callachan. Shortly afterwards, Milinkovic aroused Lennon’s ire by lying in the Hibs penalty area with his leg outstretched, seemingly suffering from the same ailment as Cochrane. Lennon’s incandescent protest to the fourth official left no doubt of his opinion, but if he was gratified by the addition of six minutes of stoppage time, the Hibs manager was visibly frustrated by his players’ inability to force the equaliser that would have kept alive their hopes Team details Heart of Midlothian (4-3-3): McLaughlin; Smith, Hughes, Berra, Mitchell; Naismith, Adao (Cowie 69), Cochrane (Callachan 84); Amankwaa, Lafferty, Milinkovic (McDonald 89). Subs: Hamilton (g), Moore, Henderson, Hamilton. Booked: Lafferty. Hibernian (3-5-1-1): Marciano; Ambrose, McGregor, Hanlon (McLaren 67); Boyle (McGeouch 40), Allan (Slivka 78), Whittaker, McGinn, Stevenson; Barker, Kamberi. Subs: Bell (g), Bartley, Swanson, Shaw. Booked: Whittaker, McGregor. Referee: Craig Thomson.
Hearts midfielder Steven Naismith ends Hibernian's hopes of second
Neil Lennon was thwarted in his ­attempt to steer Hibernian into second place in the Scottish Premiership in their first season ­after promotion by a Hearts victory that enraptured the home fans in a crowd of 19,324 at Tynecastle. The damage was done by goals from Kyle Lafferty and Steven Naismith, on either side of Hibs’ contribution, a penalty kick put away by Florian Kamberi. Naismith, cited by the Scottish Football Association compliance ­officer for a challenge on Celtic’s Scott Brown in Sunday’s defeat, has until today to accept a two-match ban or appeal against the sanction, so was included in the Hearts midfield. David Milinkovic, Danny Amankwaa, Harry Cochrane and Aaron Hughes all came in, to ­replace John Souttar, Don Cowie, Ross Callachan and Lewis Moore respectively. Hibs made one change, replacing Jamie Maclaren with Brandon Barker. It was Barker who gave Hibs hope in an uninspired first half for the visitors but the English forward, on loan from Manchester City, placed two efforts straight into the grasp of Jon McLaughlin. In the 26th minute normally ­dependable Hibs full-back Lewis Stevenson was ambushed by Lafferty inside the box and watched helplessly as the Northern Irishman scored his 19th goal of the season. Hibs’ fortunes turned, however, early in the second half, when Joaquim Adao caught Stevenson’s heel inside the Hearts box for what referee Craig Thomson construed as a penalty kick. Kamberi stepped up to convert with a placed finish. The Hibs’ support behind McLaughlin’s goal got nearly 10 minutes of euphoria out of the equaliser before the pendulum swung again. Lafferty was involved once more, this time as the victim of a clumsy challenge by Paul Hanlon. From the free-kick, Cochrane’s precise, raking delivery was met by Naismith with a glancing header. Hibs responded by replacing Hanlon with Maclaren and spent the closing stages pushing three into attack, while Hearts were forced into a substitution when Cochrane went down with cramp, the teenager being replaced with Callachan. Shortly afterwards, Milinkovic aroused Lennon’s ire by lying in the Hibs penalty area with his leg outstretched, seemingly suffering from the same ailment as Cochrane. Lennon’s incandescent protest to the fourth official left no doubt of his opinion, but if he was gratified by the addition of six minutes of stoppage time, the Hibs manager was visibly frustrated by his players’ inability to force the equaliser that would have kept alive their hopes Team details Heart of Midlothian (4-3-3): McLaughlin; Smith, Hughes, Berra, Mitchell; Naismith, Adao (Cowie 69), Cochrane (Callachan 84); Amankwaa, Lafferty, Milinkovic (McDonald 89). Subs: Hamilton (g), Moore, Henderson, Hamilton. Booked: Lafferty. Hibernian (3-5-1-1): Marciano; Ambrose, McGregor, Hanlon (McLaren 67); Boyle (McGeouch 40), Allan (Slivka 78), Whittaker, McGinn, Stevenson; Barker, Kamberi. Subs: Bell (g), Bartley, Swanson, Shaw. Booked: Whittaker, McGregor. Referee: Craig Thomson.
Steven Gerrard must wait to discover when he will take charge of Rangers for the first time in a competitive game as the Ibrox club jostle with Aberdeen and Hibernian for Scotland’s quota of Europa League places. As matters stand, the Scottish Cup winners will enter the tournament in the second qualifying round, with the Scottish Premiership runners-up and the third placed side starting in the first round of qualifiers. The best scenario for Gerrard would be for Celtic to win the Scottish Cup and for Rangers to finish as league runners-up, in which case his players would begin their competitive season on July 26, giving the former Liverpool and England midfielder a little more breathing space as he attempts to reconstruct Rangers after the current dispiriting season. The nightmare scenario for the Ibrox board would be a fourth-place finish and a Motherwell win in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park on May 19. That combination would cost Rangers domestic prize money and exclude them from European football. Gerrard will sit down this week with Rangers’ director of football, Mark Allen, to identify signing targets. “That’s next on the list,” he said, when asked about his timetable on his first foray into football management. “We’ve already had a couple of brief chats but we will have lots of discussions as we try to make the team capable of competing.” With two fixture cards remaining, Rangers closed to within a point of Aberdeen after beating Kilmarnock for the first time this season. Jimmy Nicholl is in charge of Rangers for what remains of their campaign and he restored David Bates – bound for Hamburg in the summer – to central defence for the first time since March, with Ross McCrorie making way. The injured Josh Windass was replaced by Colombian striker, Alfredo Morelos, who had another frustrating outing in the Old Firm derby. None of these changes had proved productive by half time, with the game goalless and some of the home fans grumbling. The mood of frustration grew as the stalemate persisted into the closing stages of the contest. Nevertheless, Nicholl’s selection of Bates proved to be the ace card for Rangers in the 87th minute, when the centre-back got into the Kilmarnock area to turn home a Sean Goss cross. On Tuesday, Rangers travel to Pittodrie, where disparate trends encountered each other in the shape of Aberdeen and Hibs. The visitors had not won on their four most recent visits to the Granite City but arrived on an unbeaten run stretching back for 11 games. The Dons, meanwhile, had not won in May in a 13-game sequence which began in 2009. Hibs passed up a splendid opportunity to take an early lead when Jamie Maclaren was barged to the ground inside the box for a penalty kick which the Australian chose to take, only for Joe Lewis to read his intent and save with a dive low to his right to turn the ball up and over his crossbar. Maclaren was culpable again when he rose to meet a perfect cross from Martin Boyle six yards out and unmarked, but the striker placed his effort wide of the mark. Aberdeen took time to impose themselves but they came close when a Scott McKenna header was scooped off the line by Darren McGregor and, as the interval approached, Niall McGinn cracked a 25-yard free kick off the bar. John McGinn, the Hibs midfielder, alarmed Aberdeen with a 20-yard drive that was blocked by Lewis just before the hour mark, but his effort proved to be the last decent piece of work in a match which became more untidy as it wore on. “I am pleased with the performance and the mentality – and I’m disappointed not to come away with the three points,” said Neil Lennon. The Hibernian manager added: “Their goalkeeper got the man of the match and that says it all. We were comfortable and dealt with their aerial threat very well. We’ve still got a chance of finishing second. We are well in it.” Elsewhere, Motherwell seemed distracted by their appearance in the William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden in two weeks, as they were thrashed 5-1 at home to St Johnstone, for whom Steve MacLean scored a hat-trick on his final appearance for the Perth club. “It is what dreams are made of,” MacLean said, who was Saints’ captain for the day. “When I woke up I would not have thought about signing off with that. I am so happy to go off that way and I wish them every success in the future.”
Waiting game for Steven Gerrard as Rangers do battle for second in Scottish Premiership and a place in Europe
Steven Gerrard must wait to discover when he will take charge of Rangers for the first time in a competitive game as the Ibrox club jostle with Aberdeen and Hibernian for Scotland’s quota of Europa League places. As matters stand, the Scottish Cup winners will enter the tournament in the second qualifying round, with the Scottish Premiership runners-up and the third placed side starting in the first round of qualifiers. The best scenario for Gerrard would be for Celtic to win the Scottish Cup and for Rangers to finish as league runners-up, in which case his players would begin their competitive season on July 26, giving the former Liverpool and England midfielder a little more breathing space as he attempts to reconstruct Rangers after the current dispiriting season. The nightmare scenario for the Ibrox board would be a fourth-place finish and a Motherwell win in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park on May 19. That combination would cost Rangers domestic prize money and exclude them from European football. Gerrard will sit down this week with Rangers’ director of football, Mark Allen, to identify signing targets. “That’s next on the list,” he said, when asked about his timetable on his first foray into football management. “We’ve already had a couple of brief chats but we will have lots of discussions as we try to make the team capable of competing.” With two fixture cards remaining, Rangers closed to within a point of Aberdeen after beating Kilmarnock for the first time this season. Jimmy Nicholl is in charge of Rangers for what remains of their campaign and he restored David Bates – bound for Hamburg in the summer – to central defence for the first time since March, with Ross McCrorie making way. The injured Josh Windass was replaced by Colombian striker, Alfredo Morelos, who had another frustrating outing in the Old Firm derby. None of these changes had proved productive by half time, with the game goalless and some of the home fans grumbling. The mood of frustration grew as the stalemate persisted into the closing stages of the contest. Nevertheless, Nicholl’s selection of Bates proved to be the ace card for Rangers in the 87th minute, when the centre-back got into the Kilmarnock area to turn home a Sean Goss cross. On Tuesday, Rangers travel to Pittodrie, where disparate trends encountered each other in the shape of Aberdeen and Hibs. The visitors had not won on their four most recent visits to the Granite City but arrived on an unbeaten run stretching back for 11 games. The Dons, meanwhile, had not won in May in a 13-game sequence which began in 2009. Hibs passed up a splendid opportunity to take an early lead when Jamie Maclaren was barged to the ground inside the box for a penalty kick which the Australian chose to take, only for Joe Lewis to read his intent and save with a dive low to his right to turn the ball up and over his crossbar. Maclaren was culpable again when he rose to meet a perfect cross from Martin Boyle six yards out and unmarked, but the striker placed his effort wide of the mark. Aberdeen took time to impose themselves but they came close when a Scott McKenna header was scooped off the line by Darren McGregor and, as the interval approached, Niall McGinn cracked a 25-yard free kick off the bar. John McGinn, the Hibs midfielder, alarmed Aberdeen with a 20-yard drive that was blocked by Lewis just before the hour mark, but his effort proved to be the last decent piece of work in a match which became more untidy as it wore on. “I am pleased with the performance and the mentality – and I’m disappointed not to come away with the three points,” said Neil Lennon. The Hibernian manager added: “Their goalkeeper got the man of the match and that says it all. We were comfortable and dealt with their aerial threat very well. We’ve still got a chance of finishing second. We are well in it.” Elsewhere, Motherwell seemed distracted by their appearance in the William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden in two weeks, as they were thrashed 5-1 at home to St Johnstone, for whom Steve MacLean scored a hat-trick on his final appearance for the Perth club. “It is what dreams are made of,” MacLean said, who was Saints’ captain for the day. “When I woke up I would not have thought about signing off with that. I am so happy to go off that way and I wish them every success in the future.”
Steven Gerrard walked into the goldfish bowl of life as Rangers manager and declared himself “ready for the challenge” after revealing he had turned down eight other job offers before getting “a special feeling” about taking over at Ibrox. The former England captain was unveiled in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans as the 37-year-old quit his job as Liverpool Under-18 coach to take on the daunting task of overhauling Celtic and his old manager, Brendan Rodgers. Gerrard vowed to “ leave his ego” at the door as he spelt out why he had taken the Rangers job after revealing he had turned down numerous offers to leave his role at Liverpool. And he also admitted that until Liverpool made him aware of the approach from the 54-time Scottish champions he had expected to stay at Anfield and emerge as a potential successor to Jürgen Klopp. When asked if he had been tempted to stay at Liverpool and be in the frame to manage the club, Gerrard replied: “Yes. I had probably as many as eight other opportunities to be a manager, to be a number two, to be a coach, which presented themselves since I came home from Los Angeles [Galaxy, where he finished his playing career], but I never got the right feeling from them. When Rangers came, it was a game changer. “The first phone call came from Liverpool. They made me aware Rangers had been in touch and wanted permission to speak to me. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “It wasn’t a phone call I was expecting. I had a special feeling inside my stomach. My reply was ‘Yes, I would like the opportunity to speak to Rangers’.” If Gerrard were unaware of the excitement his arrival has caused then the reception he received will have changed that. There were so many supporters at Ibrox that police had to close to road outside the stadium, and when a fire engine raced past it prompted the thought this would have been an entirely apt mode of transport for Gerrard’s first managerial appointment. He takes the job in the immediate aftermath of two crushing defeats by a Celtic side who looked as though they were operating in a different league from their ancient rivals, but as Gerrard pointed out, he has never shirked a challenge. Gary McAllister (left) will be Steven Gerrard's assistant Credit: EPA "I have weighed the gamble up and the risk and I understand other people thinking it is because it is my first job in management, but I have confidence in myself that I can deliver for these supporters,” he said. “My parents brought me up in life to always front a challenge, if you feel like that challenge is the right one for you, go for it.” Asked if his heart had sunk while watching the beatings inflicted at Hampden Park and Parkhead, like everyone else connected with Rangers, Gerrard replied crisply: “I wasn’t connected with Rangers at that time. “To be honest, where I sit right now, it’s not the right time and place for me to talk about Celtic. There will be plenty of time for that in the future when we move forward and we start the challenge from the new season. “My priority is Rangers. I need to get this house in order, I need to produce a team and squad that’s capable of winning football matches. I want the supporters to skip into this place to watch that team and be proud of them and to see that we can take the team and club forward and make it competitive. Graeme Murty has been sacked as interim Rangers manager Credit: PA “That’s my priority, not what Celtic have been doing and not what other people have been doing in the league. I have to focus on every challenge that’s coming at us but for us to win those challenges and come out on top of them we need to sort Rangers out first.” Gerrard will not be Rangers manager until June 1, which means that the team’s three remaining matches – at home to Kilmarnock today (Sat), followed by a trip to Aberdeen on Tuesday and the visit of Hibernian next weekend – are not his responsibility. Instead, that burden falls upon Jimmy Nicholl, now acting as a caretaker boss for the third time in his career. Given the possibility that Rangers might lose any or all of these encounters, it is a deft ploy on the club’s part to keep their star acquisition free from the taint of failure at this fledgling stage of his career. Gerrard, of course, was never going to walk alone into the bearpit of Ibrox. Speculation that he would choose as an assistant someone who had played for the club turned out to be wide of the mark. Instead, he will be accompanied by Gary McAllister, whose most vivid memory of Ibrox is scoring for Leeds United there in the inaugural Champions League in 1992. “We have known each other for a long time and the key thing you are looking for when you are looking for an assistant is trust,” he said. “Gary ticks that box. He is a football man, he has been around the game for a long time as a player, a coach, an assistant and he has also been around Liverpool of late. “He is as excited as me, he can’t wait to get going. It was important that I found someone with experience because everyone knows in the room this is the first job opportunity for me that I have taken. He will certainly be the perfect assistant for me. “I’m going to make mistakes going forward. I’ve made plenty in my playing career and I’ve made many this season as a coach, but I believe in the staff I’m going to be bringing to share this journey with me. “I’m not perfect but I will put people around me to support me, to complement where I need a bit of help and guidance. We will park the egos at the front door.” Of Brendan Rodgers, his erstwhile manager, mentor and future Old Firm counterpart, there was only a fleeting mention. “I’m not sure how the relationship will change,” Gerrard said. “Right now, as I sit here, everything is fine. I really enjoyed my time as a player under Brendan, I have nothing but respect for the man and the coach. “The way I see it, it’s a very exciting challenge for myself to go up against not just Brendan but the other top managers in the league and the managers around Europe as well. That’s where I am now and that’s what I’ve got to face, that competition from other managers around the world, not just the closest ones.”
