Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic0RangersRangers2

Celtic 0-2 Rangers: visitors make title statement with dominant win

By Thomas DuncanBBC Scotland
Connor Goldson side-footed home his second to secure victory for Rangers
Connor Goldson side-footed home his second to secure victory for Rangers

Rangers inflicted the first Old Firm derby blow in a historic Scottish Premiership campaign - and moved four points clear at the top - with a dominant 2-0 win at Celtic Park.

In the first Glasgow derby without fans, Steven Gerrard's side took an early lead when Connor Goldson headed in James Tavernier's free-kick.

And the Rangers centre-back then also tapped in after the break to finish off a lacklustre and unfamiliar Celtic side shorn of four players due to Covid-19 protocols.

The win laid down a marker in a significant season, as the Ibrox side attempt to prevent their city rivals from winning an unprecedented 10th consecutive title.

Neil Lennon's team do still have a game in hand and were without star striker Odsonne Edouard and key midfielder Ryan Christie, but were nonetheless outclassed again in the unique fan-less derby.

Despite losing two of the three Old Firm meetings last season, Gerrard's team could rightly lay claim to having looked the more accomplished side in those games.

They won the midfield battle in two of the three contests, and started in exactly the same vein with crisp passing and movement in this one.

Celtic - with five derby debutants in their ranks, including academy player Stephen Welsh at centre-back - looked unsure of themselves in possession.

The cauldron atmosphere can be suffocating in these games, but a lack of fans resulted in a more compelling tactical battle, which Rangers had the better of.

Tavernier and Borna Barisic roamed down the flanks and into spaces vacated by Celtic's wing-backs, combining with Ryan Kent and Brandon Barker at will.

What Gerrard's side can always rely on is quality of delivery from captain Tavernier, and his fine free-kick allowed Goldson to steer Rangers in front after just eight minutes. Celtic only managed a forlorn lob over the top from Mohamed Elyounoussi in reply before the break after he had impressively robbed Goldson.

The champions' first-half display conformed to their recent form - if not results - as they lacked tempo and urgency. Lennon made no changes at the break, and his side continued to struggle with movement in forward areas.

Patryk Klimala was anonymous up front while Albian Ajeti made little impact when he came on midway through the second period.

Rangers, meanwhile, showed their sharpness in stretching their advantage as Scott Arfield, Glen Kamara and Alfredo Morelos all combined on the edge of the box before the former's delivery fell to Goldson to bundle home at the second attempt.

Kent was twice denied by a lunging Kristoffer Ajer as Rangers threatened to embarrass their rivals on their own patch, while Celtic's only flirtation with goal came when substitute Leigh Griffiths managed to round Allan McGregor but could not find the target.

The fact Celtic - who have secured 53 points from a possible 57 since the last meeting between the sides - did not manage a shot on target illustrates the scale of Rangers' comfort.

Man of the match - Glen Kamara

Despite Goldson's two goals, Kamara oozed class in midfield and was consistently involved in Rangers' build-up, while he expertly nulled the threat of Jeremie Frimpong at wing-back
Despite Goldson's two goals, Kamara oozed class in midfield and was consistently involved in Rangers' build-up play, while he expertly nullified the threat of Jeremie Frimpong at wing-back.

What did we learn?

Rangers have undoubtedly worked out how to get the better of their rivals. Once again they shut them down in midfield and exerted control through their passing and composure. It was a complete performance.

What remains to be seen is whether this is a significant step forward. We have seen excellent Old Firm performances before from Gerrard's side, with no trophies to show for it. We will only know whether they are the real deal this time if they are in the fight come April - but the signs are good.

As for Celtic, it seems Lennon's favoured 3-5-2 formation is not working, which is alarming given the recruitment was focussed on filling those specific positions. Next to Rangers, they looked like a team without a clear identity, but rather a clutch of individuals who are performing below their ability.

The positive for them is that nothing is won in October, and they are the experts at bouncing back from rare defeats. Nonetheless there is undoubted concern about their current level of performance.

What's next?

Both sides are in Europa League action on Thursday. Rangers travel to Belgium to face Standard Liege (17:55 BST), while it doesn't get any easier for Celtic, who host AC Milan (20:00 BST).

