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Ever the villain, Celtic’s Brown preens after Old Firm Derby

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Scott Brown is one of the top villains in the world of football.

From his hard-edged play to his sharp tongue — not to mention his famous celebration in front of El-Hadji Diouf — the longtime Celtic midfielder does not shy away from drama.

[ RECAP: Rangers 2-3 Celtic ]

Few moments carry more of that than those within an Old Firm Derby, and Celtic has not lost one outside of penalties in 12 outings.

That continued with an outstanding display on Sunday, with Brown assisting the second of Celtic’s two equalizers before the 10-man Bhoys won 3-2 at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.

Brown then gleefully entertained microphones (from the BBC):

“We’ve come here four times and won four games, so we believe we can win here all the time now.

“They did a lot of talking beforehand – we stayed quiet. We usually do our talking on the park.”

Clearly cognizant that he was talking — there’s an adverb usually there — Brown had no problems antagonizing Rangers and his detractors. He even celebrated on the pitch sans shirt and avec sunglasses.

Manager Brendan Rodgers didn’t shy away from a confident reply to the win, either, saying:

“There was a lot of noise before the game, but that’s natural – they’ve been on a good run and at home, thinking they could get the victory. But I think the players today showed their quality and that real champion mentality.”

For Rangers there’s little comfort in knowing they are closing the gap on their rivals after a long drop out of the top flight and a quick battle back, but Sunday’s match was a thriller. One day, celebrations will be sweet on a day Glasgow turns blue.

10-man Celtic wins Old Firm thriller at Rangers (video)

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Odsonne Edouard’s second-half goal defied a Celtic red card as the 10-man visitors claimed all three Old Firm Derby points with a 3-2 comeback win over Rangers on Sunday at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.

Celtic is unbeaten over 90 minutes in 12-straight against their Old Firm rivals, winning eight times including five at the Ibrox. Rangers won a League Cup match in penalty kicks.

Rangers led 1-0 and 2-1 through Josh Windass and Daniel Daneias, but Celtic found answers through Tom Rogic and Moussa Dembele before halftime.

Jozo Šimunović was sent off with 33 minutes to play, but Celtic found its winner and went nine points clear of their historic rivals with a match-in-hand. Rangers remain second, five points ahead of Aberdeen.

[ MORE: Fiorentina salutes Astori ]

An awful giveaway from Dedryck Boyata allowed Windass to put Rangers ahead after three minutes.

But the champs answered through Rogic’s classy finish to level the score in the 10th.

That wasn’t it for the insane stanza, and Rangers capitalized on sloppy Boyata defending to retake the lead through Daneias.

But ‘Gers killer Dembele got on the end of a Scott Brown long ball to have it 2-2 at the break.

Šimunović was shown a red card by referee Willie Collum in the 57th minute, a high elbow ending his day and putting the visitors in a bad place.

Yet, somehow, the reigning champions found the next goal through Edouard, set up by Dembele and scoring from just inside the 18.

Europa wrap: Arsenal, Atleti, Celtic on top

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There wasn’t a single nil-nil to be found as the Europa League returned Thursday with its Round of 32.

[ RECAP: Ostersunds 0-3 Arsenal ]

Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal won, as did a number of big names, but several names — Zenit and Napoli among them — slid behind the 8-ball with first leg setbacks.

[ RECAP: BVB 3-2 Atalanta ]

Copenhagen 1-4 Atletico Madrid

The Danish hosts struck first, but the lead didn’t last for long as Atletico Madrid hung a quartet of away goals on Copenhagen.

Viktor Fischer put Copenhagen up after just 15 mintues, but it was level six minutes later through Saul Niguez. By the time all was said and done, Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann, and substitute Vitolo had scored to complete the blowout.

Celtic 1-0 Zenit Saint-Petersburg

Callum McGregor was set-up by Chelsea loanee Charly Musonda as the Bhoys crucially held Zenit without a goal ahead of the return leg in Russia.

Napoli 1-2 RB Leipzig

The Serie A title contenders are having a rough time in Europe this season, now down a goal with two away goals conceded to RB Leipzig before next week’s second leg in Germany.

Adam Ounas put Napoli ahead early in the second half, but Timo Werner equalized after the hour mark and Bruma made it 2-1 with 16 minutes to play in Italy.

[ MORE: Wenger, Mkhi on Arsenal win ]

Red Star Belgrade 0-0 CSKA Moscow — Tuesday
Ostersunds 0-3 Arsenal
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Atalanta
Astana 1-3 Sporting Lisbon
Ludogorets Razgrad 0-3 AC Milan
Marseille 3-0 Sporting Braga
Nice 2-3 Lokomotiv Moscow
Real Sociedad 2-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Spartak Moscow 1-3 Athletic Bilbao
AEK Athens 1-1 Dynamo Kiev
Steaua Bucharest 1-0 Lazio
Lyon 3-1 Villarreal
Partizan Belgrade 1-1 Viktoria Plzen

Rodgers: Point deserved for Celtic, Rangers in Old Firm stalemate

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Rangers came close, but the Glaswegian visitors at Celtic Park saw their record of winless performances in the Old Firm Derby extend to 11 in a scoreless draw on Saturday.

Scottish leaders Celtic paced the first half, while Rangers were thwarted by a pair of terrific Craig Gordon saves in the second frame of the match.

[ MORE: Mourinho hits out at City ]

Celtic keeps its 11-point edge on third-place Rangers, while Aberdeen can close to within six points of the leaders with a win on Saturday.

Here’s what Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers admitted after the home stalemate.

“The longer it goes on you give oxygen to the other team but like I say they had one or two chances second. One really good chance where Craig Gordon makes an unbelievable save so for us I’ve seen it over many years in these games that as the home team you can end up losing it 1-0 so for us to keep another clean sheet in our ninth game of the month and there’s probably a bit of tiredness in the performance as well then I can only give credit to the players. It was a brilliant atmosphere today and like I say, a point was probably deserved for both teams.”

Old Firm: Rangers look for first win in last 11 derbies

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Oh, the Old Firm Derby has a way of bringing out the quotes.

Celtic meet Rangers for the second of three league meetings on Saturday at Celtic Park, where the league leading Bhoys will put their 11-point lead on Rangers on the line.

[ MORE: Everton aims for Tosun ]

More than, though, improved Gers will be aiming to get their first win over Celtic in 11 tries — eight losses, two draws — dating back to before their insolvency led to dismissal from the top flight.

Even the keepers are proffering strong words. Here’s Celtic backstop Craig Gordon, admitting the need to play on the edge in order to play with style:

“You have to fight for your right to play football. We know we have to go in there and be strong and physical. That’s what a derby game is always going to entail. We always have to be ready to face that and to play football and let our qualities come through because that’s how we’re going to win the game.

Rangers beat Motherwell on Wednesday to stem a losing streak at two, while Celtic has won three-straight — all clean sheets — since Hearts ended their domestic unbeaten run at 69 matches.

Rangers interim boss Graeme Murty said, “We always have a point to prove against Celtic, not just this game. It is the game, it is the Old Firm derby, it is one of the biggest and best games in the world so we have to, anytime that game comes around, be ready to be at our top level. Let’s not talk about what they’re doing, past history or this year, let’s just acknowledge it for one of the biggest games in the football calendar full stop.”