Steven Gerrard has 'special feeling' about taking over at Rangers
Steven Gerrard walked into the goldfish bowl of life as Rangers manager and declared himself “ready for the challenge” after revealing he had turned down eight other job offers before getting “a special feeling” about taking over at Ibrox. The former England captain was unveiled in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans as the 37-year-old quit his job as Liverpool Under-18 coach to take on the daunting task of overhauling Celtic and his old manager, Brendan Rodgers. Gerrard vowed to “ leave his ego” at the door as he spelt out why he had taken the Rangers job after revealing he had turned down numerous offers to leave his role at Liverpool. And he also admitted that until Liverpool made him aware of the approach from the 54-time Scottish champions he had expected to stay at Anfield and emerge as a potential successor to Jürgen Klopp. When asked if he had been tempted to stay at Liverpool and be in the frame to manage the club, Gerrard replied: “Yes. I had probably as many as eight other opportunities to be a manager, to be a number two, to be a coach, which presented themselves since I came home from Los Angeles [Galaxy, where he finished his playing career], but I never got the right feeling from them. When Rangers came, it was a game changer. “The first phone call came from Liverpool. They made me aware Rangers had been in touch and wanted permission to speak to me. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “It wasn’t a phone call I was expecting. I had a special feeling inside my stomach. My reply was ‘Yes, I would like the opportunity to speak to Rangers’.” If Gerrard were unaware of the excitement his arrival has caused then the reception he received will have changed that. There were so many supporters at Ibrox that police had to close to road outside the stadium, and when a fire engine raced past it prompted the thought this would have been an entirely apt mode of transport for Gerrard’s first managerial appointment. He takes the job in the immediate aftermath of two crushing defeats by a Celtic side who looked as though they were operating in a different league from their ancient rivals, but as Gerrard pointed out, he has never shirked a challenge. Gary McAllister (left) will be Steven Gerrard's assistant Credit: EPA "I have weighed the gamble up and the risk and I understand other people thinking it is because it is my first job in management, but I have confidence in myself that I can deliver for these supporters,” he said. “My parents brought me up in life to always front a challenge, if you feel like that challenge is the right one for you, go for it.” Asked if his heart had sunk while watching the beatings inflicted at Hampden Park and Parkhead, like everyone else connected with Rangers, Gerrard replied crisply: “I wasn’t connected with Rangers at that time. “To be honest, where I sit right now, it’s not the right time and place for me to talk about Celtic. There will be plenty of time for that in the future when we move forward and we start the challenge from the new season. “My priority is Rangers. I need to get this house in order, I need to produce a team and squad that’s capable of winning football matches. I want the supporters to skip into this place to watch that team and be proud of them and to see that we can take the team and club forward and make it competitive. Graeme Murty has been sacked as interim Rangers manager Credit: PA “That’s my priority, not what Celtic have been doing and not what other people have been doing in the league. I have to focus on every challenge that’s coming at us but for us to win those challenges and come out on top of them we need to sort Rangers out first.” Gerrard will not be Rangers manager until June 1, which means that the team’s three remaining matches – at home to Kilmarnock today (Sat), followed by a trip to Aberdeen on Tuesday and the visit of Hibernian next weekend – are not his responsibility. Instead, that burden falls upon Jimmy Nicholl, now acting as a caretaker boss for the third time in his career. Given the possibility that Rangers might lose any or all of these encounters, it is a deft ploy on the club’s part to keep their star acquisition free from the taint of failure at this fledgling stage of his career. Gerrard, of course, was never going to walk alone into the bearpit of Ibrox. Speculation that he would choose as an assistant someone who had played for the club turned out to be wide of the mark. Instead, he will be accompanied by Gary McAllister, whose most vivid memory of Ibrox is scoring for Leeds United there in the inaugural Champions League in 1992. “We have known each other for a long time and the key thing you are looking for when you are looking for an assistant is trust,” he said. “Gary ticks that box. He is a football man, he has been around the game for a long time as a player, a coach, an assistant and he has also been around Liverpool of late. “He is as excited as me, he can’t wait to get going. It was important that I found someone with experience because everyone knows in the room this is the first job opportunity for me that I have taken. He will certainly be the perfect assistant for me. “I’m going to make mistakes going forward. I’ve made plenty in my playing career and I’ve made many this season as a coach, but I believe in the staff I’m going to be bringing to share this journey with me. “I’m not perfect but I will put people around me to support me, to complement where I need a bit of help and guidance. We will park the egos at the front door.” Of Brendan Rodgers, his erstwhile manager, mentor and future Old Firm counterpart, there was only a fleeting mention. “I’m not sure how the relationship will change,” Gerrard said. “Right now, as I sit here, everything is fine. I really enjoyed my time as a player under Brendan, I have nothing but respect for the man and the coach. “The way I see it, it’s a very exciting challenge for myself to go up against not just Brendan but the other top managers in the league and the managers around Europe as well. That’s where I am now and that’s what I’ve got to face, that competition from other managers around the world, not just the closest ones.”
Steven Gerrard walked into the goldfish bowl of life as Rangers manager and declared himself “ready for the challenge” after revealing he had turned down eight other job offers before getting “a special feeling” about taking over at Ibrox. The former England captain was unveiled in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans as the 37-year-old quit his job as Liverpool Under-18 coach to take on the daunting task of overhauling Celtic and his old manager, Brendan Rodgers. Gerrard vowed to “ leave his ego” at the door as he spelt out why he had taken the Rangers job after revealing he had turned down numerous offers to leave his role at Liverpool. And he also admitted that until Liverpool made him aware of the approach from the 54-time Scottish champions he had expected to stay at Anfield and emerge as a potential successor to Jürgen Klopp. When asked if he had been tempted to stay at Liverpool and be in the frame to manage the club, Gerrard replied: “Yes. I had probably as many as eight other opportunities to be a manager, to be a number two, to be a coach, which presented themselves since I came home from Los Angeles [Galaxy, where he finished his playing career], but I never got the right feeling from them. When Rangers came, it was a game changer. “The first phone call came from Liverpool. They made me aware Rangers had been in touch and wanted permission to speak to me. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “It wasn’t a phone call I was expecting. I had a special feeling inside my stomach. My reply was ‘Yes, I would like the opportunity to speak to Rangers’.” If Gerrard were unaware of the excitement his arrival has caused then the reception he received will have changed that. There were so many supporters at Ibrox that police had to close to road outside the stadium, and when a fire engine raced past it prompted the thought this would have been an entirely apt mode of transport for Gerrard’s first managerial appointment. He takes the job in the immediate aftermath of two crushing defeats by a Celtic side who looked as though they were operating in a different league from their ancient rivals, but as Gerrard pointed out, he has never shirked a challenge. Gary McAllister (left) will be Steven Gerrard's assistant Credit: EPA "I have weighed the gamble up and the risk and I understand other people thinking it is because it is my first job in management, but I have confidence in myself that I can deliver for these supporters,” he said. “My parents brought me up in life to always front a challenge, if you feel like that challenge is the right one for you, go for it.” Asked if his heart had sunk while watching the beatings inflicted at Hampden Park and Parkhead, like everyone else connected with Rangers, Gerrard replied crisply: “I wasn’t connected with Rangers at that time. “To be honest, where I sit right now, it’s not the right time and place for me to talk about Celtic. There will be plenty of time for that in the future when we move forward and we start the challenge from the new season. “My priority is Rangers. I need to get this house in order, I need to produce a team and squad that’s capable of winning football matches. I want the supporters to skip into this place to watch that team and be proud of them and to see that we can take the team and club forward and make it competitive. Graeme Murty has been sacked as interim Rangers manager Credit: PA “That’s my priority, not what Celtic have been doing and not what other people have been doing in the league. I have to focus on every challenge that’s coming at us but for us to win those challenges and come out on top of them we need to sort Rangers out first.” Gerrard will not be Rangers manager until June 1, which means that the team’s three remaining matches – at home to Kilmarnock today (Sat), followed by a trip to Aberdeen on Tuesday and the visit of Hibernian next weekend – are not his responsibility. Instead, that burden falls upon Jimmy Nicholl, now acting as a caretaker boss for the third time in his career. Given the possibility that Rangers might lose any or all of these encounters, it is a deft ploy on the club’s part to keep their star acquisition free from the taint of failure at this fledgling stage of his career. Gerrard, of course, was never going to walk alone into the bearpit of Ibrox. Speculation that he would choose as an assistant someone who had played for the club turned out to be wide of the mark. Instead, he will be accompanied by Gary McAllister, whose most vivid memory of Ibrox is scoring for Leeds United there in the inaugural Champions League in 1992. “We have known each other for a long time and the key thing you are looking for when you are looking for an assistant is trust,” he said. “Gary ticks that box. He is a football man, he has been around the game for a long time as a player, a coach, an assistant and he has also been around Liverpool of late. “He is as excited as me, he can’t wait to get going. It was important that I found someone with experience because everyone knows in the room this is the first job opportunity for me that I have taken. He will certainly be the perfect assistant for me. “I’m going to make mistakes going forward. I’ve made plenty in my playing career and I’ve made many this season as a coach, but I believe in the staff I’m going to be bringing to share this journey with me. “I’m not perfect but I will put people around me to support me, to complement where I need a bit of help and guidance. We will park the egos at the front door.” Of Brendan Rodgers, his erstwhile manager, mentor and future Old Firm counterpart, there was only a fleeting mention. “I’m not sure how the relationship will change,” Gerrard said. “Right now, as I sit here, everything is fine. I really enjoyed my time as a player under Brendan, I have nothing but respect for the man and the coach. “The way I see it, it’s a very exciting challenge for myself to go up against not just Brendan but the other top managers in the league and the managers around Europe as well. That’s where I am now and that’s what I’ve got to face, that competition from other managers around the world, not just the closest ones.”
Steven Gerrard has 'special feeling' about taking over at Rangers
Steven Gerrard walked into the goldfish bowl of life as Rangers manager and declared himself “ready for the challenge” after revealing he had turned down eight other job offers before getting “a special feeling” about taking over at Ibrox. The former England captain was unveiled in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans as the 37-year-old quit his job as Liverpool Under-18 coach to take on the daunting task of overhauling Celtic and his old manager, Brendan Rodgers. Gerrard vowed to “ leave his ego” at the door as he spelt out why he had taken the Rangers job after revealing he had turned down numerous offers to leave his role at Liverpool. And he also admitted that until Liverpool made him aware of the approach from the 54-time Scottish champions he had expected to stay at Anfield and emerge as a potential successor to Jürgen Klopp. When asked if he had been tempted to stay at Liverpool and be in the frame to manage the club, Gerrard replied: “Yes. I had probably as many as eight other opportunities to be a manager, to be a number two, to be a coach, which presented themselves since I came home from Los Angeles [Galaxy, where he finished his playing career], but I never got the right feeling from them. When Rangers came, it was a game changer. “The first phone call came from Liverpool. They made me aware Rangers had been in touch and wanted permission to speak to me. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “It wasn’t a phone call I was expecting. I had a special feeling inside my stomach. My reply was ‘Yes, I would like the opportunity to speak to Rangers’.” If Gerrard were unaware of the excitement his arrival has caused then the reception he received will have changed that. There were so many supporters at Ibrox that police had to close to road outside the stadium, and when a fire engine raced past it prompted the thought this would have been an entirely apt mode of transport for Gerrard’s first managerial appointment. He takes the job in the immediate aftermath of two crushing defeats by a Celtic side who looked as though they were operating in a different league from their ancient rivals, but as Gerrard pointed out, he has never shirked a challenge. Gary McAllister (left) will be Steven Gerrard's assistant Credit: EPA "I have weighed the gamble up and the risk and I understand other people thinking it is because it is my first job in management, but I have confidence in myself that I can deliver for these supporters,” he said. “My parents brought me up in life to always front a challenge, if you feel like that challenge is the right one for you, go for it.” Asked if his heart had sunk while watching the beatings inflicted at Hampden Park and Parkhead, like everyone else connected with Rangers, Gerrard replied crisply: “I wasn’t connected with Rangers at that time. “To be honest, where I sit right now, it’s not the right time and place for me to talk about Celtic. There will be plenty of time for that in the future when we move forward and we start the challenge from the new season. “My priority is Rangers. I need to get this house in order, I need to produce a team and squad that’s capable of winning football matches. I want the supporters to skip into this place to watch that team and be proud of them and to see that we can take the team and club forward and make it competitive. Graeme Murty has been sacked as interim Rangers manager Credit: PA “That’s my priority, not what Celtic have been doing and not what other people have been doing in the league. I have to focus on every challenge that’s coming at us but for us to win those challenges and come out on top of them we need to sort Rangers out first.” Gerrard will not be Rangers manager until June 1, which means that the team’s three remaining matches – at home to Kilmarnock today (Sat), followed by a trip to Aberdeen on Tuesday and the visit of Hibernian next weekend – are not his responsibility. Instead, that burden falls upon Jimmy Nicholl, now acting as a caretaker boss for the third time in his career. Given the possibility that Rangers might lose any or all of these encounters, it is a deft ploy on the club’s part to keep their star acquisition free from the taint of failure at this fledgling stage of his career. Gerrard, of course, was never going to walk alone into the bearpit of Ibrox. Speculation that he would choose as an assistant someone who had played for the club turned out to be wide of the mark. Instead, he will be accompanied by Gary McAllister, whose most vivid memory of Ibrox is scoring for Leeds United there in the inaugural Champions League in 1992. “We have known each other for a long time and the key thing you are looking for when you are looking for an assistant is trust,” he said. “Gary ticks that box. He is a football man, he has been around the game for a long time as a player, a coach, an assistant and he has also been around Liverpool of late. “He is as excited as me, he can’t wait to get going. It was important that I found someone with experience because everyone knows in the room this is the first job opportunity for me that I have taken. He will certainly be the perfect assistant for me. “I’m going to make mistakes going forward. I’ve made plenty in my playing career and I’ve made many this season as a coach, but I believe in the staff I’m going to be bringing to share this journey with me. “I’m not perfect but I will put people around me to support me, to complement where I need a bit of help and guidance. We will park the egos at the front door.” Of Brendan Rodgers, his erstwhile manager, mentor and future Old Firm counterpart, there was only a fleeting mention. “I’m not sure how the relationship will change,” Gerrard said. “Right now, as I sit here, everything is fine. I really enjoyed my time as a player under Brendan, I have nothing but respect for the man and the coach. “The way I see it, it’s a very exciting challenge for myself to go up against not just Brendan but the other top managers in the league and the managers around Europe as well. That’s where I am now and that’s what I’ve got to face, that competition from other managers around the world, not just the closest ones.”
Steven Gerrard walked into the goldfish bowl of life as Rangers manager and declared himself “ready for the challenge” after revealing he had turned down eight other job offers before getting “a special feeling” about taking over at Ibrox. The former England captain was unveiled in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans as the 37-year-old quit his job as Liverpool Under-18 coach to take on the daunting task of overhauling Celtic and his old manager, Brendan Rodgers. Gerrard vowed to “ leave his ego” at the door as he spelt out why he had taken the Rangers job after revealing he had turned down numerous offers to leave his role at Liverpool. And he also admitted that until Liverpool made him aware of the approach from the 54-time Scottish champions he had expected to stay at Anfield and emerge as a potential successor to Jürgen Klopp. When asked if he had been tempted to stay at Liverpool and be in the frame to manage the club, Gerrard replied: “Yes. I had probably as many as eight other opportunities to be a manager, to be a number two, to be a coach, which presented themselves since I came home from Los Angeles [Galaxy, where he finished his playing career], but I never got the right feeling from them. When Rangers came, it was a game changer. “The first phone call came from Liverpool. They made me aware Rangers had been in touch and wanted permission to speak to me. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “It wasn’t a phone call I was expecting. I had a special feeling inside my stomach. My reply was ‘Yes, I would like the opportunity to speak to Rangers’.” If Gerrard were unaware of the excitement his arrival has caused then the reception he received will have changed that. There were so many supporters at Ibrox that police had to close to road outside the stadium, and when a fire engine raced past it prompted the thought this would have been an entirely apt mode of transport for Gerrard’s first managerial appointment. He takes the job in the immediate aftermath of two crushing defeats by a Celtic side who looked as though they were operating in a different league from their ancient rivals, but as Gerrard pointed out, he has never shirked a challenge. Gary McAllister (left) will be Steven Gerrard's assistant Credit: EPA "I have weighed the gamble up and the risk and I understand other people thinking it is because it is my first job in management, but I have confidence in myself that I can deliver for these supporters,” he said. “My parents brought me up in life to always front a challenge, if you feel like that challenge is the right one for you, go for it.” Asked if his heart had sunk while watching the beatings inflicted at Hampden Park and Parkhead, like everyone else connected with Rangers, Gerrard replied crisply: “I wasn’t connected with Rangers at that time. “To be honest, where I sit right now, it’s not the right time and place for me to talk about Celtic. There will be plenty of time for that in the future when we move forward and we start the challenge from the new season. “My priority is Rangers. I need to get this house in order, I need to produce a team and squad that’s capable of winning football matches. I want the supporters to skip into this place to watch that team and be proud of them and to see that we can take the team and club forward and make it competitive. Graeme Murty has been sacked as interim Rangers manager Credit: PA “That’s my priority, not what Celtic have been doing and not what other people have been doing in the league. I have to focus on every challenge that’s coming at us but for us to win those challenges and come out on top of them we need to sort Rangers out first.” Gerrard will not be Rangers manager until June 1, which means that the team’s three remaining matches – at home to Kilmarnock today (Sat), followed by a trip to Aberdeen on Tuesday and the visit of Hibernian next weekend – are not his responsibility. Instead, that burden falls upon Jimmy Nicholl, now acting as a caretaker boss for the third time in his career. Given the possibility that Rangers might lose any or all of these encounters, it is a deft ploy on the club’s part to keep their star acquisition free from the taint of failure at this fledgling stage of his career. Gerrard, of course, was never going to walk alone into the bearpit of Ibrox. Speculation that he would choose as an assistant someone who had played for the club turned out to be wide of the mark. Instead, he will be accompanied by Gary McAllister, whose most vivid memory of Ibrox is scoring for Leeds United there in the inaugural Champions League in 1992. “We have known each other for a long time and the key thing you are looking for when you are looking for an assistant is trust,” he said. “Gary ticks that box. He is a football man, he has been around the game for a long time as a player, a coach, an assistant and he has also been around Liverpool of late. “He is as excited as me, he can’t wait to get going. It was important that I found someone with experience because everyone knows in the room this is the first job opportunity for me that I have taken. He will certainly be the perfect assistant for me. “I’m going to make mistakes going forward. I’ve made plenty in my playing career and I’ve made many this season as a coach, but I believe in the staff I’m going to be bringing to share this journey with me. “I’m not perfect but I will put people around me to support me, to complement where I need a bit of help and guidance. We will park the egos at the front door.” Of Brendan Rodgers, his erstwhile manager, mentor and future Old Firm counterpart, there was only a fleeting mention. “I’m not sure how the relationship will change,” Gerrard said. “Right now, as I sit here, everything is fine. I really enjoyed my time as a player under Brendan, I have nothing but respect for the man and the coach. “The way I see it, it’s a very exciting challenge for myself to go up against not just Brendan but the other top managers in the league and the managers around Europe as well. That’s where I am now and that’s what I’ve got to face, that competition from other managers around the world, not just the closest ones.”
