31 Dec 5 points of Old Firm order
Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair got the goals which handed Celtic their first win over Rangers at Ibrox in almost six years.
Here, PLZ Soccer looks at five things we learned from Saturday’s Old Firm match.
MIND THE GAP
Celtic are a much better team than Rangers with a bigger and stronger squad, which is why they are 19 points ahead at the top of the table with a game in hand. The Light Blues put up a decent fight in the Hogmanay encounter at Ibrox but there could have been no complaints if the scoreline was much more favourable towards the visitors, who dominated the majority of the game. Unless there is a huge injection of cash from somewhere, it is difficult to see how Mark Warburton closes that gap.
HOOPS STRIKING OPTIONS
The battle between Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele has been rumbling all season, with the latter appearing to be top dog in the eyes of Brendan Rodgers. After scoring a hat-trick in the 5-1 Premiership win over Rangers in September and the winner in the 1-0 Betfred Cup semi-final victory over the Light Blues at Hampden Park, the 20-year-old French striker was give the nod at Ibrox and after a quite start to the game levelled with a thunderous strike to take his tally to the season to 19. Had he not missed a sitter and struck the woodwork, the former Fulham player would have had another hat-trick. Griffiths could only watch from bench.
CASE FOR THE IBROX DEFENCE
The Light Blues rearguard is regarded as the weakest part of the Ibrox team. Skipper Lee Wallace was ruled out by injury while 37-year-old Clint Hill shrugged off a knock to take his place in a back three. And while the Govan side defended stoutly at times, there remained occasional moments of nerves and uncertainty which handed chances to the visitors, who attacked in waves at times in the second half.
OH WHAT AN ATMOSPHERE
Although there was little at stake in terms of the title race, the age-old rancour between the fans was evident in the first game between the two clubs at Ibrox in more than four years. The Celtic fans were in the mood for gloating as their side came from behind to win and they enjoyed their celebrations at the end. Rangers supporters, who had arrived in a defiant mood, were ecstatic early after Kenny Miller gave the home side the lead but struggled to get behind their team with conviction after the break as they sensed the points were on their way to Parkhead.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN
Always a fraught situation when respect is required before an Old Firm encounter. There was a minute’s silence in tribute to the fans who died in the Ibrox disaster in 1971 , following a match between the two Glasgow rivals. A few individuals – and it has to be stressed that it was only a few – broke the silence, which simply added to the tension already present inside the ground.