Rangers are officially 19 points clear of Celtic as the Gers took a huge step towards winning the 55 at the start of January. It is difficult to state how much this win meant for Rangers fans. Today’s victory was the final stamp towards showing the world that Rangers are the most dominant force in Scotland. Even the last Old Firm win which Rangers strolled to a win, it was a toss up to which side can win. However, coming into this encounter, everyone expected a Rangers win. Even the Celtic fans openly conceded that Gerrard’s men were the firm favourites.
This is the first time in a long while that happened and Rangers were definitely under pressure from the very start. Celtic started really brightly, and it was the duo of Frimpong and Laxalt who were causing all the trouble from the very start. Atleast 3 top drawer saves from McGregor kept Rangers in the game in the first half. The one McGregor saved from Griffiths where the ball went on to hit the bar and then went out was probably the best save I have seen this season. Rangers were absolutely no threat in the first half, and you had the feeling that Celtic could regret not scoring one when they were so much on top.
The second half started in the same way although Gerrard made the half time substitution of getting Hagi on for Roofe. While it was Roofe who was hooked, it could have been a number of Rangers players really. Apart from Kamara, almost everyone looked a bit overwhelmed by the occasion. Thankfully, at the start of the second half, it was not as bad, and soon the footballing god smiled on Rangers.
Bitton had an absolute brain freeze when he rugby tackled Alfredo Morelos when he was straight through on goal. Maybe Bitton thought he would not have been able to keep up with Morelos, but there was no justification for that challenge at all. A straight red by Madden, who credit to him, did not shy away from that call. While social media is filled with ‘brother Madden’ memes, it was absolutely the right call. In fact, the Celtic fans should count their blessing that Madden actually decided not to show Duffy the red card as well. The Brighton loanee had no intention of playing the ball, and you suspect that if Bitton were not already off, Madden would have flashed the red card.
From then on, you just knew it was going to be Rangers’ day. The goal that finally came was scrappy, to say the least, and there was an element of fortune in it as it. Callum McGregor’s shoulder was the decisive touch from the corner as the ball went into the net just out of reach of Barkas.
However, as Thomas Nicoll told me right after the game, ”Proven now that you can beat them with style and beat them when not playing at your best.”
That is exactly right. The mark of champions. Rangers are the outright favourites to march on to the 55 now. As for Lennon, you have to feel bad for him on a footballing level. Not much else he could have done today, but he will have to try at least and change things around. Not going to be a pleasant first few days in Dubai I am guessing. Can’t see how Lennon gets the sack after this performance though. No chance.
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