Steven Gerrard has 'special feeling' about taking over at Rangers
Steven Gerrard walked into the goldfish bowl of life as Rangers manager and declared himself “ready for the challenge” after revealing he had turned down eight other job offers before getting “a special feeling” about taking over at Ibrox. The former England captain was unveiled in front of a crowd of 7,000 fans as the 37-year-old quit his job as Liverpool Under-18 coach to take on the daunting task of overhauling Celtic and his old manager, Brendan Rodgers. Gerrard vowed to “ leave his ego” at the door as he spelt out why he had taken the Rangers job after revealing he had turned down numerous offers to leave his role at Liverpool. And he also admitted that until Liverpool made him aware of the approach from the 54-time Scottish champions he had expected to stay at Anfield and emerge as a potential successor to Jürgen Klopp. When asked if he had been tempted to stay at Liverpool and be in the frame to manage the club, Gerrard replied: “Yes. I had probably as many as eight other opportunities to be a manager, to be a number two, to be a coach, which presented themselves since I came home from Los Angeles [Galaxy, where he finished his playing career], but I never got the right feeling from them. When Rangers came, it was a game changer. “The first phone call came from Liverpool. They made me aware Rangers had been in touch and wanted permission to speak to me. Steven Gerrard will flourish or fail at Rangers on his record against Celtic “It wasn’t a phone call I was expecting. I had a special feeling inside my stomach. My reply was ‘Yes, I would like the opportunity to speak to Rangers’.” If Gerrard were unaware of the excitement his arrival has caused then the reception he received will have changed that. There were so many supporters at Ibrox that police had to close to road outside the stadium, and when a fire engine raced past it prompted the thought this would have been an entirely apt mode of transport for Gerrard’s first managerial appointment. He takes the job in the immediate aftermath of two crushing defeats by a Celtic side who looked as though they were operating in a different league from their ancient rivals, but as Gerrard pointed out, he has never shirked a challenge. Gary McAllister (left) will be Steven Gerrard's assistant Credit: EPA "I have weighed the gamble up and the risk and I understand other people thinking it is because it is my first job in management, but I have confidence in myself that I can deliver for these supporters,” he said. “My parents brought me up in life to always front a challenge, if you feel like that challenge is the right one for you, go for it.” Asked if his heart had sunk while watching the beatings inflicted at Hampden Park and Parkhead, like everyone else connected with Rangers, Gerrard replied crisply: “I wasn’t connected with Rangers at that time. “To be honest, where I sit right now, it’s not the right time and place for me to talk about Celtic. There will be plenty of time for that in the future when we move forward and we start the challenge from the new season. “My priority is Rangers. I need to get this house in order, I need to produce a team and squad that’s capable of winning football matches. I want the supporters to skip into this place to watch that team and be proud of them and to see that we can take the team and club forward and make it competitive. Graeme Murty has been sacked as interim Rangers manager Credit: PA “That’s my priority, not what Celtic have been doing and not what other people have been doing in the league. I have to focus on every challenge that’s coming at us but for us to win those challenges and come out on top of them we need to sort Rangers out first.” Gerrard will not be Rangers manager until June 1, which means that the team’s three remaining matches – at home to Kilmarnock today (Sat), followed by a trip to Aberdeen on Tuesday and the visit of Hibernian next weekend – are not his responsibility. Instead, that burden falls upon Jimmy Nicholl, now acting as a caretaker boss for the third time in his career. Given the possibility that Rangers might lose any or all of these encounters, it is a deft ploy on the club’s part to keep their star acquisition free from the taint of failure at this fledgling stage of his career. Gerrard, of course, was never going to walk alone into the bearpit of Ibrox. Speculation that he would choose as an assistant someone who had played for the club turned out to be wide of the mark. Instead, he will be accompanied by Gary McAllister, whose most vivid memory of Ibrox is scoring for Leeds United there in the inaugural Champions League in 1992. “We have known each other for a long time and the key thing you are looking for when you are looking for an assistant is trust,” he said. “Gary ticks that box. He is a football man, he has been around the game for a long time as a player, a coach, an assistant and he has also been around Liverpool of late. “He is as excited as me, he can’t wait to get going. It was important that I found someone with experience because everyone knows in the room this is the first job opportunity for me that I have taken. He will certainly be the perfect assistant for me. “I’m going to make mistakes going forward. I’ve made plenty in my playing career and I’ve made many this season as a coach, but I believe in the staff I’m going to be bringing to share this journey with me. “I’m not perfect but I will put people around me to support me, to complement where I need a bit of help and guidance. We will park the egos at the front door.” Of Brendan Rodgers, his erstwhile manager, mentor and future Old Firm counterpart, there was only a fleeting mention. “I’m not sure how the relationship will change,” Gerrard said. “Right now, as I sit here, everything is fine. I really enjoyed my time as a player under Brendan, I have nothing but respect for the man and the coach. “The way I see it, it’s a very exciting challenge for myself to go up against not just Brendan but the other top managers in the league and the managers around Europe as well. That’s where I am now and that’s what I’ve got to face, that competition from other managers around the world, not just the closest ones.”
Tim Cahill wants to join an elite list of World Cup scorers to sit alongside Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. If he makes the cut for Australia's 23-man squad, the 38-year-old Cahill has a good chance of becoming just the fourth player to score in four consecutive World Cups. When Australia need goals they turn to Cahill. The forward has scored almost half of the team's World Cup goals: five of 11. The Socceroos have Cahill to thank for their first World Cup win in 2006 by scoring late goals against Japan. Cahill scored both in Australia's Asian play-off win over Syria late last year as a place at a fourth consecutive World Cup was clinched. But age, a lack of playing time since he returned to Millwall, and the fact Australia's newly-hired coach Bert van Marwijk wants to select a squad based on recent form rather than reputation, means his spot in Russia is far from guaranteed. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know It's just part of the uncertainty over preparations for a group stage that will see No 40-ranked Australia play a trio of sides in the top 12: France (7), Peru (11) and Denmark (12). Van Marwijk was appointed only in January on a short-term deal to replace Ange Postecoglou, who quit after guiding the team through the longest qualifying path to Russia. Van Marwijk helped Saudi Arabia secure a spot in Russia before quitting that job - and his first game in charge of Australia was a 4-1 loss to Norway in March. With a new formation in the works, Cahill's best chance of playing time is likely as an impact player from the bench. Here's a closer look at the Australia team: Coach Van Marwijk took on the job saying his mission was to help Australia survive the group stage. He guided Holland to the 2010 World Cup final, and coached Saudi Arabia to an automatic berth in Russia from a group that included Australia. He said that gave him a good idea of Australia's strengths and weaknesses. He will be the third Dutch coach to guide Australia at the World Cup, following Guus Hiddink in 2006 and Pim Verbeek in 2010. Australia coach Bert van Marwijk Credit: AP Goalkeepers Mat Ryan of Premier League club Brighton has been Australia's first-choice since 2012 and was voted goalkeeper of the tournament when the Socceroos won the 2015 Asian Cup on home soil. The 36-year-old Brad Jones is a late contender to challenge Ryan after keeping a clean sheet in the first half of the friendly against Colombia, his first action for Australia since March 2014. Jones is aiming to be part of a World Cup campaign for the first time after missing out in 2010 in South Africa after his son, Luca, was diagnosed with cancer just before the tournament opener. His recall by Van Marwijk follows an impressive season at Feyenoord. Defenders The most question marks over Australia's formation will be at the back, with Van Marwijk dispensing with the 3-4-3 formation that exposed some defensive holes in the qualifying campaign and plenty of criticism for Postecoglou. Trent Sainsbury and Matt Jurman missed the recent friendlies but are expected to play central roles in Russia. Milos Degenek and Aziz Behich will be pushing for starting spots. World Cup predictor Midfielders Internal competition is most intense in the midfield. Skipper Mile Jedinak and Aaron Mooy have been steady regulars and Tom Rogic has been a reliable playmaker and attacking threat. Queens Park Rangers midfielder Massimo Luongo has added another dimension recently with his timing and fast footwork. Jedinak and Jackson Irvine offer versatility as options in the midfield or defensive line. Forwards The Australians will likely struggle to score in open play against quality defences. Tomi Juric scored six in qualifying to top the Australian scoring list. He's hoping the three goals against the Saudis will help his claims for selection. Cahill and Matthew Leckie have established credentials and Jamie Maclaren's recent form at Hibernian has increased his chances of a call-up. Group games Australia will be based in Kazan and open Group C in the southwest city against France on June 16. After playing Denmark on June 21, Australia close against Peru on June 26.
Australia World Cup 2018 squad: Latest player news and injury information
Tim Cahill wants to join an elite list of World Cup scorers to sit alongside Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. If he makes the cut for Australia's 23-man squad, the 38-year-old Cahill has a good chance of becoming just the fourth player to score in four consecutive World Cups. When Australia need goals they turn to Cahill. The forward has scored almost half of the team's World Cup goals: five of 11. The Socceroos have Cahill to thank for their first World Cup win in 2006 by scoring late goals against Japan. Cahill scored both in Australia's Asian play-off win over Syria late last year as a place at a fourth consecutive World Cup was clinched. But age, a lack of playing time since he returned to Millwall, and the fact Australia's newly-hired coach Bert van Marwijk wants to select a squad based on recent form rather than reputation, means his spot in Russia is far from guaranteed. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know It's just part of the uncertainty over preparations for a group stage that will see No 40-ranked Australia play a trio of sides in the top 12: France (7), Peru (11) and Denmark (12). Van Marwijk was appointed only in January on a short-term deal to replace Ange Postecoglou, who quit after guiding the team through the longest qualifying path to Russia. Van Marwijk helped Saudi Arabia secure a spot in Russia before quitting that job - and his first game in charge of Australia was a 4-1 loss to Norway in March. With a new formation in the works, Cahill's best chance of playing time is likely as an impact player from the bench. Here's a closer look at the Australia team: Coach Van Marwijk took on the job saying his mission was to help Australia survive the group stage. He guided Holland to the 2010 World Cup final, and coached Saudi Arabia to an automatic berth in Russia from a group that included Australia. He said that gave him a good idea of Australia's strengths and weaknesses. He will be the third Dutch coach to guide Australia at the World Cup, following Guus Hiddink in 2006 and Pim Verbeek in 2010. Australia coach Bert van Marwijk Credit: AP Goalkeepers Mat Ryan of Premier League club Brighton has been Australia's first-choice since 2012 and was voted goalkeeper of the tournament when the Socceroos won the 2015 Asian Cup on home soil. The 36-year-old Brad Jones is a late contender to challenge Ryan after keeping a clean sheet in the first half of the friendly against Colombia, his first action for Australia since March 2014. Jones is aiming to be part of a World Cup campaign for the first time after missing out in 2010 in South Africa after his son, Luca, was diagnosed with cancer just before the tournament opener. His recall by Van Marwijk follows an impressive season at Feyenoord. Defenders The most question marks over Australia's formation will be at the back, with Van Marwijk dispensing with the 3-4-3 formation that exposed some defensive holes in the qualifying campaign and plenty of criticism for Postecoglou. Trent Sainsbury and Matt Jurman missed the recent friendlies but are expected to play central roles in Russia. Milos Degenek and Aziz Behich will be pushing for starting spots. World Cup predictor Midfielders Internal competition is most intense in the midfield. Skipper Mile Jedinak and Aaron Mooy have been steady regulars and Tom Rogic has been a reliable playmaker and attacking threat. Queens Park Rangers midfielder Massimo Luongo has added another dimension recently with his timing and fast footwork. Jedinak and Jackson Irvine offer versatility as options in the midfield or defensive line. Forwards The Australians will likely struggle to score in open play against quality defences. Tomi Juric scored six in qualifying to top the Australian scoring list. He's hoping the three goals against the Saudis will help his claims for selection. Cahill and Matthew Leckie have established credentials and Jamie Maclaren's recent form at Hibernian has increased his chances of a call-up. Group games Australia will be based in Kazan and open Group C in the southwest city against France on June 16. After playing Denmark on June 21, Australia close against Peru on June 26.
Tim Cahill wants to join an elite list of World Cup scorers to sit alongside Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. If he makes the cut for Australia's 23-man squad, the 38-year-old Cahill has a good chance of becoming just the fourth player to score in four consecutive World Cups. When Australia need goals they turn to Cahill. The forward has scored almost half of the team's World Cup goals: five of 11. The Socceroos have Cahill to thank for their first World Cup win in 2006 by scoring late goals against Japan. Cahill scored both in Australia's Asian play-off win over Syria late last year as a place at a fourth consecutive World Cup was clinched. But age, a lack of playing time since he returned to Millwall, and the fact Australia's newly-hired coach Bert van Marwijk wants to select a squad based on recent form rather than reputation, means his spot in Russia is far from guaranteed. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know It's just part of the uncertainty over preparations for a group stage that will see No 40-ranked Australia play a trio of sides in the top 12: France (7), Peru (11) and Denmark (12). Van Marwijk was appointed only in January on a short-term deal to replace Ange Postecoglou, who quit after guiding the team through the longest qualifying path to Russia. Van Marwijk helped Saudi Arabia secure a spot in Russia before quitting that job - and his first game in charge of Australia was a 4-1 loss to Norway in March. With a new formation in the works, Cahill's best chance of playing time is likely as an impact player from the bench. Here's a closer look at the Australia team: Coach Van Marwijk took on the job saying his mission was to help Australia survive the group stage. He guided Holland to the 2010 World Cup final, and coached Saudi Arabia to an automatic berth in Russia from a group that included Australia. He said that gave him a good idea of Australia's strengths and weaknesses. He will be the third Dutch coach to guide Australia at the World Cup, following Guus Hiddink in 2006 and Pim Verbeek in 2010. Australia coach Bert van Marwijk Credit: AP Goalkeepers Mat Ryan of Premier League club Brighton has been Australia's first-choice since 2012 and was voted goalkeeper of the tournament when the Socceroos won the 2015 Asian Cup on home soil. The 36-year-old Brad Jones is a late contender to challenge Ryan after keeping a clean sheet in the first half of the friendly against Colombia, his first action for Australia since March 2014. Jones is aiming to be part of a World Cup campaign for the first time after missing out in 2010 in South Africa after his son, Luca, was diagnosed with cancer just before the tournament opener. His recall by Van Marwijk follows an impressive season at Feyenoord. Defenders The most question marks over Australia's formation will be at the back, with Van Marwijk dispensing with the 3-4-3 formation that exposed some defensive holes in the qualifying campaign and plenty of criticism for Postecoglou. Trent Sainsbury and Matt Jurman missed the recent friendlies but are expected to play central roles in Russia. Milos Degenek and Aziz Behich will be pushing for starting spots. World Cup predictor Midfielders Internal competition is most intense in the midfield. Skipper Mile Jedinak and Aaron Mooy have been steady regulars and Tom Rogic has been a reliable playmaker and attacking threat. Queens Park Rangers midfielder Massimo Luongo has added another dimension recently with his timing and fast footwork. Jedinak and Jackson Irvine offer versatility as options in the midfield or defensive line. Forwards The Australians will likely struggle to score in open play against quality defences. Tomi Juric scored six in qualifying to top the Australian scoring list. He's hoping the three goals against the Saudis will help his claims for selection. Cahill and Matthew Leckie have established credentials and Jamie Maclaren's recent form at Hibernian has increased his chances of a call-up. Group games Australia will be based in Kazan and open Group C in the southwest city against France on June 16. After playing Denmark on June 21, Australia close against Peru on June 26.
Australia World Cup 2018 squad: Latest player news and injury information
Tim Cahill wants to join an elite list of World Cup scorers to sit alongside Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. If he makes the cut for Australia's 23-man squad, the 38-year-old Cahill has a good chance of becoming just the fourth player to score in four consecutive World Cups. When Australia need goals they turn to Cahill. The forward has scored almost half of the team's World Cup goals: five of 11. The Socceroos have Cahill to thank for their first World Cup win in 2006 by scoring late goals against Japan. Cahill scored both in Australia's Asian play-off win over Syria late last year as a place at a fourth consecutive World Cup was clinched. But age, a lack of playing time since he returned to Millwall, and the fact Australia's newly-hired coach Bert van Marwijk wants to select a squad based on recent form rather than reputation, means his spot in Russia is far from guaranteed. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know It's just part of the uncertainty over preparations for a group stage that will see No 40-ranked Australia play a trio of sides in the top 12: France (7), Peru (11) and Denmark (12). Van Marwijk was appointed only in January on a short-term deal to replace Ange Postecoglou, who quit after guiding the team through the longest qualifying path to Russia. Van Marwijk helped Saudi Arabia secure a spot in Russia before quitting that job - and his first game in charge of Australia was a 4-1 loss to Norway in March. With a new formation in the works, Cahill's best chance of playing time is likely as an impact player from the bench. Here's a closer look at the Australia team: Coach Van Marwijk took on the job saying his mission was to help Australia survive the group stage. He guided Holland to the 2010 World Cup final, and coached Saudi Arabia to an automatic berth in Russia from a group that included Australia. He said that gave him a good idea of Australia's strengths and weaknesses. He will be the third Dutch coach to guide Australia at the World Cup, following Guus Hiddink in 2006 and Pim Verbeek in 2010. Australia coach Bert van Marwijk Credit: AP Goalkeepers Mat Ryan of Premier League club Brighton has been Australia's first-choice since 2012 and was voted goalkeeper of the tournament when the Socceroos won the 2015 Asian Cup on home soil. The 36-year-old Brad Jones is a late contender to challenge Ryan after keeping a clean sheet in the first half of the friendly against Colombia, his first action for Australia since March 2014. Jones is aiming to be part of a World Cup campaign for the first time after missing out in 2010 in South Africa after his son, Luca, was diagnosed with cancer just before the tournament opener. His recall by Van Marwijk follows an impressive season at Feyenoord. Defenders The most question marks over Australia's formation will be at the back, with Van Marwijk dispensing with the 3-4-3 formation that exposed some defensive holes in the qualifying campaign and plenty of criticism for Postecoglou. Trent Sainsbury and Matt Jurman missed the recent friendlies but are expected to play central roles in Russia. Milos Degenek and Aziz Behich will be pushing for starting spots. World Cup predictor Midfielders Internal competition is most intense in the midfield. Skipper Mile Jedinak and Aaron Mooy have been steady regulars and Tom Rogic has been a reliable playmaker and attacking threat. Queens Park Rangers midfielder Massimo Luongo has added another dimension recently with his timing and fast footwork. Jedinak and Jackson Irvine offer versatility as options in the midfield or defensive line. Forwards The Australians will likely struggle to score in open play against quality defences. Tomi Juric scored six in qualifying to top the Australian scoring list. He's hoping the three goals against the Saudis will help his claims for selection. Cahill and Matthew Leckie have established credentials and Jamie Maclaren's recent form at Hibernian has increased his chances of a call-up. Group games Australia will be based in Kazan and open Group C in the southwest city against France on June 16. After playing Denmark on June 21, Australia close against Peru on June 26.
