Celtic secured a vital 2-1 win at Ibrox which puts them six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership and with their superior goal difference, could all but secure them the title. Aaron Ramsey gave Rangers the lead in the opening moments but goals from Tom Rogic and Cameron Carter-Vickers completed a first-half turnaround that has major implications at the top of the table.
Just a week before the split, this result surely means that Celtic will regain the league title that they lost to their fiercest rivals last season. Rangers may have stopped ten in a row, but now surely it is Ange Postecoglou who will be tasting league glory in Scotland for the very first time.
This Old Firm had almost everything and was played at a frenetic pace, but ultimately the pressure of being the chasers got to the home side and their fans, as their hopes of retaining the title surely fizzled out today. Yet, they made the perfect start as Rangers came out flying and Ibrox roared its approval. Just two minutes into the game star man Aaron Ramsey was picked out by Calvin Bassey and the Welsh star finished first time into the back of Joe Hart’s net.
The home side had their tails up and created several more half chances, but just five minutes later, the visitors were level. Tom Rogic finally struck the ball home to silence Ibrox after Allan McGregor had denied two efforts from close range.
The game turned scrappy as Rogic wasted a good opening in the box before McGregor came up with a huge save. As Maeda escaped James Tavernier’s challenge, he came racing out to get a fingertip on the ball, before Rogic failed to turn home the rebound under pressure from Bassey.
Just before the break, Celtic completed the turnaround. The pendulum swung their way as Rangers failed to clear a set piece, and Cameron Carter-Vickers drove home with a left-footed strike that devastated the home fans. Rangers had made such a bright start but once Celtic had settled, they created several chances that meant they thoroughly deserved their slender lead at the break.
There was a delay to the start of the second half as Rangers fans threw broken glass onto the pitch, in the penalty area where Joe Hart was preparing to occupy. After a few minutes where the ground staff and Hart himself cleared the glass, we got back underway, but this was another sad mark on what should have been a celebration of Scottish football.
There was a clear sense of desperation in the air for the home side but for the most-part, Celtic were comfortable in their defensive set-up. Ryan Jack thought he had a claim for a penalty as Carter-Vickers blocked his cross, but the referee waved it away.
Two feisty Celtic challenges in a matter of seconds led to two yellow cards, before Fashion Sakala and Scott Arfield were introduced, in a gamble that saw goalscorer Ramsey withdrawn from his first Old Firm.
They turned up the pressure but Celtic held firm. Hart got down low to deny Sakala with a strong hand before substitute Liel Abada missed a wonderful chance seconds after coming on, as his first touch let him down when through on goal. Abada then had the chance to finish the tie as the ball dropped to him on the penalty spot and he drove a left-footed effort towards the roof of the net.
Somehow, McGregor, mid-dive, managed to get a fingertip on the ball to steer it over the bar. Kemar Roofe then wasted a good opportunity to equalise as he volleyed over a Goldson cross and that was as close as they came to getting something in the closing minutes.
Celtic celebrated with their 700 fans in the corner as Ibrox emptied. Six points clear at the top, the Scottish Premiership trophy will now surely be adorned in green come May.