Rangers became only the Second team this season to stop Celtic ending a league match with 3 points. Murty took his men to Celtic Park with a game plan and it came to fruition.
Prior to the match many pundits had said it was going to be a case of how many? Rather than a competitive Old Firm derby.
Rangers however hadn’t read that script and went about their business effectively.
Celtic where looking to extend their winning run against their fiercest rivals and victory today would have taken it to 4 wins from 4 this season.
The match started as every Old Firm match has started this season it was very cagey, Celtic doing their usual and looking to dominate the football where as Rangers have adopted this counter attack style against Celtic this season so it was stuck to what you know from both managers.
The first real chance of the game fell to Martin Waghorn he got himself onto the end of a Kenny Miller knock down and found him self one on one with Gordon. He should have taken one more touch and then stuck at goal but he to be fair to him got a decent enough shot away but Gordon showed the thousands around the world watching that he was worth every single penny in that new contract. He charges out almost Schimachel esk and makes an absolute wonderful save.
The match was very much like the last Old Firm at Ibrox where when push came to shove Rangers started the better of the sides but this time it was to be Celtic who got their noses in front.
Good initial work from Forrest on the right hand side he then cuts it back to Stuart Armstrong and he rattled the ball past the helpless Foderingham.
Armstrong was the main man for Celtic today he oozed class when his other team mates where struggling to get themselves out of first gear. Prior to his sublime strike he had already forced Foderingham into a great stop as the Englishman had to tip his shot onto the post.
The Scotland squad is announced tomorrow and surely to God Armstrong is the first name that Strachan puts on his piece of paper, he’s quite some distance the most inform player Scotland has at their disposal right now and if Celtic are ever looking at a future replacement for Brown as captain then they have a ready made replacement in Armstrong.
As much as Rangers had started the game very well after that Waghorn miss they fell out it for a while they became flat at points and had little effectiveness on the flanks McKay in particular was very quiet so when Armstrong scored it was to come as no surprise for the spectators in the stadium.
So at this point Celtic have scored there’s 10 mins to half time and it really should have been good night Vienna.
The form that the home side where in then you couldn’t blame even the most wary of Celtic fans for sticking on a 3 or a 4 nil on their bet slips.
The half was to pass by though and Rangers needed a big team talk to get things going again ..
Murty sent his men out earlier than normal as they awaited the arrival of the Champions. But the second half was to be more than just football it was a sheer battle of wills and who wanted this more.
Rangers came out and went full steam ahead where as Celtic looked content with the one nil.
Celtic played some lovely football at points it was very much pleasing on the eye as it went from left to right but the surprising thing was Celtics star men of this season Dembele and Sinclair would have been better staying in the house today, Celtic would spring the ball into Sinclair and he’d quickly be surrounded by 3 Rangers players, at no point was he allowed to cut inside onto his right foot and he looked a frustrated figure at times. He did have some nice touches and played a few cute passes in between the lines but Hill and a Wilson seemed to have matters under control.
Dembele was even more of a shock when it came to his performance, the Frenchman showed good strength when up against the Rangers centrebacks and he found himself with time in the box but his decision making seemed abit off and he squandered the opportunities that came his way. To be fair to him later on in the second half he forced a good save from the Rangers keeper but apart from that it was average at best from the star man.
As the second half went on Rangers grew in confidence again, McKay was replaced in fact when he was subbed I forgot he was even on he had that much impact on the game.
Rangers really had to go for it as you might as well lose 2-0 and go for it than accept the 1-0 defeat. The turning point in the game though was Armstrongs removal from proceedings, he had bossed the midfield turning up absolute everywhere on that pitch but he had an issue with his calf and was replaced. This meant for Rangers thy had a chance to stamp authority on the gaps now left by Armstrong and they did.
Forrester and O’Halloran were added to the Rangers front line and they went in search of a equaliser.
Holt would have a wayward shot over the bar and then a curler past the far post and Tavernier hit a free kick that was to put it politely forgetful. But it was to be Rangers veteran to get them back into the game, great initial work from Tavernier played in Hyndman, who hit a shot that forced a great save from Gordon but the Scottish International could only parry it out into the 6 yard box and Clint Hill was first to react and he knocked the ball over the line.
The Rangers fans went absolutely ballistic in the corner and the Rangers players rushed towards their travelling support to share their jubilation.
The drama wasn’t over just yet, Mr goals himself Leigh Griffiths manages to get himself in front of Hill and a last ditch tackle from the veteran defender was enough to knock the ball away from Griffiths and end the threat. Looking back at the replays though it could have easily been a penalty however as Hill desperately lunges for the ball and although he does get a stud to it he also clips Griffiths on way to faintly touching the ball.
Bobby Madden brought the match to a hault and it was a win win for both teams Celtic remained unbeaten and Rangers proved that they aren’t the wash overs the media had made them out to be.