Graeme Murty’s departure from Rangers is the inevitable conclusion to a tawdry chapter which saw this decent man and dedicated coach ‘thrown under the bus’, in the words of Brendan Rodgers. The club website confirmed the news in a statement which read: “Graeme Murty has this morning been relieved of his duties as manager of Rangers. “Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson will take charge of the team for the three remaining matches of the season. Rangers are grateful to Graeme, who did not hesitate when asked last October to become interim manager after the departure of Pedro Caixinha and then, at the turn of the year, when he was offered the role as manager until the end of the season. “Graeme has had to contend with difficult and challenging circumstances but conducted himself in a thoroughly professional manner. He will take some time to consider his options, which include returning to his role at the Rangers Academy.” The 43-year-old Murty – who played for York City, Reading, Southampton and Scotland as a defender – began his coaching career at Southampton before moving in 2014 to Norwich City, as coach of the under-16 and then the under-18s. In the summer of 2016 Rangers appointed him as Head Development Squad Coach and their then academy director, Craig Mulholland, said: “It is important that we appoint individuals who understand our philosophy and will fit into our one club culture, we believe in Graeme we have found such an individual. The Rangers board are optimistic over appointing Steven Gerrard Credit: Getty Images “Graeme demonstrated throughout the process a desire to learn and improve and that is what we seek to achieve on a daily basis with our players and staff. We believe Rangers and our young players will benefit from his input as a modern innovative coach.” Within eight months, however, Murty was asked to undertake a vastly more demanding task, as interim manager after the departure of Mark Warburton. Against expectations, Murty supervised a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park, in a game watched by Warburton’s successor, Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese manager, however, did not learn from Murty’s tactics and was overwhelmed in his first Old Firm match at Ibrox, where Celtic achieved a record score of 5-1 on their rivals’ ground. When Caixinha was sacked after a succession of ignominious results - including ejection from the Europa League in the first qualifying round by the microscopic Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg - Murty was again asked to take over in an interim capacity. He produced some creditable results, including another draw at Parkhead and wins away to Aberdeen and Hibernian, although there were also defeats home and away against Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock side and another inflicted by Hibs at Ibrox. Murty was told, nevertheless, that he would be considered for the job on a longer-term basis if he could secure a second-place finish in the Scottish Premiership. During February and March, Rangers put together a run of six victories in the league and Scottish Cup, their best sequence since returning to the top flight of the game north of the border in 2016. On March 11, though, Rangers were beaten at home by a 10-man Celtic side, although they could have achieved another draw, or even an unlikely victory, had their Colombian striker, Alfredo Morelos, not missed two outstanding chances. An abysmal performance at Fir Park at the end of last month saw Rangers 2-0 down to Motherwell at half-time but a dressing room rant by Murty salvaged a 2-2 draw ahead of the meeting with Celtic at Hampden Park in the semi-final of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Then, during the build-up to the cup derby, the Ibrox chairman, Dave King, wrote to the club’s season ticket holders to say that the board were engaged in a search for a new manager whose remit would be the provision of ‘immediate success’. The upshot was that Murty was forced to spend time and energy fending off speculation about his own situation ahead of the game. The cracks that had been evident at Fir Park then became fissures at Hampden as abject Rangers slumped to a 4-0 defeat and were riven by dissension which saw Andy Halliday mouth imprecations as he was replaced five minutes before the interval and veterans Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller suspended by the club for their part in a row after the final whistle. Rangers recovered to beat Hearts at Ibrox the following weekend, but Celtic’s defeat by Hibs at Easter Road postponed the celebration of the Hoops’ seventh successive Scottish title until the final Old Firm collision of the season at Parkhead on Sunday. Although Murty could cite two draws in the east end of Glasgow during his spells in charge, he was again jostled aside in the headlines by the news that the Ibrox board had identified Steven Gerrard as their next manager and were optimistic about securing the Liverpool youth coach’s services. The upshot was a 5-0 humiliation, only modulated by the fact that Celtic did not impose their superiority sufficiently to surpass their 7-1 victory in the 1957 Scottish League Cup final which remains the record margin of victory in an Old Firm fixture. On the insistence of his media minders, Murty did not appear for interviews after the match. Rangers, meanwhile, concluded today’s website statement with: “The club hopes to be in a position to comment further on the managerial situation in the near future.” The translation of which reads: “Please God, send Steven Gerrard to take the heat off us as quickly as possible..."
Graeme Murty sacked by Rangers, paving the way for Steven Gerrard
Graeme Murty’s departure from Rangers is the inevitable conclusion to a tawdry chapter which saw this decent man and dedicated coach ‘thrown under the bus’, in the words of Brendan Rodgers. The club website confirmed the news in a statement which read: “Graeme Murty has this morning been relieved of his duties as manager of Rangers. “Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson will take charge of the team for the three remaining matches of the season. Rangers are grateful to Graeme, who did not hesitate when asked last October to become interim manager after the departure of Pedro Caixinha and then, at the turn of the year, when he was offered the role as manager until the end of the season. “Graeme has had to contend with difficult and challenging circumstances but conducted himself in a thoroughly professional manner. He will take some time to consider his options, which include returning to his role at the Rangers Academy.” The 43-year-old Murty – who played for York City, Reading, Southampton and Scotland as a defender – began his coaching career at Southampton before moving in 2014 to Norwich City, as coach of the under-16 and then the under-18s. In the summer of 2016 Rangers appointed him as Head Development Squad Coach and their then academy director, Craig Mulholland, said: “It is important that we appoint individuals who understand our philosophy and will fit into our one club culture, we believe in Graeme we have found such an individual. The Rangers board are optimistic over appointing Steven Gerrard Credit: Getty Images “Graeme demonstrated throughout the process a desire to learn and improve and that is what we seek to achieve on a daily basis with our players and staff. We believe Rangers and our young players will benefit from his input as a modern innovative coach.” Within eight months, however, Murty was asked to undertake a vastly more demanding task, as interim manager after the departure of Mark Warburton. Against expectations, Murty supervised a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park, in a game watched by Warburton’s successor, Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese manager, however, did not learn from Murty’s tactics and was overwhelmed in his first Old Firm match at Ibrox, where Celtic achieved a record score of 5-1 on their rivals’ ground. When Caixinha was sacked after a succession of ignominious results - including ejection from the Europa League in the first qualifying round by the microscopic Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg - Murty was again asked to take over in an interim capacity. He produced some creditable results, including another draw at Parkhead and wins away to Aberdeen and Hibernian, although there were also defeats home and away against Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock side and another inflicted by Hibs at Ibrox. Murty was told, nevertheless, that he would be considered for the job on a longer-term basis if he could secure a second-place finish in the Scottish Premiership. During February and March, Rangers put together a run of six victories in the league and Scottish Cup, their best sequence since returning to the top flight of the game north of the border in 2016. On March 11, though, Rangers were beaten at home by a 10-man Celtic side, although they could have achieved another draw, or even an unlikely victory, had their Colombian striker, Alfredo Morelos, not missed two outstanding chances. An abysmal performance at Fir Park at the end of last month saw Rangers 2-0 down to Motherwell at half-time but a dressing room rant by Murty salvaged a 2-2 draw ahead of the meeting with Celtic at Hampden Park in the semi-final of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Then, during the build-up to the cup derby, the Ibrox chairman, Dave King, wrote to the club’s season ticket holders to say that the board were engaged in a search for a new manager whose remit would be the provision of ‘immediate success’. The upshot was that Murty was forced to spend time and energy fending off speculation about his own situation ahead of the game. The cracks that had been evident at Fir Park then became fissures at Hampden as abject Rangers slumped to a 4-0 defeat and were riven by dissension which saw Andy Halliday mouth imprecations as he was replaced five minutes before the interval and veterans Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller suspended by the club for their part in a row after the final whistle. Rangers recovered to beat Hearts at Ibrox the following weekend, but Celtic’s defeat by Hibs at Easter Road postponed the celebration of the Hoops’ seventh successive Scottish title until the final Old Firm collision of the season at Parkhead on Sunday. Although Murty could cite two draws in the east end of Glasgow during his spells in charge, he was again jostled aside in the headlines by the news that the Ibrox board had identified Steven Gerrard as their next manager and were optimistic about securing the Liverpool youth coach’s services. The upshot was a 5-0 humiliation, only modulated by the fact that Celtic did not impose their superiority sufficiently to surpass their 7-1 victory in the 1957 Scottish League Cup final which remains the record margin of victory in an Old Firm fixture. On the insistence of his media minders, Murty did not appear for interviews after the match. Rangers, meanwhile, concluded today’s website statement with: “The club hopes to be in a position to comment further on the managerial situation in the near future.” The translation of which reads: “Please God, send Steven Gerrard to take the heat off us as quickly as possible..."
Graeme Murty’s departure from Rangers is the inevitable conclusion to a tawdry chapter which saw this decent man and dedicated coach ‘thrown under the bus’, in the words of Brendan Rodgers. The club website confirmed the news in a statement which read: “Graeme Murty has this morning been relieved of his duties as manager of Rangers. “Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson will take charge of the team for the three remaining matches of the season. Rangers are grateful to Graeme, who did not hesitate when asked last October to become interim manager after the departure of Pedro Caixinha and then, at the turn of the year, when he was offered the role as manager until the end of the season. “Graeme has had to contend with difficult and challenging circumstances but conducted himself in a thoroughly professional manner. He will take some time to consider his options, which include returning to his role at the Rangers Academy.” The 43-year-old Murty – who played for York City, Reading, Southampton and Scotland as a defender – began his coaching career at Southampton before moving in 2014 to Norwich City, as coach of the under-16 and then the under-18s. In the summer of 2016 Rangers appointed him as Head Development Squad Coach and their then academy director, Craig Mulholland, said: “It is important that we appoint individuals who understand our philosophy and will fit into our one club culture, we believe in Graeme we have found such an individual. The Rangers board are optimistic over appointing Steven Gerrard Credit: Getty Images “Graeme demonstrated throughout the process a desire to learn and improve and that is what we seek to achieve on a daily basis with our players and staff. We believe Rangers and our young players will benefit from his input as a modern innovative coach.” Within eight months, however, Murty was asked to undertake a vastly more demanding task, as interim manager after the departure of Mark Warburton. Against expectations, Murty supervised a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park, in a game watched by Warburton’s successor, Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese manager, however, did not learn from Murty’s tactics and was overwhelmed in his first Old Firm match at Ibrox, where Celtic achieved a record score of 5-1 on their rivals’ ground. When Caixinha was sacked after a succession of ignominious results - including ejection from the Europa League in the first qualifying round by the microscopic Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg - Murty was again asked to take over in an interim capacity. He produced some creditable results, including another draw at Parkhead and wins away to Aberdeen and Hibernian, although there were also defeats home and away against Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock side and another inflicted by Hibs at Ibrox. Murty was told, nevertheless, that he would be considered for the job on a longer-term basis if he could secure a second-place finish in the Scottish Premiership. During February and March, Rangers put together a run of six victories in the league and Scottish Cup, their best sequence since returning to the top flight of the game north of the border in 2016. On March 11, though, Rangers were beaten at home by a 10-man Celtic side, although they could have achieved another draw, or even an unlikely victory, had their Colombian striker, Alfredo Morelos, not missed two outstanding chances. An abysmal performance at Fir Park at the end of last month saw Rangers 2-0 down to Motherwell at half-time but a dressing room rant by Murty salvaged a 2-2 draw ahead of the meeting with Celtic at Hampden Park in the semi-final of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Then, during the build-up to the cup derby, the Ibrox chairman, Dave King, wrote to the club’s season ticket holders to say that the board were engaged in a search for a new manager whose remit would be the provision of ‘immediate success’. The upshot was that Murty was forced to spend time and energy fending off speculation about his own situation ahead of the game. The cracks that had been evident at Fir Park then became fissures at Hampden as abject Rangers slumped to a 4-0 defeat and were riven by dissension which saw Andy Halliday mouth imprecations as he was replaced five minutes before the interval and veterans Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller suspended by the club for their part in a row after the final whistle. Rangers recovered to beat Hearts at Ibrox the following weekend, but Celtic’s defeat by Hibs at Easter Road postponed the celebration of the Hoops’ seventh successive Scottish title until the final Old Firm collision of the season at Parkhead on Sunday. Although Murty could cite two draws in the east end of Glasgow during his spells in charge, he was again jostled aside in the headlines by the news that the Ibrox board had identified Steven Gerrard as their next manager and were optimistic about securing the Liverpool youth coach’s services. The upshot was a 5-0 humiliation, only modulated by the fact that Celtic did not impose their superiority sufficiently to surpass their 7-1 victory in the 1957 Scottish League Cup final which remains the record margin of victory in an Old Firm fixture. On the insistence of his media minders, Murty did not appear for interviews after the match. Rangers, meanwhile, concluded today’s website statement with: “The club hopes to be in a position to comment further on the managerial situation in the near future.” The translation of which reads: “Please God, send Steven Gerrard to take the heat off us as quickly as possible..."
Graeme Murty sacked by Rangers, paving the way for Steven Gerrard
Graeme Murty’s departure from Rangers is the inevitable conclusion to a tawdry chapter which saw this decent man and dedicated coach ‘thrown under the bus’, in the words of Brendan Rodgers. The club website confirmed the news in a statement which read: “Graeme Murty has this morning been relieved of his duties as manager of Rangers. “Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson will take charge of the team for the three remaining matches of the season. Rangers are grateful to Graeme, who did not hesitate when asked last October to become interim manager after the departure of Pedro Caixinha and then, at the turn of the year, when he was offered the role as manager until the end of the season. “Graeme has had to contend with difficult and challenging circumstances but conducted himself in a thoroughly professional manner. He will take some time to consider his options, which include returning to his role at the Rangers Academy.” The 43-year-old Murty – who played for York City, Reading, Southampton and Scotland as a defender – began his coaching career at Southampton before moving in 2014 to Norwich City, as coach of the under-16 and then the under-18s. In the summer of 2016 Rangers appointed him as Head Development Squad Coach and their then academy director, Craig Mulholland, said: “It is important that we appoint individuals who understand our philosophy and will fit into our one club culture, we believe in Graeme we have found such an individual. The Rangers board are optimistic over appointing Steven Gerrard Credit: Getty Images “Graeme demonstrated throughout the process a desire to learn and improve and that is what we seek to achieve on a daily basis with our players and staff. We believe Rangers and our young players will benefit from his input as a modern innovative coach.” Within eight months, however, Murty was asked to undertake a vastly more demanding task, as interim manager after the departure of Mark Warburton. Against expectations, Murty supervised a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park, in a game watched by Warburton’s successor, Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese manager, however, did not learn from Murty’s tactics and was overwhelmed in his first Old Firm match at Ibrox, where Celtic achieved a record score of 5-1 on their rivals’ ground. When Caixinha was sacked after a succession of ignominious results - including ejection from the Europa League in the first qualifying round by the microscopic Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg - Murty was again asked to take over in an interim capacity. He produced some creditable results, including another draw at Parkhead and wins away to Aberdeen and Hibernian, although there were also defeats home and away against Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock side and another inflicted by Hibs at Ibrox. Murty was told, nevertheless, that he would be considered for the job on a longer-term basis if he could secure a second-place finish in the Scottish Premiership. During February and March, Rangers put together a run of six victories in the league and Scottish Cup, their best sequence since returning to the top flight of the game north of the border in 2016. On March 11, though, Rangers were beaten at home by a 10-man Celtic side, although they could have achieved another draw, or even an unlikely victory, had their Colombian striker, Alfredo Morelos, not missed two outstanding chances. An abysmal performance at Fir Park at the end of last month saw Rangers 2-0 down to Motherwell at half-time but a dressing room rant by Murty salvaged a 2-2 draw ahead of the meeting with Celtic at Hampden Park in the semi-final of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Then, during the build-up to the cup derby, the Ibrox chairman, Dave King, wrote to the club’s season ticket holders to say that the board were engaged in a search for a new manager whose remit would be the provision of ‘immediate success’. The upshot was that Murty was forced to spend time and energy fending off speculation about his own situation ahead of the game. The cracks that had been evident at Fir Park then became fissures at Hampden as abject Rangers slumped to a 4-0 defeat and were riven by dissension which saw Andy Halliday mouth imprecations as he was replaced five minutes before the interval and veterans Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller suspended by the club for their part in a row after the final whistle. Rangers recovered to beat Hearts at Ibrox the following weekend, but Celtic’s defeat by Hibs at Easter Road postponed the celebration of the Hoops’ seventh successive Scottish title until the final Old Firm collision of the season at Parkhead on Sunday. Although Murty could cite two draws in the east end of Glasgow during his spells in charge, he was again jostled aside in the headlines by the news that the Ibrox board had identified Steven Gerrard as their next manager and were optimistic about securing the Liverpool youth coach’s services. The upshot was a 5-0 humiliation, only modulated by the fact that Celtic did not impose their superiority sufficiently to surpass their 7-1 victory in the 1957 Scottish League Cup final which remains the record margin of victory in an Old Firm fixture. On the insistence of his media minders, Murty did not appear for interviews after the match. Rangers, meanwhile, concluded today’s website statement with: “The club hopes to be in a position to comment further on the managerial situation in the near future.” The translation of which reads: “Please God, send Steven Gerrard to take the heat off us as quickly as possible..."
