Celtic proved themselves worthy champions with a convincing win over the troubled, administration-hit Rangers side they deposed.

Rangers had started brightly, but they looked a dispirited bunch from the moment Charlie Mulgrew dived unmarked to head Celtic into a 17th-minute lead.

Kris Commons chipped over goalkeeper Allan McGregor on the break to extend the lead on 31 minutes.

And Gary Hooper blasted in from distance nine minutes after the break.

Celtic's fans taunted their Rangers counterpart over the prospect of liquidation

Celtic's fans taunted their Rangers counterparts over the prospect of liquidation

The victory in the final Old Firm derby of the season stretches Celtic's lead over their Glasgow rivals to 21 points with three games remaining to emphasise that the team from the East End would have won the title even if Rangers had not been docked 10 points for going into administration.

Ally McCoist's side left the field looking shellshocked and with the taunts of the Celtic fans ringing in their ears amid banners and chants suggesting that this might be the last-ever Old Firm derby should Rangers go out of business.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon had ditched the experimental line-up that defeated Motherwell last weekend and brought back the experienced Fraser Forster, Adam Matthews, Glenn Loovens, Georgios Samaras and captain Scott Brown.

But Rangers, unchanged from the side that defeated Hearts to record their fourth straight win and looking to repeat last month's 3-2 win over Celtic, started confidently, with Lee McCulloch sending a 22-yard volley a couple of yards over after a neat Andy Little knock-down.

Play was already swinging from end to end and Kris Commons mis-hit a 16-yard drive after an Emilio Izaguirre cross caused panic in the Rangers defence.

Rhys McCabe had a long-range effort deflected just wide of a Celtic post before leading a breakaway that ended with a Little shot straight at goalkeeper Forster.

However, Celtic took the lead with their first corner, which was driven long by Commons to the head of Mulgrew.

The player of the year candidate arrived late and unmarked to head down off the turf and into the roof of the net past McGregor from 15 yards.

Having taken heart from the opening goal, Celtic started to look the more incisive and extended their lead through Commons.

Gary Hooper gathered the ball out wide and, when the striker found Commons with a low crossfield pass, the winger nutmegged Kyle Bartley before chipping over the advancing McGregor.

Rangers were now on the rocks, unable to cope with Celtic's fluid system after Lennon switched to three at the back, and McGregor had to beat away a powerful Victor Wanyama drive.

The second half continued in the same manner, with McGregor being forced into a superb fingertip save to turn a Joe Ledley drive over the crossbar.

McGregor had to save smartly on his goalline following Wanyama's mis-hit effort from the resulting corner, but the goalkeeper was given no chance when Celtic extended their lead moments later.

McCabe was dispossessed by Commons and Samaras' quick pass found Hooper with plenty of space to find the top corner with a rasping drive from 20 yards.

It was the 73rd minute before Rangers had another effort on goal, with substitute Salim Kerkar's chip sailing harmlessly over the crossbar.

Hapless on-loan Arsenal defender Kyle Bartley's frustration boiled over with a couple of dangerous tackles that ought to have been more harshly dealt with than the yellow card shown for the second that flattened Izaguirre.

Forster pushed wide a powerful curling free-kick from Sone Aluko and Brown was lucky not to be sent off for a thumping challenge on Kerkar.

By then, however, the game was over as a contest as the two sets of fans rocked the stadium, one set in celebration, the other with a defiance largely absent from their side on the field of play.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Celtic

  • 01 Forster
  • 03 Izaguirre
  • 21 Mulgrew
  • 22 Loovens
  • 02 Matthews
  • 08 Brown Booked
  • 16 Ledley
  • 67 Wanyama
  • 09 Samaras (Stokes - 81' )
  • 15 Commons (McCourt - 85' )
  • 88 Hooper (Watt - 89' )

Substitutes

  • 24 Zaluska
  • 06 Wilson
  • 11 Cha Du-Ri
  • 20 McCourt
  • 46 McGeouch
  • 10 Stokes
  • 32 Watt