'Somebody within the club is doing us in' - Lennon disgusted by Celtic starting XI leak

Player of the match

GoldsonConnor Goldson

with an average of 8.54

Celtic

  1. Squad number35Player nameAjer
    Average rating

    3.68

  2. Squad number57Player nameWelsh
    Average rating

    3.55

  3. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor
    Average rating

    3.54

  4. Squad number93Player nameLaxalt
    Average rating

    3.48

  5. Squad number4Player nameDuffy
    Average rating

    3.39

  6. Squad number30Player nameFrimpong
    Average rating

    3.30

  7. Squad number8Player nameBrown
    Average rating

    3.12

  8. Squad number1Player nameBarkas
    Average rating

    3.04

  9. Squad number21Player nameNtcham
    Average rating

    3.01

  10. Squad number9Player nameGriffiths
    Average rating

    2.92

  11. Squad number11Player nameKlimala
    Average rating

    2.88

  12. Squad number27Player nameElyounoussi
    Average rating

    2.80

  13. Squad number10Player nameAjeti
    Average rating

    2.75

  14. Squad number3Player nameTaylor
    Average rating

    2.61

  15. Squad number18Player nameRogic
    Average rating

    2.59

  16. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull
    Average rating

    2.50

Rangers

  1. Squad number6Player nameGoldson
    Average rating

    8.54

  2. Squad number18Player nameKamara
    Average rating

    8.11

  3. Squad number2Player nameTavernier
    Average rating

    7.83

  4. Squad number14Player nameKent
    Average rating

    7.74

  5. Squad number31Player nameBarisic
    Average rating

    7.68

  6. Squad number5Player nameHelander
    Average rating

    7.64

  7. Squad number37Player nameArfield
    Average rating

    7.63

  8. Squad number10Player nameDavis
    Average rating

    7.42

  9. Squad number8Player nameJack
    Average rating

    7.24

  10. Squad number1Player nameMcGregor
    Average rating

    7.18

  11. Squad number20Player nameMorelos
    Average rating

    6.82

  12. Squad number11Player nameItten
    Average rating

    6.62

  13. Squad number21Player nameBarker
    Average rating

    6.60

  14. Squad number17Player nameAribo
    Average rating

    6.49

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 1Barkas
  • 57WelshSubstituted forTurnbullat 84'minutes
  • 4DuffyBooked at 85mins
  • 35Ajer
  • 30Frimpong
  • 8BrownBooked at 61mins
  • 21NtchamSubstituted forRogicat 67'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 93LaxaltSubstituted forTaylorat 84'minutes
  • 11KlimalaSubstituted forGriffithsat 67'minutes
  • 27ElyounoussiSubstituted forAjetiat 56'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 9Griffiths
  • 10Ajeti
  • 12Soro
  • 14Turnbull
  • 18Rogic
  • 29Bain
  • 52Henderson
  • 56Ralston

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 5Helander
  • 31Barisic
  • 37ArfieldBooked at 60minsSubstituted forAriboat 90'minutes
  • 10Davis
  • 18Kamara
  • 21BarkerSubstituted forJackat 62'minutes
  • 20MorelosBooked at 85minsSubstituted forIttenat 86'minutes
  • 14Kent

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 7Hagi
  • 8Jack
  • 9Defoe
  • 11Itten
  • 17Aribo
  • 22Jones
  • 26Balogun
  • 33McLaughlin
Referee:
John Beaton

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home5
Away9
Shots on Target
Home0
Away5
Corners
Home1
Away5
Fouls
Home13
Away18

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 0, Rangers 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 0, Rangers 2.

  3. Post update

    Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Kent (Rangers).

  5. Post update

    Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Cedric Itten (Rangers).

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Joe Aribo replaces Scott Arfield.

  8. Post update

    Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Cedric Itten (Rangers).

  10. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Vasilios Barkas.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic).

  13. Post update

    Ryan Jack (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Cedric Itten replaces Alfredo Morelos.

  15. Booking

    Shane Duffy (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

  16. Booking

    Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Shane Duffy (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Albian Ajeti (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Greg Taylor replaces Diego Laxalt.

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