Brendan Rodgers last night condemned the Rangers board for their treatment of Graeme Murty, saying that the Rangers interim manager had been ‘thrown in below the bus’ in successive Old Firm humiliations. On Sunday, Celtic secured a seventh successive Scottish title – their 49th in total – with a 5-0 drubbing of Rangers to follow their similarly dominant display in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park. Murty, originally the under-20 coach, was in charge on both occasions in his interim capacity but, in the lead-up to the Hampden match, the Rangers chairman, Dave King, sent a letter to the club’s season ticket holders saying that ‘whoever is appointed’ as manager for next season would be expected to bring ‘immediate success’. Last week, with another high-octane Old Firm collision looming, word emerged that the Rangers board was in pursuit of Steven Gerrard. Once more, Murty was forced to address intense speculation on the eve of the most difficult fixture in Rangers’ calendar. On advice from those around him behind the scenes, Murty did not speak to the media after Sunday’s crushing defeat, not did Rangers put up any players for interview, which prompted widespread criticism, but Rodgers spoke up for his Ibrox counterpart. “I have real empathy for Graeme Murty,” The Celtic boss said. “What that guy has had to go through in the build-up to big games, I have really felt for him. Talk about his role and his position? “This is a guy who, at this time last year, was heralded as a very good coach for young players and I’m sure with first-team players as well, wanting to go into sessions because he really enjoyed his work.” Murty's side suffered a 5-0 defeat to champions Celtic Credit: PA Of Murty’s first spell as interim manager, between the departure of Mark Warburton and the appointment of Pedro Caixinha – during which time Rangers emerged with a 1-1 draw from a league visit to Parkhead, Rodgers said: “He goes into the role and does a real good job in stabilising it. “He then gets asked to come in and do it again. What seems to be happening is that he gets thrown in below the bus, but this is a guy who has done everything he possibly can, I’m sure. “As you build for big games, your focus should be on the field and on performance and I’m disappointed for him that it wasn’t the case. You know there is always pressure and expectancy on these [Old Firm] games. If a lot of the background noise isn’t there, you can just focus on the game.” Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates scoring his second goal against Rangers on Sunday Credit: GETTY IMAGES Rodgers turned his attention to the efforts of the Scottish Professional Football League to avoid having Celtic clinch their latest championship at home to Rangers, partly because the police have been wary of such a circumstance since the Ibrox side won the title at Parkhead in 1999, in an exceptionally volatile atmosphere. The situation, however, was guaranteed when Celtic lost to Hibernian at Easter Road in the first fixture after the Scottish Premiership split, despite the opportunity to celebrate their success in Edinburgh. “They put us away to Hibs in the first game, but this is a wonderful country. There is great football here,” Rodgers said. “Football is shown from all over the world and it is highlighting all these great games in Spain, or whatever, but Sunday at Celtic Park was as good as it gets in terms of spectacle, intensity and that balance between supporting your team and everything else. “If they want to make the decider the game after the split, do it. Trust it. It can be like Sunday. That’s important and people have to learn to live with it and deal with it, which I’m sure they will. “Of course, Scotland doesn’t have the image of the Premier League down south, there’s nowhere near the money, but a spectacle such as last Sunday is a great advert for Scottish football. That’s what I enjoy - the work, the development and the pressure that comes with the expectancy.” Celtic are now in Tenerife and will return to prepare for next Sunday’s visit to Tynecastle, where their UK record of 69 successive domestic games unbeaten came to an end with Hearts’ 4-0 victory in December. “The players have been back since June 18 and it’s been a long winter,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been with Swansea and Liverpool in Tenerife. You get some good training and some sunshine.”
Brendan Rodgers condemns Rangers for humiliating treatment of Graeme Murty
Brendan Rodgers last night condemned the Rangers board for their treatment of Graeme Murty, saying that the Rangers interim manager had been ‘thrown in below the bus’ in successive Old Firm humiliations. On Sunday, Celtic secured a seventh successive Scottish title – their 49th in total – with a 5-0 drubbing of Rangers to follow their similarly dominant display in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park. Murty, originally the under-20 coach, was in charge on both occasions in his interim capacity but, in the lead-up to the Hampden match, the Rangers chairman, Dave King, sent a letter to the club’s season ticket holders saying that ‘whoever is appointed’ as manager for next season would be expected to bring ‘immediate success’. Last week, with another high-octane Old Firm collision looming, word emerged that the Rangers board was in pursuit of Steven Gerrard. Once more, Murty was forced to address intense speculation on the eve of the most difficult fixture in Rangers’ calendar. On advice from those around him behind the scenes, Murty did not speak to the media after Sunday’s crushing defeat, not did Rangers put up any players for interview, which prompted widespread criticism, but Rodgers spoke up for his Ibrox counterpart. “I have real empathy for Graeme Murty,” The Celtic boss said. “What that guy has had to go through in the build-up to big games, I have really felt for him. Talk about his role and his position? “This is a guy who, at this time last year, was heralded as a very good coach for young players and I’m sure with first-team players as well, wanting to go into sessions because he really enjoyed his work.” Murty's side suffered a 5-0 defeat to champions Celtic Credit: PA Of Murty’s first spell as interim manager, between the departure of Mark Warburton and the appointment of Pedro Caixinha – during which time Rangers emerged with a 1-1 draw from a league visit to Parkhead, Rodgers said: “He goes into the role and does a real good job in stabilising it. “He then gets asked to come in and do it again. What seems to be happening is that he gets thrown in below the bus, but this is a guy who has done everything he possibly can, I’m sure. “As you build for big games, your focus should be on the field and on performance and I’m disappointed for him that it wasn’t the case. You know there is always pressure and expectancy on these [Old Firm] games. If a lot of the background noise isn’t there, you can just focus on the game.” Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates scoring his second goal against Rangers on Sunday Credit: GETTY IMAGES Rodgers turned his attention to the efforts of the Scottish Professional Football League to avoid having Celtic clinch their latest championship at home to Rangers, partly because the police have been wary of such a circumstance since the Ibrox side won the title at Parkhead in 1999, in an exceptionally volatile atmosphere. The situation, however, was guaranteed when Celtic lost to Hibernian at Easter Road in the first fixture after the Scottish Premiership split, despite the opportunity to celebrate their success in Edinburgh. “They put us away to Hibs in the first game, but this is a wonderful country. There is great football here,” Rodgers said. “Football is shown from all over the world and it is highlighting all these great games in Spain, or whatever, but Sunday at Celtic Park was as good as it gets in terms of spectacle, intensity and that balance between supporting your team and everything else. “If they want to make the decider the game after the split, do it. Trust it. It can be like Sunday. That’s important and people have to learn to live with it and deal with it, which I’m sure they will. “Of course, Scotland doesn’t have the image of the Premier League down south, there’s nowhere near the money, but a spectacle such as last Sunday is a great advert for Scottish football. That’s what I enjoy - the work, the development and the pressure that comes with the expectancy.” Celtic are now in Tenerife and will return to prepare for next Sunday’s visit to Tynecastle, where their UK record of 69 successive domestic games unbeaten came to an end with Hearts’ 4-0 victory in December. “The players have been back since June 18 and it’s been a long winter,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been with Swansea and Liverpool in Tenerife. You get some good training and some sunshine.”
Brendan Rodgers last night condemned the Rangers board for their treatment of Graeme Murty, saying that the Rangers interim manager had been ‘thrown in below the bus’ in successive Old Firm humiliations. On Sunday, Celtic secured a seventh successive Scottish title – their 49th in total – with a 5-0 drubbing of Rangers to follow their similarly dominant display in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park. Murty, originally the under-20 coach, was in charge on both occasions in his interim capacity but, in the lead-up to the Hampden match, the Rangers chairman, Dave King, sent a letter to the club’s season ticket holders saying that ‘whoever is appointed’ as manager for next season would be expected to bring ‘immediate success’. Last week, with another high-octane Old Firm collision looming, word emerged that the Rangers board was in pursuit of Steven Gerrard. Once more, Murty was forced to address intense speculation on the eve of the most difficult fixture in Rangers’ calendar. On advice from those around him behind the scenes, Murty did not speak to the media after Sunday’s crushing defeat, not did Rangers put up any players for interview, which prompted widespread criticism, but Rodgers spoke up for his Ibrox counterpart. “I have real empathy for Graeme Murty,” The Celtic boss said. “What that guy has had to go through in the build-up to big games, I have really felt for him. Talk about his role and his position? “This is a guy who, at this time last year, was heralded as a very good coach for young players and I’m sure with first-team players as well, wanting to go into sessions because he really enjoyed his work.” Murty's side suffered a 5-0 defeat to champions Celtic Credit: PA Of Murty’s first spell as interim manager, between the departure of Mark Warburton and the appointment of Pedro Caixinha – during which time Rangers emerged with a 1-1 draw from a league visit to Parkhead, Rodgers said: “He goes into the role and does a real good job in stabilising it. “He then gets asked to come in and do it again. What seems to be happening is that he gets thrown in below the bus, but this is a guy who has done everything he possibly can, I’m sure. “As you build for big games, your focus should be on the field and on performance and I’m disappointed for him that it wasn’t the case. You know there is always pressure and expectancy on these [Old Firm] games. If a lot of the background noise isn’t there, you can just focus on the game.” Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates scoring his second goal against Rangers on Sunday Credit: GETTY IMAGES Rodgers turned his attention to the efforts of the Scottish Professional Football League to avoid having Celtic clinch their latest championship at home to Rangers, partly because the police have been wary of such a circumstance since the Ibrox side won the title at Parkhead in 1999, in an exceptionally volatile atmosphere. The situation, however, was guaranteed when Celtic lost to Hibernian at Easter Road in the first fixture after the Scottish Premiership split, despite the opportunity to celebrate their success in Edinburgh. “They put us away to Hibs in the first game, but this is a wonderful country. There is great football here,” Rodgers said. “Football is shown from all over the world and it is highlighting all these great games in Spain, or whatever, but Sunday at Celtic Park was as good as it gets in terms of spectacle, intensity and that balance between supporting your team and everything else. “If they want to make the decider the game after the split, do it. Trust it. It can be like Sunday. That’s important and people have to learn to live with it and deal with it, which I’m sure they will. “Of course, Scotland doesn’t have the image of the Premier League down south, there’s nowhere near the money, but a spectacle such as last Sunday is a great advert for Scottish football. That’s what I enjoy - the work, the development and the pressure that comes with the expectancy.” Celtic are now in Tenerife and will return to prepare for next Sunday’s visit to Tynecastle, where their UK record of 69 successive domestic games unbeaten came to an end with Hearts’ 4-0 victory in December. “The players have been back since June 18 and it’s been a long winter,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been with Swansea and Liverpool in Tenerife. You get some good training and some sunshine.”
Brendan Rodgers condemns Rangers for humiliating treatment of Graeme Murty
Brendan Rodgers last night condemned the Rangers board for their treatment of Graeme Murty, saying that the Rangers interim manager had been ‘thrown in below the bus’ in successive Old Firm humiliations. On Sunday, Celtic secured a seventh successive Scottish title – their 49th in total – with a 5-0 drubbing of Rangers to follow their similarly dominant display in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park. Murty, originally the under-20 coach, was in charge on both occasions in his interim capacity but, in the lead-up to the Hampden match, the Rangers chairman, Dave King, sent a letter to the club’s season ticket holders saying that ‘whoever is appointed’ as manager for next season would be expected to bring ‘immediate success’. Last week, with another high-octane Old Firm collision looming, word emerged that the Rangers board was in pursuit of Steven Gerrard. Once more, Murty was forced to address intense speculation on the eve of the most difficult fixture in Rangers’ calendar. On advice from those around him behind the scenes, Murty did not speak to the media after Sunday’s crushing defeat, not did Rangers put up any players for interview, which prompted widespread criticism, but Rodgers spoke up for his Ibrox counterpart. “I have real empathy for Graeme Murty,” The Celtic boss said. “What that guy has had to go through in the build-up to big games, I have really felt for him. Talk about his role and his position? “This is a guy who, at this time last year, was heralded as a very good coach for young players and I’m sure with first-team players as well, wanting to go into sessions because he really enjoyed his work.” Murty's side suffered a 5-0 defeat to champions Celtic Credit: PA Of Murty’s first spell as interim manager, between the departure of Mark Warburton and the appointment of Pedro Caixinha – during which time Rangers emerged with a 1-1 draw from a league visit to Parkhead, Rodgers said: “He goes into the role and does a real good job in stabilising it. “He then gets asked to come in and do it again. What seems to be happening is that he gets thrown in below the bus, but this is a guy who has done everything he possibly can, I’m sure. “As you build for big games, your focus should be on the field and on performance and I’m disappointed for him that it wasn’t the case. You know there is always pressure and expectancy on these [Old Firm] games. If a lot of the background noise isn’t there, you can just focus on the game.” Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates scoring his second goal against Rangers on Sunday Credit: GETTY IMAGES Rodgers turned his attention to the efforts of the Scottish Professional Football League to avoid having Celtic clinch their latest championship at home to Rangers, partly because the police have been wary of such a circumstance since the Ibrox side won the title at Parkhead in 1999, in an exceptionally volatile atmosphere. The situation, however, was guaranteed when Celtic lost to Hibernian at Easter Road in the first fixture after the Scottish Premiership split, despite the opportunity to celebrate their success in Edinburgh. “They put us away to Hibs in the first game, but this is a wonderful country. There is great football here,” Rodgers said. “Football is shown from all over the world and it is highlighting all these great games in Spain, or whatever, but Sunday at Celtic Park was as good as it gets in terms of spectacle, intensity and that balance between supporting your team and everything else. “If they want to make the decider the game after the split, do it. Trust it. It can be like Sunday. That’s important and people have to learn to live with it and deal with it, which I’m sure they will. “Of course, Scotland doesn’t have the image of the Premier League down south, there’s nowhere near the money, but a spectacle such as last Sunday is a great advert for Scottish football. That’s what I enjoy - the work, the development and the pressure that comes with the expectancy.” Celtic are now in Tenerife and will return to prepare for next Sunday’s visit to Tynecastle, where their UK record of 69 successive domestic games unbeaten came to an end with Hearts’ 4-0 victory in December. “The players have been back since June 18 and it’s been a long winter,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been with Swansea and Liverpool in Tenerife. You get some good training and some sunshine.”
Brendan Rodgers last night condemned the Rangers board for their treatment of Graeme Murty, saying that the Rangers interim manager had been ‘thrown in below the bus’ in successive Old Firm humiliations. On Sunday, Celtic secured a seventh successive Scottish title – their 49th in total – with a 5-0 drubbing of Rangers to follow their similarly dominant display in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park. Murty, originally the under-20 coach, was in charge on both occasions in his interim capacity but, in the lead-up to the Hampden match, the Rangers chairman, Dave King, sent a letter to the club’s season ticket holders saying that ‘whoever is appointed’ as manager for next season would be expected to bring ‘immediate success’. Last week, with another high-octane Old Firm collision looming, word emerged that the Rangers board was in pursuit of Steven Gerrard. Once more, Murty was forced to address intense speculation on the eve of the most difficult fixture in Rangers’ calendar. On advice from those around him behind the scenes, Murty did not speak to the media after Sunday’s crushing defeat, not did Rangers put up any players for interview, which prompted widespread criticism, but Rodgers spoke up for his Ibrox counterpart. “I have real empathy for Graeme Murty,” The Celtic boss said. “What that guy has had to go through in the build-up to big games, I have really felt for him. Talk about his role and his position? “This is a guy who, at this time last year, was heralded as a very good coach for young players and I’m sure with first-team players as well, wanting to go into sessions because he really enjoyed his work.” Murty's side suffered a 5-0 defeat to champions Celtic Credit: PA Of Murty’s first spell as interim manager, between the departure of Mark Warburton and the appointment of Pedro Caixinha – during which time Rangers emerged with a 1-1 draw from a league visit to Parkhead, Rodgers said: “He goes into the role and does a real good job in stabilising it. “He then gets asked to come in and do it again. What seems to be happening is that he gets thrown in below the bus, but this is a guy who has done everything he possibly can, I’m sure. “As you build for big games, your focus should be on the field and on performance and I’m disappointed for him that it wasn’t the case. You know there is always pressure and expectancy on these [Old Firm] games. If a lot of the background noise isn’t there, you can just focus on the game.” Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates scoring his second goal against Rangers on Sunday Credit: GETTY IMAGES Rodgers turned his attention to the efforts of the Scottish Professional Football League to avoid having Celtic clinch their latest championship at home to Rangers, partly because the police have been wary of such a circumstance since the Ibrox side won the title at Parkhead in 1999, in an exceptionally volatile atmosphere. The situation, however, was guaranteed when Celtic lost to Hibernian at Easter Road in the first fixture after the Scottish Premiership split, despite the opportunity to celebrate their success in Edinburgh. “They put us away to Hibs in the first game, but this is a wonderful country. There is great football here,” Rodgers said. “Football is shown from all over the world and it is highlighting all these great games in Spain, or whatever, but Sunday at Celtic Park was as good as it gets in terms of spectacle, intensity and that balance between supporting your team and everything else. “If they want to make the decider the game after the split, do it. Trust it. It can be like Sunday. That’s important and people have to learn to live with it and deal with it, which I’m sure they will. “Of course, Scotland doesn’t have the image of the Premier League down south, there’s nowhere near the money, but a spectacle such as last Sunday is a great advert for Scottish football. That’s what I enjoy - the work, the development and the pressure that comes with the expectancy.” Celtic are now in Tenerife and will return to prepare for next Sunday’s visit to Tynecastle, where their UK record of 69 successive domestic games unbeaten came to an end with Hearts’ 4-0 victory in December. “The players have been back since June 18 and it’s been a long winter,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been with Swansea and Liverpool in Tenerife. You get some good training and some sunshine.”