Rangers

  • 01 McGregor
  • 02 Goian
  • 12 Wallace Booked
  • 16 Whittaker
  • 18 Bocanegra
  • 22 Bartley Booked
  • 06 McCulloch
  • 07 Edu
  • 19 Aluko
  • 41 McCabe (Ness - 57' )
  • 34 Little (Kerkar - 72' )

Substitutes

  • 25 Alexander
  • 04 Broadfoot
  • 32 Perry
  • 21 Bedoya
  • 26 Ness
  • 15 Healy
  • 28 Kerkar
Ref: Murray
Att: 58,546

Match Stats

Shots

13 8

On target

8 4

Corners

8 3

Fouls

13 9

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:39 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +2:02

The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Fraser Forster.

89:29

Sone Aluko delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Glenn Loovens manages to make a clearance.

89:29 Booking

Booking Scott Brown receives a yellow card.

89:13

Scott Brown concedes a free kick for a foul on Salim Kerkar.

88:37 Substitution

Substitution Gary Hooper goes off and Tony Watt comes on.

87:16

Emilio Izaguirre produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.

86:35

Patrick McCourt decides to take a short corner.

84:36 Substitution

Substitution Patrick McCourt is brought on as a substitute for Kris Commons.

83:10

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Sone Aluko from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Victor Wanyama.

82:20

Unfair challenge on Lee McCulloch by Glenn Loovens results in a free kick. Strike comes in from Sone Aluko from the free kick, save by Fraser Forster.

81:15

Anthony Stokes concedes a free kick for a foul on Carlos Bocanegra. Direct free kick taken by Kyle Bartley.

80:40 Substitution

Substitution Anthony Stokes replaces Georgios Samaras.

74:33

Charlie Mulgrew restarts play with the free kick.

74:33 Booking

Booking Booking for Kyle Bartley for unsporting behaviour.

74:18

Kyle Bartley challenges Emilio Izaguirre unfairly and gives away a free kick.

73:36

Kris Commons takes a shot. Blocked by Carlos Bocanegra.

72:46

Effort from deep inside the area by Salim Kerkar clears the bar.

71:06 Substitution

Substitution Salim Kerkar comes on in place of Andrew Little.

71:00

Steven Whittaker crosses the ball.

70:31

Andrew Little concedes a free kick for a foul on Adam Matthews. Scott Brown takes the direct free kick.

69:58

Sone Aluko challenges Georgios Samaras unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Scott Brown.

68:35

Unfair challenge on Georgios Samaras by Kyle Bartley results in a free kick. Charlie Mulgrew restarts play with the free kick.

61:11

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Charlie Mulgrew by Lee McCulloch. Free kick taken by Glenn Loovens.

59:54

Emilio Izaguirre takes a shot. Save by Allan McGregor.

59:19

Kris Commons decides to take a short corner.

59:14

Emilio Izaguirre crosses the ball, blocked by Kyle Bartley.

58:03

Free kick awarded for a foul by Gary Hooper on Dorin Goian. Kyle Bartley takes the free kick.

56:37 Substitution

Substitution (Rangers) makes a substitution, with Jamie Ness coming on for Rhys McCabe.

56:26

The ball is sent over by Kyle Bartley.

55:14

Effort on goal by Georgios Samaras from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

54:32

The assistant referee flags for offside against Lee McCulloch. Fraser Forster restarts play with the free kick.

53:10

The assist for the goal came from Georgios Samaras.

53:10 Goal scored

Goal! - Gary Hooper - Celtic 3 - 0 Rangers Gary Hooper finds the net with a goal from the edge of the area to the top right corner of the goal. Celtic 3-0 Rangers.

52:53

Foul by Emilio Izaguirre on Sone Aluko, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Kyle Bartley.

52:30

Corner taken left-footed by Kris Commons from the right by-line, Victor Wanyama takes a shot. Allan McGregor makes a save.

