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Rangers 2 - 0 Celtic
Bragging rights may be of secondary importance to title deeds in the Premiership’s grand scheme of things but nothing could diminish the delight of Rangers and their supporters as they comprehensively won the final showdown of the season.

Bragging rights may be of secondary importance to title deeds in the Premiership’s grand scheme of things but nothing could diminish the delight of Rangers and their supporters as they comprehensively won the final showdown of the season.

Goals from James Tavernier and Scott Arfield consigned Neil Lennon to his first defeat as Celtic’s interim manager and uncertainty remains over whether he will be handed the job on a permanent basis.

Lennon shouldn’t be judged on one slipshod performance alone and he remains on course to see out the task handed to him in February by completing Celtic’s quest for a third successive domestic treble.

For Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, this was a day which provided him with plenty of encouragement for the future but perhaps also a real sense of frustration that his players lacked the consistency this season to overhaul a Celtic side just six points ahead of them with one round of league fixtures remaining.

Finding a source of motivation is seldom an issue for either side in this rivalry, regardless of how much is resting on the outcome. But it was Gerrard’s men who certainly looked far more incentivised on this occasion as they sought to make a positive statement against the newly crowned eight-in-a-row champions.

Rangers snapped into challenges with vigour and urgency from the start, an approach typified by Ryan Kent when he closed down Mikael Lustig in the build up to the opening goal. As Kent robbed Lustig of possession, Michael Johnston was left with little option but to halt the on-loan Liverpool winger with a clear foul just outside the penalty area.

The free-kick, in a wide position on the left, didn’t seem to present an obvious opportunity for a direct attempt at goal. But the Celtic defence were totally deceived by Tavernier’s whipped delivery as the ball soared beyond the flat-footed Scott Bain and nestled in the left hand corner of the Celtic goalkeeper’s net.

Celtic were struggling to come to terms with a formation which had a curiously experimental look with Johnston and Jonny Hayes effectively operating as wing-backs while Oliver Burke joined Odsonne Edouard up front.

Lennon switched to a more orthodox back four midway through a first half in which Rangers would feel their general dominance should have brought further reward.

Defoe, again leading the line in preference to top scorer Alfredo Morelos, linked up smartly with Kent as Rangers created their next opening but the veteran striker’s shot was comfortably saved by Bain.

Celtic’s first glimpse of goal saw them fail to test Wes Foderingham, replacing the suspended Allan McGregor between the posts for Rangers, as Burke blazed an effort wildly off target.

Rangers were quickly back on the front foot but Defoe’s more than theatrical attempt to win a penalty kick, as he tumbled despite no contact from Kristoffer Ajer, might easily have earned him a caution.

As the hosts continued to control the tempo and direction of the contest, a clever corner routine involving Kent, Steven Davis and Arfield almost caught Celtic out but the final pass lacked accuracy.



Posted by voc1967 on Sunday 12 May 2019 - 21:45:32 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
 
 
 
 
 
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