Brendan Rodgers condemns Rangers for humiliating treatment of Graeme Murty
Brendan Rodgers last night condemned the Rangers board for their treatment of Graeme Murty, saying that the Rangers interim manager had been ‘thrown in below the bus’ in successive Old Firm humiliations. On Sunday, Celtic secured a seventh successive Scottish title – their 49th in total – with a 5-0 drubbing of Rangers to follow their similarly dominant display in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park. Murty, originally the under-20 coach, was in charge on both occasions in his interim capacity but, in the lead-up to the Hampden match, the Rangers chairman, Dave King, sent a letter to the club’s season ticket holders saying that ‘whoever is appointed’ as manager for next season would be expected to bring ‘immediate success’. Last week, with another high-octane Old Firm collision looming, word emerged that the Rangers board was in pursuit of Steven Gerrard. Once more, Murty was forced to address intense speculation on the eve of the most difficult fixture in Rangers’ calendar. On advice from those around him behind the scenes, Murty did not speak to the media after Sunday’s crushing defeat, not did Rangers put up any players for interview, which prompted widespread criticism, but Rodgers spoke up for his Ibrox counterpart. “I have real empathy for Graeme Murty,” The Celtic boss said. “What that guy has had to go through in the build-up to big games, I have really felt for him. Talk about his role and his position? “This is a guy who, at this time last year, was heralded as a very good coach for young players and I’m sure with first-team players as well, wanting to go into sessions because he really enjoyed his work.” Murty's side suffered a 5-0 defeat to champions Celtic Credit: PA Of Murty’s first spell as interim manager, between the departure of Mark Warburton and the appointment of Pedro Caixinha – during which time Rangers emerged with a 1-1 draw from a league visit to Parkhead, Rodgers said: “He goes into the role and does a real good job in stabilising it. “He then gets asked to come in and do it again. What seems to be happening is that he gets thrown in below the bus, but this is a guy who has done everything he possibly can, I’m sure. “As you build for big games, your focus should be on the field and on performance and I’m disappointed for him that it wasn’t the case. You know there is always pressure and expectancy on these [Old Firm] games. If a lot of the background noise isn’t there, you can just focus on the game.” Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates scoring his second goal against Rangers on Sunday Credit: GETTY IMAGES Rodgers turned his attention to the efforts of the Scottish Professional Football League to avoid having Celtic clinch their latest championship at home to Rangers, partly because the police have been wary of such a circumstance since the Ibrox side won the title at Parkhead in 1999, in an exceptionally volatile atmosphere. The situation, however, was guaranteed when Celtic lost to Hibernian at Easter Road in the first fixture after the Scottish Premiership split, despite the opportunity to celebrate their success in Edinburgh. “They put us away to Hibs in the first game, but this is a wonderful country. There is great football here,” Rodgers said. “Football is shown from all over the world and it is highlighting all these great games in Spain, or whatever, but Sunday at Celtic Park was as good as it gets in terms of spectacle, intensity and that balance between supporting your team and everything else. “If they want to make the decider the game after the split, do it. Trust it. It can be like Sunday. That’s important and people have to learn to live with it and deal with it, which I’m sure they will. “Of course, Scotland doesn’t have the image of the Premier League down south, there’s nowhere near the money, but a spectacle such as last Sunday is a great advert for Scottish football. That’s what I enjoy - the work, the development and the pressure that comes with the expectancy.” Celtic are now in Tenerife and will return to prepare for next Sunday’s visit to Tynecastle, where their UK record of 69 successive domestic games unbeaten came to an end with Hearts’ 4-0 victory in December. “The players have been back since June 18 and it’s been a long winter,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been with Swansea and Liverpool in Tenerife. You get some good training and some sunshine.”
Kris Boyd scored the goal of the game as Kilmanock lost 5-3 to Hibernian in a thriller at Easter Road Stadium on Saturday.
Kris Boyd with thunderbolt free-kick in Kilmarnock thriller
Kris Boyd scored the goal of the game as Kilmanock lost 5-3 to Hibernian in a thriller at Easter Road Stadium on Saturday.
Kris Boyd scored the goal of the game as Kilmanock lost 5-3 to Hibernian in a thriller at Easter Road Stadium on Saturday.
Kris Boyd with thunderbolt free-kick in Kilmarnock thriller
Kris Boyd scored the goal of the game as Kilmanock lost 5-3 to Hibernian in a thriller at Easter Road Stadium on Saturday.
Kris Boyd scored the goal of the game as Kilmanock lost 5-3 to Hibernian in a thriller at Easter Road Stadium on Saturday.
Kris Boyd with thunderbolt free-kick in Kilmarnock thriller
Kris Boyd scored the goal of the game as Kilmanock lost 5-3 to Hibernian in a thriller at Easter Road Stadium on Saturday.
Old Firm conspiracy theorists – a constituency large enough to fill Ibrox or Parkhead, according to taste – might be inclined to suppose that the Rangers board is subjecting Graeme Murty to an ingenious stress test. Installed for a second spell as interim manager because of the failures of supposedly more permanent candidates, Murty went into the most recent derby against Celtic having had to fend off questions about his future after his chairman wrote to the club’s season ticket holders to say that whoever got the job on a longer-term basis would be expected to deliver ‘immediate success’. The subsequent drubbing inflicted in Celtic’s 4-0 Scottish Cup victory bodes ill for the final collision of the pair on Saturday, when the Hoops can secure their seventh successive Scottish title by doing so in an Old Firm derby at home for the first time since 1979, when Billy McNeill’s Celtic won 4-2 despite being reduced to 10 men by Johnny Doyle’s dismissal. Given such an ominous prospect, the prominence of Steven Gerrard’s name in the lead-up to this derby can be regarded as an attempt to keep the Rangers fans sweet in the event of another traumatic afternoon in the east end of Glasgow. As the Daily Telegraph reported, Rangers have made contact with Gerrard’s representatives and the outcome is evidently in the gift of the former England and Liverpool midfielder. Murty responded to this development with a robust assertion of his own claim to the job when he said: “I'll be fighting as hard as I can in these last four games to finish as high up the table as I possibly can. “I'm in the role currently. I love the role and will do everything I possibly can to keep it.” Rangers have contacted Liverpool over Steven Gerrard Credit: PA Brendan Rodgers, Murty’s Celtic counterpart and Gerrard’s former manager at Anfield, was inevitably drawn into the issue. “I don’t really want to speak on it, to be honest, and I think it’s hugely disrespectful to the guy who’s been put in to help manage Rangers over the last seven or eight months,” Rodgers said. “I know Steven very well, I know he wants to manage at some point. When it’s your first time it’s not necessarily about a club, it’s about the right club. At the moment it’s only speculation if anything materialises or develops I’ll be more than happy to speak. “But you have a guy in the role who is doing his very, very best in what has been probably a very difficult situation for him and you always have to respect that. I have empathy for him (Murty), of course. “It’s interesting, the timing of it all. I feel for him as a coach and as a manager. It can’t be easy when all of that is happening around him. I’m sure he will focus on the job. He had a good win last weekend against Hearts.” Celtic could have celebrated their title with a win at Easter Road last weekend but were thwarted by a spirited and tactically excellent performance by Neil Lennon’s Hibernian players. Dismay, however, was short-lived amongst the Celtic contingent because of the opportunity presented to win the championship against Rangers on their own turf, as Dedryck Boyata admitted. “We wanted to win the title at Easter Road last week but it didn’t happen. The only thing we can do is jump into the next game and that happens to be an Old Firm game. People from outside might say that’s an even better way to win the league,” said the Belgian central defender, who experienced derby defeat when the teams met in the 2016 Scottish Cup semi-finals, under Ronny Deila. “I’ve been here for three seasons and I lost my first one so, having had that feeling, I know I don’t want to have it again. The manager’s record against Rangers is a great one. “That’s why he is well respected here, but he will be the first one to tell us not to think about those 10 games, only this one.” Boyata disclosed that he had prior knowledge of the intensity of the Old Firm rivalry. “My wife’s grandfather was a big fan of the club,” Boyata said. “He told me about it and most of my neighbours are Celtic fans, so, whenever there is an Old Firm game, you can feel the tension.” Asked if, because of the singularity of the occasion, this derby would generate an exceptional atmosphere, the 27-year-old said: “It would be difficult to have a different atmosphere than we’ve had before. “I mean, all the Old Firm games have just been crazy. I expect it to be as crazy. If it was more crazy, I don’t know what that would mean.” To which veteran observers of the fixture might add: “You might not have to wait long to find out…”
Graeme Murty casts Steven Gerrard links aside to concentrate on halting Celtic's title charge in Old Firm derby
Old Firm conspiracy theorists – a constituency large enough to fill Ibrox or Parkhead, according to taste – might be inclined to suppose that the Rangers board is subjecting Graeme Murty to an ingenious stress test. Installed for a second spell as interim manager because of the failures of supposedly more permanent candidates, Murty went into the most recent derby against Celtic having had to fend off questions about his future after his chairman wrote to the club’s season ticket holders to say that whoever got the job on a longer-term basis would be expected to deliver ‘immediate success’. The subsequent drubbing inflicted in Celtic’s 4-0 Scottish Cup victory bodes ill for the final collision of the pair on Saturday, when the Hoops can secure their seventh successive Scottish title by doing so in an Old Firm derby at home for the first time since 1979, when Billy McNeill’s Celtic won 4-2 despite being reduced to 10 men by Johnny Doyle’s dismissal. Given such an ominous prospect, the prominence of Steven Gerrard’s name in the lead-up to this derby can be regarded as an attempt to keep the Rangers fans sweet in the event of another traumatic afternoon in the east end of Glasgow. As the Daily Telegraph reported, Rangers have made contact with Gerrard’s representatives and the outcome is evidently in the gift of the former England and Liverpool midfielder. Murty responded to this development with a robust assertion of his own claim to the job when he said: “I'll be fighting as hard as I can in these last four games to finish as high up the table as I possibly can. “I'm in the role currently. I love the role and will do everything I possibly can to keep it.” Rangers have contacted Liverpool over Steven Gerrard Credit: PA Brendan Rodgers, Murty’s Celtic counterpart and Gerrard’s former manager at Anfield, was inevitably drawn into the issue. “I don’t really want to speak on it, to be honest, and I think it’s hugely disrespectful to the guy who’s been put in to help manage Rangers over the last seven or eight months,” Rodgers said. “I know Steven very well, I know he wants to manage at some point. When it’s your first time it’s not necessarily about a club, it’s about the right club. At the moment it’s only speculation if anything materialises or develops I’ll be more than happy to speak. “But you have a guy in the role who is doing his very, very best in what has been probably a very difficult situation for him and you always have to respect that. I have empathy for him (Murty), of course. “It’s interesting, the timing of it all. I feel for him as a coach and as a manager. It can’t be easy when all of that is happening around him. I’m sure he will focus on the job. He had a good win last weekend against Hearts.” Celtic could have celebrated their title with a win at Easter Road last weekend but were thwarted by a spirited and tactically excellent performance by Neil Lennon’s Hibernian players. Dismay, however, was short-lived amongst the Celtic contingent because of the opportunity presented to win the championship against Rangers on their own turf, as Dedryck Boyata admitted. “We wanted to win the title at Easter Road last week but it didn’t happen. The only thing we can do is jump into the next game and that happens to be an Old Firm game. People from outside might say that’s an even better way to win the league,” said the Belgian central defender, who experienced derby defeat when the teams met in the 2016 Scottish Cup semi-finals, under Ronny Deila. “I’ve been here for three seasons and I lost my first one so, having had that feeling, I know I don’t want to have it again. The manager’s record against Rangers is a great one. “That’s why he is well respected here, but he will be the first one to tell us not to think about those 10 games, only this one.” Boyata disclosed that he had prior knowledge of the intensity of the Old Firm rivalry. “My wife’s grandfather was a big fan of the club,” Boyata said. “He told me about it and most of my neighbours are Celtic fans, so, whenever there is an Old Firm game, you can feel the tension.” Asked if, because of the singularity of the occasion, this derby would generate an exceptional atmosphere, the 27-year-old said: “It would be difficult to have a different atmosphere than we’ve had before. “I mean, all the Old Firm games have just been crazy. I expect it to be as crazy. If it was more crazy, I don’t know what that would mean.” To which veteran observers of the fixture might add: “You might not have to wait long to find out…”
Old Firm conspiracy theorists – a constituency large enough to fill Ibrox or Parkhead, according to taste – might be inclined to suppose that the Rangers board is subjecting Graeme Murty to an ingenious stress test. Installed for a second spell as interim manager because of the failures of supposedly more permanent candidates, Murty went into the most recent derby against Celtic having had to fend off questions about his future after his chairman wrote to the club’s season ticket holders to say that whoever got the job on a longer-term basis would be expected to deliver ‘immediate success’. The subsequent drubbing inflicted in Celtic’s 4-0 Scottish Cup victory bodes ill for the final collision of the pair on Saturday, when the Hoops can secure their seventh successive Scottish title by doing so in an Old Firm derby at home for the first time since 1979, when Billy McNeill’s Celtic won 4-2 despite being reduced to 10 men by Johnny Doyle’s dismissal. Given such an ominous prospect, the prominence of Steven Gerrard’s name in the lead-up to this derby can be regarded as an attempt to keep the Rangers fans sweet in the event of another traumatic afternoon in the east end of Glasgow. As the Daily Telegraph reported, Rangers have made contact with Gerrard’s representatives and the outcome is evidently in the gift of the former England and Liverpool midfielder. Murty responded to this development with a robust assertion of his own claim to the job when he said: “I'll be fighting as hard as I can in these last four games to finish as high up the table as I possibly can. “I'm in the role currently. I love the role and will do everything I possibly can to keep it.” Rangers have contacted Liverpool over Steven Gerrard Credit: PA Brendan Rodgers, Murty’s Celtic counterpart and Gerrard’s former manager at Anfield, was inevitably drawn into the issue. “I don’t really want to speak on it, to be honest, and I think it’s hugely disrespectful to the guy who’s been put in to help manage Rangers over the last seven or eight months,” Rodgers said. “I know Steven very well, I know he wants to manage at some point. When it’s your first time it’s not necessarily about a club, it’s about the right club. At the moment it’s only speculation if anything materialises or develops I’ll be more than happy to speak. “But you have a guy in the role who is doing his very, very best in what has been probably a very difficult situation for him and you always have to respect that. I have empathy for him (Murty), of course. “It’s interesting, the timing of it all. I feel for him as a coach and as a manager. It can’t be easy when all of that is happening around him. I’m sure he will focus on the job. He had a good win last weekend against Hearts.” Celtic could have celebrated their title with a win at Easter Road last weekend but were thwarted by a spirited and tactically excellent performance by Neil Lennon’s Hibernian players. Dismay, however, was short-lived amongst the Celtic contingent because of the opportunity presented to win the championship against Rangers on their own turf, as Dedryck Boyata admitted. “We wanted to win the title at Easter Road last week but it didn’t happen. The only thing we can do is jump into the next game and that happens to be an Old Firm game. People from outside might say that’s an even better way to win the league,” said the Belgian central defender, who experienced derby defeat when the teams met in the 2016 Scottish Cup semi-finals, under Ronny Deila. “I’ve been here for three seasons and I lost my first one so, having had that feeling, I know I don’t want to have it again. The manager’s record against Rangers is a great one. “That’s why he is well respected here, but he will be the first one to tell us not to think about those 10 games, only this one.” Boyata disclosed that he had prior knowledge of the intensity of the Old Firm rivalry. “My wife’s grandfather was a big fan of the club,” Boyata said. “He told me about it and most of my neighbours are Celtic fans, so, whenever there is an Old Firm game, you can feel the tension.” Asked if, because of the singularity of the occasion, this derby would generate an exceptional atmosphere, the 27-year-old said: “It would be difficult to have a different atmosphere than we’ve had before. “I mean, all the Old Firm games have just been crazy. I expect it to be as crazy. If it was more crazy, I don’t know what that would mean.” To which veteran observers of the fixture might add: “You might not have to wait long to find out…”
Graeme Murty casts Steven Gerrard links aside to concentrate on halting Celtic's title charge in Old Firm derby
Old Firm conspiracy theorists – a constituency large enough to fill Ibrox or Parkhead, according to taste – might be inclined to suppose that the Rangers board is subjecting Graeme Murty to an ingenious stress test. Installed for a second spell as interim manager because of the failures of supposedly more permanent candidates, Murty went into the most recent derby against Celtic having had to fend off questions about his future after his chairman wrote to the club’s season ticket holders to say that whoever got the job on a longer-term basis would be expected to deliver ‘immediate success’. The subsequent drubbing inflicted in Celtic’s 4-0 Scottish Cup victory bodes ill for the final collision of the pair on Saturday, when the Hoops can secure their seventh successive Scottish title by doing so in an Old Firm derby at home for the first time since 1979, when Billy McNeill’s Celtic won 4-2 despite being reduced to 10 men by Johnny Doyle’s dismissal. Given such an ominous prospect, the prominence of Steven Gerrard’s name in the lead-up to this derby can be regarded as an attempt to keep the Rangers fans sweet in the event of another traumatic afternoon in the east end of Glasgow. As the Daily Telegraph reported, Rangers have made contact with Gerrard’s representatives and the outcome is evidently in the gift of the former England and Liverpool midfielder. Murty responded to this development with a robust assertion of his own claim to the job when he said: “I'll be fighting as hard as I can in these last four games to finish as high up the table as I possibly can. “I'm in the role currently. I love the role and will do everything I possibly can to keep it.” Rangers have contacted Liverpool over Steven Gerrard Credit: PA Brendan Rodgers, Murty’s Celtic counterpart and Gerrard’s former manager at Anfield, was inevitably drawn into the issue. “I don’t really want to speak on it, to be honest, and I think it’s hugely disrespectful to the guy who’s been put in to help manage Rangers over the last seven or eight months,” Rodgers said. “I know Steven very well, I know he wants to manage at some point. When it’s your first time it’s not necessarily about a club, it’s about the right club. At the moment it’s only speculation if anything materialises or develops I’ll be more than happy to speak. “But you have a guy in the role who is doing his very, very best in what has been probably a very difficult situation for him and you always have to respect that. I have empathy for him (Murty), of course. “It’s interesting, the timing of it all. I feel for him as a coach and as a manager. It can’t be easy when all of that is happening around him. I’m sure he will focus on the job. He had a good win last weekend against Hearts.” Celtic could have celebrated their title with a win at Easter Road last weekend but were thwarted by a spirited and tactically excellent performance by Neil Lennon’s Hibernian players. Dismay, however, was short-lived amongst the Celtic contingent because of the opportunity presented to win the championship against Rangers on their own turf, as Dedryck Boyata admitted. “We wanted to win the title at Easter Road last week but it didn’t happen. The only thing we can do is jump into the next game and that happens to be an Old Firm game. People from outside might say that’s an even better way to win the league,” said the Belgian central defender, who experienced derby defeat when the teams met in the 2016 Scottish Cup semi-finals, under Ronny Deila. “I’ve been here for three seasons and I lost my first one so, having had that feeling, I know I don’t want to have it again. The manager’s record against Rangers is a great one. “That’s why he is well respected here, but he will be the first one to tell us not to think about those 10 games, only this one.” Boyata disclosed that he had prior knowledge of the intensity of the Old Firm rivalry. “My wife’s grandfather was a big fan of the club,” Boyata said. “He told me about it and most of my neighbours are Celtic fans, so, whenever there is an Old Firm game, you can feel the tension.” Asked if, because of the singularity of the occasion, this derby would generate an exceptional atmosphere, the 27-year-old said: “It would be difficult to have a different atmosphere than we’ve had before. “I mean, all the Old Firm games have just been crazy. I expect it to be as crazy. If it was more crazy, I don’t know what that would mean.” To which veteran observers of the fixture might add: “You might not have to wait long to find out…”
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers looks dejected after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers looks dejected after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
The lead-up to a potentially crushing Old Firm derby – and likely an extravagant Celtic title party – is an opportune time for Rangers fans to hear the name of Steven Gerrard connected with their team, albeit as an untried management candidate. Telegraph Sport can confirm that the Ibrox directors have been in touch with representatives of the Liverpool youth coach. The scar tissue sustained in the battering by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals remains livid and, although the Rangers die-hards will do their best to present a defiant face at Parkhead on Sunday, there is a ravenous appetite for any evidence to suggest that the Ibrox board has some form of viable plan to create a credible challenge to their arch-foes. Brendan Rodgers, in his singular fashion, has brought Celtic to the brink of the unprecedented feat of a second successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours. He is unbeaten in 10 Old Firm derbies and has supervised four-goal winning margins in three, including a record 5-1 victory at Ibrox last season – the first time ever that the Hoops had scored as many goals on the other side of Glasgow. Three successive Rangers managers have now been on the wrong end of these humiliations. Mark Warburton’s first taste of Old Firm intensity was a 5-1 drubbing at Celtic Park and his successor, the hapless Pedro Caixinha, was in charge when Celtic repeated the trick in Govan a year ago. Between times, Graeme Murty supervised a 1-1 draw at Parkhead in his first stint as Rangers’ interim boss and also quarried a goalless draw from the same location in December. Murty could even make a decent claim to have come close to interrupting Rodgers’ domination at Ibrox last month, when Rangers lost 3-2 to a Celtic side reduced to 10 men in the closing stages, but who were also fortunate that Alfredo Morelos extended his record of missing gilt-edged chances on such occasions. Celtic have been dominant under Brendan Rodgers Credit: Getty images The Scottish Cup debacle and its aftermath – a dressing room row which ended with veterans Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller suspended by the club – effectively took Murty out of the running for the position in the longer term, despite his record of decent results away to Celtic plus wins away to Aberdeen and Hibernian, the teams immediately behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership table. Despite a recovery of sorts with a 2-1 victory over Hearts on Sunday, the Rangers support remained angry, brandishing a set of banners that included the barbed message, ‘Incompetent on & off the pitch’. Since then, Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield have been identified as summer arrivals by the Ibrox director of football, Mark Allen. At the same time, other managerial candidates to pique the interest of Rangers’ head hunters have included Graham Potter, the Englishman in charge of Ostersunds in Sweden, Cardiff City’s Neil Warnock, Alex Neil of Preston and Steve Clarke, whose Kilmarnock side have beaten Rangers twice and beaten and drawn with Celtic. Gerrard is the latest to top the bookies’ rankings. While the playing reputation gained with England and Liverpool plus familiarity with Rodgers and a degree of first-hand knowledge of the Glasgow scene – Gerrard was at Ibrox for last month’s league derby – are all positives, the appointment of a tyro manager would represent a substantial gamble by the Rangers board. In any case, no matter who is appointed at Ibrox – and whether or not Rodgers returns to England, with Arsenal or another alluring club – the legacy of the cash burn that drained Rangers’ resources after the 2012 insolvency under Craig Whyte is a financial gap with Celtic that widens every time the Parkhead team reach the Champions League group stage. It will be a significant achievement if anybody on Rangers’ managerial shortlist can bridge that gulf in time to stop Celtic reaching a record of 10 successive Scottish titles.