52:15

Shot from 20 yards from Joe Ledley. Save by Allan McGregor.

51:14

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Scott Brown by Andrew Little. Free kick crossed by Kris Commons, Carlos Bocanegra makes a clearance.

50:39

The ball is crossed by Emilio Izaguirre.

50:35

The ball is crossed by Adam Matthews, clearance by Lee Wallace.

48:47

Centre by Emilio Izaguirre, Lee Wallace makes a clearance.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +1:04 Half time

Half Time It is the end of the first-half.

44:53

Emilio Izaguirre gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Whittaker. Free kick taken by Kyle Bartley.

42:12

The ball is crossed by Andrew Little, Glenn Loovens makes a clearance.

39:15

Unfair challenge on Andrew Little by Adam Matthews results in a free kick. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.

38:39

Victor Wanyama takes a shot. Save by Allan McGregor.

36:57

Maurice Edu challenges Scott Brown unfairly and gives away a free kick. Victor Wanyama takes the direct free kick.

35:15

Inswinging corner taken by Kris Commons from the right by-line played to the near post, Header by Joe Ledley from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.

35:09

The ball is swung over by Emilio Izaguirre, clearance made by Carlos Bocanegra.

34:13

Corner taken left-footed by Kris Commons, Steven Whittaker manages to make a clearance.

33:49

A cross is delivered by Emilio Izaguirre, blocked by Dorin Goian.

32:37

Emilio Izaguirre fouled by Steven Whittaker, the ref awards a free kick. Charlie Mulgrew takes the direct free kick.

30:29

Assist on the goal came from Gary Hooper.

30:29 Goal scored

Goal! - Kris Commons - Celtic 2 - 0 Rangers Kris Commons scores a goal from deep inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Celtic 2-0 Rangers.

28:57

Emilio Izaguirre crosses the ball, Header from close in by Joe Ledley misses to the right of the target.

28:37

Corner taken short by Kris Commons.

28:30

Emilio Izaguirre delivers the ball, clearance by Carlos Bocanegra.

26:48

Outswinging corner taken by Kris Commons from the left by-line played to the near post.

25:36

Shot from just outside the area by Steven Whittaker goes over the bar.

25:08

Scott Brown gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Maurice Edu. Carlos Bocanegra restarts play with the free kick.

23:25

Foul by Emilio Izaguirre on Steven Whittaker, free kick awarded. Steven Whittaker takes the free kick.

21:50

The ball is delivered by Sone Aluko, Lee McCulloch has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.

19:56

Unfair challenge on Maurice Edu by Victor Wanyama results in a free kick. Rhys McCabe produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.

18:56

Free kick awarded for a foul by Emilio Izaguirre on Lee Wallace. Free kick taken by Carlos Bocanegra.

18:05

Kris Commons restarts play with the free kick.

18:05 Booking

Booking The referee books Lee Wallace for unsporting behaviour.

17:47

Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Wallace on Kris Commons.

16:16

The assist for the goal came from Kris Commons.

16:16 Goal scored

Goal! - Charlie Mulgrew - Celtic 1 - 0 Rangers Charlie Mulgrew scores a headed goal from deep inside the penalty box. Celtic 1-0 Rangers.

15:49

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Kris Commons,

15:18

Andrew Little takes a shot. Save made by Fraser Forster.

14:11

Corner from the right by-line taken by Sone Aluko, clearance made by Georgios Samaras.

14:02

Rhys McCabe takes a shot. Blocked by Kris Commons.

13:16

Corner taken by Sone Aluko from the right by-line to the near post.

7:49

Gary Hooper gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Carlos Bocanegra. Allan McGregor takes the direct free kick.

5:44

Close range shot by Adam Matthews misses to the left of the target.

5:37

Emilio Izaguirre sends in a cross, Lee Wallace manages to make a clearance.

5:00

Shot from just outside the area by Lee McCulloch goes over the bar.

2:16

Georgios Samaras challenges Andrew Little unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sone Aluko crosses the ball in from the free kick.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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