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Celtic beat Rangers 2-1 at Parkhead to consolidate their place at the top of the cinch Premiership.

Brilliant strikes from Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo Furuhashi put the hosts into a commanding position which seemed to be strengthened by Leon Balogun’s red card.

However, James Tavernier’s superb free-kick sparked a late fightback from Rangers in an exciting finale.

Here are five things we learned from the final Glasgow derby of 2023.

Don’t write off Kyogo Furuhashi

The Japan striker had only scored twice in his previous 14 matches but continued his impressive record against Rangers when he swept a magnificent effort into the top corner from 22 yards. The pass looked on but he showed he had lost none of his confidence as he netted his seventh goal in his last six starts in the derby.

Maik Nawrocki was ready

The Polish centre-back had not featured at all since suffering a hamstring injury in the third game of the season. But the summer signing was called into action in the 35th minute after Stephen Welsh damaged a shoulder while deputising for the injured Cameron Carter-Vickers. Nawrocki delivered an excellent display as he made some key interventions.

VAR from perfect communication

The half-time talking point was a penalty claim for Rangers after Alistair Johnston clearly handballed and video assistant referee Willie Collum checked the incident without calling Nick Walsh to his monitor. It was well into the second half before word got to broadcasters Sky Sports that Abdallah Sima was offside in the build-up to the incident. The communication to fans and armchair viewers should be a lot clearer.

Paulo Bernardo settles in

Celtic v Rangers
Paulo Bernardo’s goal sparked bedlam (Jane Barlow/PA)

The on-loan Benfica midfielder prodded home his first goal for Celtic on Boxing Day at Dundee but his second was far more memorable. The 21-year-old had already come close twice before producing brilliant technique to arrow a volley home. Bernardo appears to be adapting to Scottish football after getting most of his early appearances for Celtic in the Champions League.

Plenty to work with for Philippe Clement

Celtic v Rangers
Rangers manager Philippe Clement (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Rangers manager pointed out his side had more shots than their hosts and ultimately lost to a “world-class” strike from Furuhashi, after the first defeat of his Ibrox reign. The way his side pushed Celtic with 10 men and the imminent arrival of Wolves forward Fabio Silva will give him plenty of encouragement. Rangers can move two points behind Celtic by winning their two games in hand and the title race will very much be on if they immediately rediscover their recent form.