Rangers contact Liverpool over Steven Gerrard's availability for manager role
The lead-up to a potentially crushing Old Firm derby – and likely an extravagant Celtic title party – is an opportune time for Rangers fans to hear the name of Steven Gerrard connected with their team, albeit as an untried management candidate. Telegraph Sport can confirm that the Ibrox directors have been in touch with representatives of the Liverpool youth coach. The scar tissue sustained in the battering by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals remains livid and, although the Rangers die-hards will do their best to present a defiant face at Parkhead on Sunday, there is a ravenous appetite for any evidence to suggest that the Ibrox board has some form of viable plan to create a credible challenge to their arch-foes. Brendan Rodgers, in his singular fashion, has brought Celtic to the brink of the unprecedented feat of a second successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours. He is unbeaten in 10 Old Firm derbies and has supervised four-goal winning margins in three, including a record 5-1 victory at Ibrox last season – the first time ever that the Hoops had scored as many goals on the other side of Glasgow. Three successive Rangers managers have now been on the wrong end of these humiliations. Mark Warburton’s first taste of Old Firm intensity was a 5-1 drubbing at Celtic Park and his successor, the hapless Pedro Caixinha, was in charge when Celtic repeated the trick in Govan a year ago. Between times, Graeme Murty supervised a 1-1 draw at Parkhead in his first stint as Rangers’ interim boss and also quarried a goalless draw from the same location in December. Murty could even make a decent claim to have come close to interrupting Rodgers’ domination at Ibrox last month, when Rangers lost 3-2 to a Celtic side reduced to 10 men in the closing stages, but who were also fortunate that Alfredo Morelos extended his record of missing gilt-edged chances on such occasions. Celtic have been dominant under Brendan Rodgers Credit: Getty images The Scottish Cup debacle and its aftermath – a dressing room row which ended with veterans Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller suspended by the club – effectively took Murty out of the running for the position in the longer term, despite his record of decent results away to Celtic plus wins away to Aberdeen and Hibernian, the teams immediately behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership table. Despite a recovery of sorts with a 2-1 victory over Hearts on Sunday, the Rangers support remained angry, brandishing a set of banners that included the barbed message, ‘Incompetent on & off the pitch’. Since then, Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield have been identified as summer arrivals by the Ibrox director of football, Mark Allen. At the same time, other managerial candidates to pique the interest of Rangers’ head hunters have included Graham Potter, the Englishman in charge of Ostersunds in Sweden, Cardiff City’s Neil Warnock, Alex Neil of Preston and Steve Clarke, whose Kilmarnock side have beaten Rangers twice and beaten and drawn with Celtic. Gerrard is the latest to top the bookies’ rankings. While the playing reputation gained with England and Liverpool plus familiarity with Rodgers and a degree of first-hand knowledge of the Glasgow scene – Gerrard was at Ibrox for last month’s league derby – are all positives, the appointment of a tyro manager would represent a substantial gamble by the Rangers board. In any case, no matter who is appointed at Ibrox – and whether or not Rodgers returns to England, with Arsenal or another alluring club – the legacy of the cash burn that drained Rangers’ resources after the 2012 insolvency under Craig Whyte is a financial gap with Celtic that widens every time the Parkhead team reach the Champions League group stage. It will be a significant achievement if anybody on Rangers’ managerial shortlist can bridge that gulf in time to stop Celtic reaching a record of 10 successive Scottish titles.
The lead-up to a potentially crushing Old Firm derby – and likely an extravagant Celtic title party – is an opportune time for Rangers fans to hear the name of Steven Gerrard connected with their team, albeit as an untried management candidate. Telegraph Sport can confirm that the Ibrox directors have been in touch with representatives of the Liverpool youth coach. The scar tissue sustained in the battering by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals remains livid and, although the Rangers die-hards will do their best to present a defiant face at Parkhead on Sunday, there is a ravenous appetite for any evidence to suggest that the Ibrox board has some form of viable plan to create a credible challenge to their arch-foes. Brendan Rodgers, in his singular fashion, has brought Celtic to the brink of the unprecedented feat of a second successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours. He is unbeaten in 10 Old Firm derbies and has supervised four-goal winning margins in three, including a record 5-1 victory at Ibrox last season – the first time ever that the Hoops had scored as many goals on the other side of Glasgow. Three successive Rangers managers have now been on the wrong end of these humiliations. Mark Warburton’s first taste of Old Firm intensity was a 5-1 drubbing at Celtic Park and his successor, the hapless Pedro Caixinha, was in charge when Celtic repeated the trick in Govan a year ago. Between times, Graeme Murty supervised a 1-1 draw at Parkhead in his first stint as Rangers’ interim boss and also quarried a goalless draw from the same location in December. Murty could even make a decent claim to have come close to interrupting Rodgers’ domination at Ibrox last month, when Rangers lost 3-2 to a Celtic side reduced to 10 men in the closing stages, but who were also fortunate that Alfredo Morelos extended his record of missing gilt-edged chances on such occasions. Celtic have been dominant under Brendan Rodgers Credit: Getty images The Scottish Cup debacle and its aftermath – a dressing room row which ended with veterans Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller suspended by the club – effectively took Murty out of the running for the position in the longer term, despite his record of decent results away to Celtic plus wins away to Aberdeen and Hibernian, the teams immediately behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership table. Despite a recovery of sorts with a 2-1 victory over Hearts on Sunday, the Rangers support remained angry, brandishing a set of banners that included the barbed message, ‘Incompetent on & off the pitch’. Since then, Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield have been identified as summer arrivals by the Ibrox director of football, Mark Allen. At the same time, other managerial candidates to pique the interest of Rangers’ head hunters have included Graham Potter, the Englishman in charge of Ostersunds in Sweden, Cardiff City’s Neil Warnock, Alex Neil of Preston and Steve Clarke, whose Kilmarnock side have beaten Rangers twice and beaten and drawn with Celtic. Gerrard is the latest to top the bookies’ rankings. While the playing reputation gained with England and Liverpool plus familiarity with Rodgers and a degree of first-hand knowledge of the Glasgow scene – Gerrard was at Ibrox for last month’s league derby – are all positives, the appointment of a tyro manager would represent a substantial gamble by the Rangers board. In any case, no matter who is appointed at Ibrox – and whether or not Rodgers returns to England, with Arsenal or another alluring club – the legacy of the cash burn that drained Rangers’ resources after the 2012 insolvency under Craig Whyte is a financial gap with Celtic that widens every time the Parkhead team reach the Champions League group stage. It will be a significant achievement if anybody on Rangers’ managerial shortlist can bridge that gulf in time to stop Celtic reaching a record of 10 successive Scottish titles.
Rangers contact Liverpool over Steven Gerrard's availability for manager role
The lead-up to a potentially crushing Old Firm derby – and likely an extravagant Celtic title party – is an opportune time for Rangers fans to hear the name of Steven Gerrard connected with their team, albeit as an untried management candidate. Telegraph Sport can confirm that the Ibrox directors have been in touch with representatives of the Liverpool youth coach. The scar tissue sustained in the battering by Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals remains livid and, although the Rangers die-hards will do their best to present a defiant face at Parkhead on Sunday, there is a ravenous appetite for any evidence to suggest that the Ibrox board has some form of viable plan to create a credible challenge to their arch-foes. Brendan Rodgers, in his singular fashion, has brought Celtic to the brink of the unprecedented feat of a second successive clean sweep of the Scottish honours. He is unbeaten in 10 Old Firm derbies and has supervised four-goal winning margins in three, including a record 5-1 victory at Ibrox last season – the first time ever that the Hoops had scored as many goals on the other side of Glasgow. Three successive Rangers managers have now been on the wrong end of these humiliations. Mark Warburton’s first taste of Old Firm intensity was a 5-1 drubbing at Celtic Park and his successor, the hapless Pedro Caixinha, was in charge when Celtic repeated the trick in Govan a year ago. Between times, Graeme Murty supervised a 1-1 draw at Parkhead in his first stint as Rangers’ interim boss and also quarried a goalless draw from the same location in December. Murty could even make a decent claim to have come close to interrupting Rodgers’ domination at Ibrox last month, when Rangers lost 3-2 to a Celtic side reduced to 10 men in the closing stages, but who were also fortunate that Alfredo Morelos extended his record of missing gilt-edged chances on such occasions. Celtic have been dominant under Brendan Rodgers Credit: Getty images The Scottish Cup debacle and its aftermath – a dressing room row which ended with veterans Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller suspended by the club – effectively took Murty out of the running for the position in the longer term, despite his record of decent results away to Celtic plus wins away to Aberdeen and Hibernian, the teams immediately behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership table. Despite a recovery of sorts with a 2-1 victory over Hearts on Sunday, the Rangers support remained angry, brandishing a set of banners that included the barbed message, ‘Incompetent on & off the pitch’. Since then, Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield have been identified as summer arrivals by the Ibrox director of football, Mark Allen. At the same time, other managerial candidates to pique the interest of Rangers’ head hunters have included Graham Potter, the Englishman in charge of Ostersunds in Sweden, Cardiff City’s Neil Warnock, Alex Neil of Preston and Steve Clarke, whose Kilmarnock side have beaten Rangers twice and beaten and drawn with Celtic. Gerrard is the latest to top the bookies’ rankings. While the playing reputation gained with England and Liverpool plus familiarity with Rodgers and a degree of first-hand knowledge of the Glasgow scene – Gerrard was at Ibrox for last month’s league derby – are all positives, the appointment of a tyro manager would represent a substantial gamble by the Rangers board. In any case, no matter who is appointed at Ibrox – and whether or not Rodgers returns to England, with Arsenal or another alluring club – the legacy of the cash burn that drained Rangers’ resources after the 2012 insolvency under Craig Whyte is a financial gap with Celtic that widens every time the Parkhead team reach the Champions League group stage. It will be a significant achievement if anybody on Rangers’ managerial shortlist can bridge that gulf in time to stop Celtic reaching a record of 10 successive Scottish titles.
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Hampden Park must remain Scotland's football ground, says Craig Brown
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Hampden Park must remain Scotland's football ground, says Craig Brown
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Hampden Park must remain Scotland's football ground, says Craig Brown
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Hampden Park must remain Scotland's football ground, says Craig Brown
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Hampden Park must remain Scotland's football ground, says Craig Brown
Craig Brown added his voice to the calls for Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground, as the Scottish Football Association consider whether or not to buy the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park. An agreement for a purchase in principle was agreed recently but, as Telegraph Sport revealed this week, some on the SFA board have yet to be convinced that their organisation should take on the task of stadium ownership. Their counterparts at the Scottish Rugby Union own Murrayfield and have been lobbying hard for that Edinburgh ground to stage international football. Hearts played at Murrayfield earlier this season while the main stand at their Tynecastle home was reconstructed and Brown, a non-executive director at Aberdeen, sampled the ground first-hand when the Pittodrie side visited in September. “The atmosphere wasn’t what you would want for a football match,” Brown said. Leader: Alex McLeish is unveiled by the SFA as the new Scotland National Team manager at Hampden Park Credit: Getty “The Hearts folk would definitely agree with that. Look at the upturn in their form when they went back to Tynecastle. They were yearning to get back to Tynecastle and they kept saying it. Craig Levein said that their fortunes would change when they got back – and they did. “Murrayfield has a great atmosphere for the rugby but our fans were so far behind the goals they needed a telescope to see the game. “We’ve surely got to be ambitious enough to own our own stadium. Hampden is a stadium of neutrality for cup semi-finals and finals. If they get a good new surface you can play under-21 games, which you couldn’t do the day before senior internationals, because the schedule for the U-21s is now different. “You can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look forward, but Hampden is the spiritual home of Scottish football. It needs a wee bit of revamping if we can afford it. What an impact it would make if Ian Maxwell, the new SFA chief executive, could do that, but the purse strings are the next question we’ve got. Where are we going to get the money? Hampden Park was an exciting place to be during the recent Old Firm Cup semi Credit: Getty “Look what Fergus McCann did at Celtic Park. Incredible. Doing that here would be great. I’m surprised and disappointed that it’s still in the balance but with a bit of expenditure here – bring the two ends in – what a stadium you’ve got. The main stand is good and the north stand is good. “It’s behind the goal that you’re a bit far from the action. Some Scotland players liked playing at Ibrox or Celtic Park because the atmosphere was slightly better but when Leigh Griffiths scored his two goals vs England here last year the country was in ecstasy for five minutes and there was no hint of ‘what are we doing at Hampden?’ The place was buzzing. “Those two goals confirmed what it would be like if Scottish football was a success. I’m sure big Alex McLeish will get it like that. I really fancy him as the manager here.” Brown was speaking at an event at Hampden to mark the publication of a memoir about Scotland’s participation in the finals of six World Cup tournaments between 1974 and 1998 by veteran commentator Archie McPherson.* History: Alfredo Di Stefano scores for Real Madrid during the legendary 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 Credit: Getty Alex McLeish, the current Scotland manager, was also in attendance after having appeared earlier at the stadium to publicise the next round of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductions. Asked to predict the outcome of the three-way race to finish second in the Scottish Premiership - involving Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian – McLeish said: “Aberdeen bounced back really well last week after a poor Scottish Cup semi-final. They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back. “You need to have the players. It’s not easy for a manager if he doesn't quite have the replacements for top players when they go out of the team and that's always something that has to be factored in. “It shows that Aberdeen are capable and their experience of getting the second place in the last few years is going to stand them in good stead. Hibs are coming like a train at the moment - an unstoppable train - but, again, it's hard not see Rangers in the top two.” 1980: Scotland v England at Hampden Park. Kenny Dalglish beats his club mate Phil Thompson to the ball. Credit: Getty Of Sunday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead, at which Celtic are overwhelming favourites to clinch a seventh successive title against a Rangers side who were beaten comprehensively by Brendan Rodgers’ players in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals, McLeish said: “A draw's a disaster, a defeat is even worse. I can imagine the week that Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game but he bounced back with a good result. “Celtic will be huge favourites and Rangers haven't done well these games and there's always anticipation - could this be the one that Rangers get the result?” * Adventures in the Golden Age, by Archie McPherson (Black & White Publishing, £11.99)
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Efe Ambrose shakes hands with Celtic's Scott Brown after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Efe Ambrose shakes hands with Celtic's Scott Brown after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian players celebrate in front of fans after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian players celebrate in front of fans after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian players celebrate in front of fans after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian players celebrate in front of fans after the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer clears off the line as Hibernian’s Martin Boyle looks to score REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer clears off the line as Hibernian’s Martin Boyle looks to score REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian fan during the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian fan during the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Referee Steven McLean with Celtic's Scott Brown REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Referee Steven McLean with Celtic's Scott Brown REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian fans during the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian fans during the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s John McGinn in action with Celtic’s Tom Rogic REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s John McGinn in action with Celtic’s Tom Rogic REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Ofir Marciano saves a shot from Celtic’s Tom Rogic REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Ofir Marciano saves a shot from Celtic’s Tom Rogic REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Paul Hanlon in action REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Paul Hanlon in action REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths in action REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths in action REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Paul Hanlon in action with Celtic’s Tom Rogic REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Paul Hanlon in action with Celtic’s Tom Rogic REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Efe Ambrose in action with Celtic’s Tom Rogic REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Efe Ambrose in action with Celtic’s Tom Rogic REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Jamie Maclaren celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian’s Jamie Maclaren celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian manager Neil Lennon reacts REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian manager Neil Lennon reacts REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic's Tom Rogic in action with Hibernian's Dylan McGeouch REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic's Tom Rogic in action with Hibernian's Dylan McGeouch REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with Hibernian manager Neil Lennon before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with Hibernian manager Neil Lennon before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian's Florian Kamberi shoots at goal REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Hibernian's Florian Kamberi shoots at goal REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic players huddle before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic - Easter Road, Edinburgh, Britain - April 21, 2018 Celtic players huddle before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Double treble is on as Celtic crush Rangers 4-0 in Scottish Cup semi-final
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Double treble is on as Celtic crush Rangers 4-0 in Scottish Cup semi-final
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Double treble is on as Celtic crush Rangers 4-0 in Scottish Cup semi-final
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Double treble is on as Celtic crush Rangers 4-0 in Scottish Cup semi-final
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Double treble is on as Celtic crush Rangers 4-0 in Scottish Cup semi-final
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Double treble is on as Celtic crush Rangers 4-0 in Scottish Cup semi-final
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Double treble is on as Celtic crush Rangers 4-0 in Scottish Cup semi-final
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was caused by an influx of dozens of balloons released by spectators, which blew about the pitch until Bobby Madden called a halt and instructed the players to burst them, a spectacle that resembled a mass trampling of grapes in a vineyard. It did not take long after the resumption of proceedings for Rangers’ hopes to be punctured. Dembele and Forrest combined to find Rogic in the Rangers’ box and the Australian spun Ross McCrorie off balance before shooting past Wes Foderingham with a rare use of his right foot for such a purpose. McCrorie had a chance of redemption when Craig Gordon slipped at a corner kick but, with the goalkeeper out of the equation, the Rangers defender headed wide of the mark. Celtic’s domination was so emphatic that when Russell Martin could do no better than turn a Kieran Tierney cross in the path of Callum McGregor, who promptly drove it beyond Foderingham, the notion of a Rangers comeback virtually defied the imagination. Murty reacted by replacing Andy Halliday with Josh Windass for what remained of the first half. Composure: Tom Rogic slots the first with a clam finish Credit: Reuters Halliday, on his 100th appearance for the club, responded by treating the Rangers bench to a volley of imprecations as he left the pitch. Whatever hope Murty retained of diverting fortune disappeared within five minutes of the restart when Dembele got goal-side of McCrorie who had three yanks at the striker’s jersey before finally toppling him inside the box. The outcome was McCrorie’s dismissal and a cool conversion from the spot. Rangers’ task was now the avoidance of humiliation, a prospect that loomed when Jason Holt fouled Patrick Roberts – who had replaced Forrest – for another penalty kick which was tucked away by Ntcham for Celtic’s fourth. Clear pen: Ross McCrorie of Rangers fouls Moussa Dembele of Celtic for a penalty and a red card Credit: Getty Between times, incredibly, Rangers might have scored three times, but Gordon produced spectacular one-armed blocks on headers from Alfredo Morelos and Bruno Alves. The goalkeeper was, however, beaten by a wild slice from his right-back, Mikael Lustig, which ricocheted from the crossbar. The rebound, though, fell to Morelos, who extended his impeccable record of missing gift chances in Old Firm derbies, by shooting straight at Gordon from six yards. Celtic’s devotion to humility was not evident in Brown’s response to victory, when the Parkhead captain was reminded that the Rangers had cheered the semi-final draw which paired them with the Bhoys. “I don’t think they’ll be cheering tonight,” he said. “We just knew as soon as we turned up that we’d win it.” Murty, meanwhile, was mired in frustration. “We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle,” he said. “I’ll apologise for the first half. It’s a lonely place out there, but we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “I won’t talk about my role at this time, it’s not about me.” For Rodgers, the focus is upon closing two imminent deals. “The important thing now is to close up the league,” he said “The final will be a tough game. You saw Motherwell yesterday [against Aberdeen]. They work hard and won’t make it easy.” 4:27PM We will have report and reaction ASAP Well done Celtic. Hard lines Rangers. FULL TIME: Celtic 4-0 Rangers (Rogic 22', McGregor 38', Dembele 52', Ntcham 78') pic.twitter.com/NzGFGgUScJ— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 4:23PM Full time: Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Graeme Murty, in all probability for the last time in an Old Firm match. This was a complete walloping, only one team ever in it, and it is Celtic who will face Motherwell in the final on May 19th. Not a great day out: a Rangers fan Credit: Sky Football 4:21PM 90 mins Alves is back on. Tavernier has had a booking. 4:19PM 89 mins Alves needs treatment. Aye, on his hair. Credit: Sky Rangers have used all three of their subs so are playing with nine men at the moment. 4:16PM 86 mins Still all Celtic. McGregor and Tierney combine for a great move, nice movement, and the shot at the end is just a couple of feet too high. 4:14PM 84 mins Some seats now available in the Rangers end... 4:09PM 80 mins More good news for Rangers: Leigh Griffiths, who always scores against them, is coming on. Dembele the man who makes way. Dembele roasted the Rangers defence in the first half an hour, and the game was long over by half time. 4:07PM GOAL! Ntcahm (78p) and it's Celtic 4 Rangers 0 Perfect penalty! Keeper guessed correctly, but it was right in the corner. ���� pic.twitter.com/Zk4hIBy4Nn— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 4:06PM Another penalty Holt this time. Ridiculous swing of the leg upends Roberts in the area. Clear penalty, once again. Absolute humiliation this. Holt looked totally clueless there. Say what you like about Murty, but Jason Holt's already created a goal within just 7 minutes of the manager throwing him on— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 4:05PM 75 mins Sinclair bright as a button since coming on, stretching the shellshocked Rangers defence with his pace. 4:01PM 71 mins Forrest off, Roberts on. 71' SUB: Jason Holt comes on to replace Graham Dorrans. 0-3 pic.twitter.com/ZYheo8R6H0— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 3:59PM 70 mins Game meandering to a close already, I can only assume that Rangers fans are soon to be meandering out of Hampden. Not sure anyone could blame them. 3:58PM 68 mins I tried to have a bet before the match on total yellow cards but could not find a price. I make it five so far plus a red. 3:54PM Scott Brown involved in Old Firm argy-bargy shocker Credit: Sky Sticking up for McGregor after Morelos shoved the player. Booking for Morelos for that. Booking for Dorans as well, who tried to hack down Celtic runner McGregor. Booking for Scott Brown for being Scott Brown. 3:49PM 60 mins: Celtic 3 Rangers (ten men) 0 Scott Sinclair is coming on, Tom Rogic comes off. 59' - CLOSE! Ntcham threads a perfect ball through to Forrest inside the box but the Hoops winger stabs his effort just wide of the mark [3-0] #CELRAN— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:46PM 56 mins Suddenly it is all Rangers! A wild attempted clearance from Celtic's Lustig hits the bar and Morelos has bungled the chance from the rebound. 3:44PM 53 mins Suddenly, against the run of play, Rangers fashion a great chance. Tavernier from the right, superb cross. Morelos rises to meet it with a superb header. Brilliant save Craig Gordon. Somehow he tips it over. From the resultant corner, another good header. Another superb save from Gordon. Poor old Rangers. Not their day. Bruno Alves comes on to replace Daniel Candeias. 3:42PM GOAL! Dembele penalty And a great penalty it is too, a cheeky wee Paneka, beautifully done, and that will get right up the pipe of the Rangers players and supporters. And what is the point of an Old Firm game if not for that? MOUSSA WITH THE PANENKA! ������ pic.twitter.com/KMbf1PcDz6— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 3:41PM Red card for Ross McCrorie Dembele has the run on him down the left. McCrorie is pulling at his shirt the whole while. Two tugs at least, all of this outside the box but Dembele waits until he is into the area to haul him down. Penalty and a red card. Clear as day. 3:37PM 48 mins Corner cleared easily. Docherty has been booked for pulling back Callum McGregor 3:36PM 47 mins Still. They have an early corner. 3:35PM 46 mins Any hope for the blue team? I would not think so, no. 3:20PM Half time: Celtic 2 Rangers 0 Total mismatch. Rogic and McGregor the scorers. Celtic hardly off the bridle, Rangers just totally outplayed. We'll seriously have to rethink the term 'Old Firm' if there's a couple more seasons of this. Men against boys, this is. Packie Bonner on the BBC: "It's a big, big task and a huge half-time for Graeme Murty if he is going to save his job." 3:18PM 45 mins Wee moment from Rangers, Tavernier picks out Candeias and he crosses. No. Far too close to the keeper and that is the last action of an utterly one-sided first half. 3:15PM 40 mins Never fear, Rangers fans: Josh Windass is here. 3:14PM 39 mins Rangers manager Graeme Murty responds by taking off Andy Halliday. It's a bit like the England cricket team dropping a bowler after a batting collapse. Sure, Halliday has barely had a kick, but the defending has been terrible. Halliday is pure raging as he comes off. After May 2016's shameful scenes, it’s disappointing to see another fan running around aimlessly on the Hampden turf pic.twitter.com/DcU1DSUTCp— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) April 15, 2018 3:12PM GOAL! Celtic have the second. McGregor It's awful from Rangers, no more than Celtic deserve however. Candeias beaten way to easily, and Tierney has it all his own way as he delivers a ball from the left. Terrible bit of defending from Russell Martin, no athleticism at all as he slowly, clumsily sticks out a leg. Cushions the ball nicely into the path of Callum McGregor, who slots it home. Men against boys today I am afraid and this game is surely already over. Celtic 2 Rangers 0 (McGregor 38) 3:07PM Leigh Griffiths did not start Celtic fans Credit: Getty 3:06PM 34 mins: Celtic 1 Rangers 0 Candeias and Murphy, the nominal wide attackers for Rangers, have barely had a kick. The former now, though, tries a long lofted ball to the latter. Celtic, safety first, head it behind for a corner. From that corner, there is a brief moment of alarm for the Celts when Gordon lies on the turf... but he had been fouled. 3:04PM 32 mins Ntcham! Rogic tries a shot, it comes back off Dorrans, who is back defending as indeed is everyone else. The rebound drops for Ntcham, not a bad dig. 3:01PM 29 mins We are having our first yellow of the afternoon, somewhat later than one normally expects. Murphy gets the better of Lustig who sighs and hauls him back, already expecting the booking. 2:56PM 24 mins Oi oi though, here is Candeias on the break, totally out of the blue. And Rangers have a corner. 2:55PM 23 mins Rogic again! Desperate block. Rangers are getting a roasting. Only TWO PERCENT of the action in the Celtic half! 2:54PM 22 mins And Rogic has another chance! This one probably easier than the goal. Cannot place it properly. Celtic rampant, Dembele tearing Rangers apart. 2:53PM GOAL! Rogic gives Celtic the lead! It's that man again. Rogic bursts into the box, great composure in the box, he twists away from his marker and slots it home. Celtic 1 Rangers 0 (Rogic 21) Dembele had done well with a knock down to Forrest, who picked out Rogic. He shifted the ball and struck a nice shot. Tom Rogic unaware of an approaching shark pic.twitter.com/4pwnBqRciv— Footballers with animals (@ftbllrswanimals) March 11, 2018 2:51PM 20 mins Corner for Celtic. Foderingham palms it away for another corner. Boyata! Arriving late, great movement but a poor header. 2:51PM 19 mins Rangers pinned back entirely. They cannot keep the ball. On the upside, Celtic have had few if any chances of note with the exception of Dembele hitting the post. 2:50PM 16 mins Bit of a delay while players from both sides stamp on some balloons. 2:43PM 11 mins Another nice move from Celtic sees Tierney, who I think will play for a top six English side within the next 18 months, deliver a hard low cross that is kept out, just. It's all hands to the pump for Rangers. 2:42PM 10 mins Ntcham with a powerful run, but the shot is disappointing to say the least. Celtic well on top in the first ten minutes, the men in Blue have scarcely been past halfway. 2:41PM 9 mins Rogic with a nice little prompting ball through to Dembele, who is starting to dominate the Rangers defence with his movement. Just about bundled clear. McCrorie the player who nipped in. 2:38PM 5 mins Good ball in from the right by Ntcham and Demebele meets it with a sweet contact! It hits the post with Foderingham well beaten. Really well struck snap effort, shades of offside I would suggest but it matters not. Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Simunovic, Roberts, Griffiths, Sinclair, Edouard, Bain, Eboue. Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, McCrorie, Martin, John, Docherty, Halliday, Candeias, Dorrans, Murphy, Morelos. Subs: Cummings, Miller, Windass, Hodson, Bruno Alves, Holt, Alnwick. Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) 2:34PM 3 mins Credit: Sky Football Morellos has a run down the channel that is hampered by the presence of balloons. True of this fixture as a whole. 2:33PM 2 mins No football to speak of just yet. Credit: Reuters 2:31PM 1 mins: Celtic 0 Rangers 0 Various flares and smoke things go off. Celtic kick off. 2:30PM Rangers Credit: Sky Another specialist, Kenny Miller also on the bench. 2:29PM Celtic formation Credit: Sky Dembele has six in eight Old Firm games, but another specialist, Leigh Griffiths, sits on the bench. 2:27PM Rod! Credit: Sky Football 2:19PM Hampden looks pretty full I never enjoy going there for semis, think it spoils things, but I suppose a neutral ground is fair enough. Be quite cool if these could do a deal to go play in Old Trafford or Villa Park or something. Actually that is probably a terrible idea. 2:00PM Strong words from Lee McCulloch on the BBC "Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble. "That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player. "That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me." 1:58PM Opportunities for pundits not called Kris are limited in Scotland. With these two again for a huge game today the Scottish Cup semi-final. We love each other’s company really �� @kcommons15@krisboydcharity@Celticfc v @RangersFC is LIVE on @SkyFootball from 2.15pm. pic.twitter.com/jbT9jwLpee— Hayley McQueen (@HayleyMcQueen) April 15, 2018 Boydy does not appear to have a snack to hand; that could be a problem. 1:44PM Rangers players �� #RangersFC have arrived at Hampden. pic.twitter.com/jSvzOtxeNo— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 Oh Jason. 1:39PM Here's the team sheet Official #CELRAN teamsheet. �� ➡️ https://t.co/scIhOWsyU7pic.twitter.com/Il4LUTeaen— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 1:32PM Here are the boys in blue ��TEAM NEWS: Graeme Murty has made one change to his side for today’s @ScottishCup semi-final at Hampden as Andy Halliday returns to the Gers starting eleven. ➡️ Full Team News: https://t.co/7RX4t0ztWGpic.twitter.com/oExGZNSYnC— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 15, 2018 1:27PM Well, Celtic's is Where is the Rangers team? ���� pic.twitter.com/EhlQE3e2q9— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 15, 2018 1:25PM Good afternoon Tyers here. British football's most hate-filled derby is here! What a Sunday treat! And now, the team news is here. �� Starting XI. #CELRANpic.twitter.com/K6WOxUTjGZ— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2018 Celtic team to play Rangers: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Simunovic, Roberts, Kouassi, Edouard, Sinclair, Griffiths.— Superscoreboard (@ClydeSSB) April 15, 2018 1:19PM Brendan Rodgers: We are looking no further than this game Brendan Rodgers insists his Celtic side are focused on today's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park as they look to rewrite history. The Hoops are one win away from clinching their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title and that could come at Hibernian in the first post-split fixture. And while both Celtic and Rangers sides of the past have reached nine in a row and won domestic trebles, a victory over their old rivals will take the Hoops to within a win of a second successive clean sweep which has yet to be done in Scottish football. Rodgers, who has won six out of six games at Hampden since taking over at the Glasgow club in 2016 and is unbeaten in nine Old Firm games, is aware of what could be achieved, but is looking no further than the weekend. "The history is enormous at this club and what we did last year was historic," said the Parkhead boss. Rodgers is chasing yet another title Credit: PA "But we want to keep writing our own history and that means being really focused on the next game. "They are always tough games. I have been involved in nine of them and they are always complicated in their different ways so this will be no different. "However, we go to Hampden with a team that have not only won there but played very well. "Obviously that gives us faith and confidence but not taking away from it being a tough game."
Double treble is on as Celtic crush Rangers 4-0 in Scottish Cup semi-final
Brendan Rodgers cited humility as a Celtic character trait in the build-up to this match but it was Rangers who were humbled yet again by an emphatic Old Firm derby defeat. Tempting as it is to declare that Celtic strode into the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell next month, the truth was that their progress was a stroll. For all of Graeme Murty’s talk of using the pain of defeat in last month’s derby at Ibrox as a motivational tool for this encounter, the Rangers manager was at an utter loss to explain why his players stood off a Celtic side who were visibly gratified to be allowed unwonted time and space to assert their domination. The cost to Murty of this setback will be the loss of his place on the shortlist of candidates when the Ibrox board considers who should be in charge next season but, despite the assertion by the Rangers chairman, Dave King that ‘immediate success’ is required, it will not be delivered by the club’s current squad. Only Celtic exceed them in financial clout in Scotland but a gulf remains and, for as long as the Hoops’ advantage is pressed by a manager as driven as Rodgers, Rangers will struggle to emerge as plausible contenders for domestic honours. This occasion presented them with their last chance to interfere with Celtic’s push towards a second clean sweep of the Scottish prizes but Murty’s players looked timid and apprehensive from the start. His deployment was a 4-2-3-1 match-up with Celtic, but Rangers’ advanced midfielder stood off their opposite numbers, a fatal error which permitted Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic to dominate the hearty of the pitch, with James Forrest and Callum McGregor allowed to roam the flanks, all to the advantage of Moussa Dembele, who demonstrated his predatory qualities after only five minutes, when he volleyed a lofted pass from Ntcham off the post. Bad day: Graeme Murty's tactics did not work Credit: PA In fact, the most significant interruption of Celtic’s rhythm was ca