Old Firm Derby

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Eduoard the difference as Celtic wins Old Firm Derby

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Celtic toppled Rangers 1-0 in the first Old Firm derby of the season on Sunday at the Ibrox Stadium, Neil Lennon out-foxing Steven Gerrard via Odsonne Eduoard.

In a match with as many fouls as shot attempts, the man Celtic supporters call “French Eddy” make the difference with a goal and a stoppage time assist of Jonny Hayes.

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Rangers’ Jordan Jones was sent off for a reckless sliding foul in the sixth minute of stoppage.

It was Rangers’ first loss of the season, leaving Gerrard’s men three points back of perfect Celtic after four match days.

And for Celtic boss Lennon, it was somehow… vindication? The dominant side of Scottish football clearly had a thorn stuck in its foot despite its consistent run of titles, probably due to a shortened Champions League campaign and the perceived uninspiring hire of Lennon to replace Brendan Rodgers:

“Myself, the board, the players have all been written off so early. But we don’t believe the noise. We don’t believe the hype. We’ve come here and performed an outstanding masterclass of how to play in a derby at Ibrox.”

The 21-year-old Eduoard scored his fifth goal in seven Old Firm Derbies to go with two assists. All of those matches were wins for the Bhoys. It’s safe to say he’s taken the mantle of rival star from Moussa Dembele, now of Lyon.

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was very good in the second half, giving his men a chance after the hosts’ early second half surge relented and saw Celtic on the front foot.

Gerrard lost a derby at the Ibrox for the first time, entering the day 2-2 with wins at home and losses at Celtic Park.

Gerrard takes blame as another Morelos red costs Rangers in derby

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Alfredo Morelos has 29 goals and 11 assists this season for Rangers, but it’ll be difficult to remember the campaign for anything other than a color other than his side’s blue or the green-and-white of his rivals Celtic.

Red, as in the color of the card shown to him for elbowing Scott Brown in the Old Firm Derby on Sunday, giving him five dismissals on the season and helping Celtic earn a 2-1 win over Steven Gerrard‘s feisty visitors.

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Morelos had just been clipped on the back of the leg during off-the-ball play, and threw his elbow back at Brown. The wily Celtic captain made the most of the contact and red was shown in the 31st minute.

Early reports say Rangers will fine Morelos a week’s wages, and Gerrard said he “can’t defend him anymore.”

But he’s also pretty angry with Brown, whose altercation with Ryan Kent after Celtic’s second goal helped up the venom in an already vicious rivalry.

From the BBC:

“You’re playing against a player who loves to antagonize. Morelos and Kent are both provoked. Celtic fans have the right to celebrate but to do it right in your face, Halliday has the right to protect his own people.

“The guy who antagonized it all from the beginning deserves to be punished as well. When you’re provoked, it’s only fair that both sides get punished in my view.

Morelos’ first red came in the 12th minute on Opening Day, a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen. Remarkably, he’s twice more been sent off against Aberdeen in league play plus Sunday’s red and another in the last match of Europa League qualifying.

Those are all big games. Rangers are understandably 1W-1D-2L in the four league matches, and have dropped four points in matches he missed through suspension.

Now Rangers are 13 points behind their Glasgow neighbors.

“The gap was already big and it’s even bigger now. The buck stops with me and I’m ready for that. We will move forward from this and try to finish the season as strong as we can.”

Celtic outlasts 10-man Rangers in instant classic

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Old Firm Derby matches always carry intrigue, but this one carried that from moment one to the final whistle.

James Forrest’s 86th minute goal rescued Neil Lennon’s Celtic from what would’ve been an embarrassing draw against their 10-man rivals Rangers at Celtic Park.

It would’ve been a banner day for Rangers under Steven Gerrard, who weathered a red card to Alfredo Morelos to find an equalizer.

Odsonne Eduoard had a goal and an assist for Celtic, who now lead the table by 13 points.

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The Bhoys, looking to avenge a first Old Firm loss in ages, went ahead through Edouard in the 27th minute and looked to be in fine shape once Morelos earned his fifth (!!!) red card of the season four minutes later when he threw an elbow into Scott Brown.

But absolutely shocking defense from Celtic allowed Rangers to equalize through Ryan Kent, who scored the winner at the Ibrox, with the visitors’ first shot attempt of the match.

The ending was insane. Eduoard set up Forrest for the winner, a composed finish given the atmosphere, but Rangers kept coming forward.

Celtic cleared a goal mouth scramble wide through Kristoffer Ajer, and goalkeeper Scott Bain rescued the ensuing corner.

It all kicked off after the match, with James Tavernier, Bain, Kent, and Scott Brown at the heart of an on-field, post-whistle shoving match.

Here’s the winner.

Old Firm back in focus as Celtic host Rangers this weekend

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Celtic clinched its 49th Scottish Premiership title with a 5-0 shellacking of rivals Rangers last season, and can come a lot closer to adding No. 50 with a home Old Firm Derby triumph on Sunday.

It’s the first time that Celtic will be seeking to avoid back-to-back losses to Rangers in ages after Steven Gerrard‘s hosts evened the season’s series with a 1-0 defeat of Celtic at the Ibrox Stadium on Dec. 29.

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Celtic have a 10-point lead on Rangers through 30 matches of league play, and are hoping to sew up an eighth-straight title as quickly as possible.

To take another step while getting revenge against Gerrard and Rangers would be special. This is especially true after Gerrard shot down the idea of Celtic Park being an impactful venue. From Sky Sports:

“I’ve never seen fans win a football match, it will be loud but it won’t be a lion’s den. A lion’s den is when four lions jump over a cage and you fear for your life. You have to thrive in this atmosphere. If any of my players don’t fancy it they are at the wrong club.”

On the other sideline is Neil Lennon, overseeing his first Old Firm match since 2012. Celtic has three wins and a draw since Lennon took the reins from Brendan Rodgers, who took the manager’s chair at Leicester City.

Lennon spent 2000-07 as a player with Celtic, winning five titles, and managed the club to two league crowns during 2010-14. He went 6W-2D-4L against Rangers as Celtic boss, and would love to turn his interim manager title into the full-time gig.

Oddly, he claims the job won’t hang on this match. From the Scottish Daily Record:

“It’ll be whole package over the three months I’ll have been in charge. There is a lot of speculation surrounding that, but that’s all it is. Speculation and conjecture and I’ve obviously taken no notice of it.”

Celtic extend Old Firm streak with win over Gerrard’s Rangers

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Steven Gerrard‘s first taste of the Old Firm Derby is quite sour.

Rangers were well-drilled in its visit to Celtic Park on Sunday, but Olivier Ntcham‘s 62nd minute goal extended Celtic’s unbeaten derby run into an eighth season.

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The match was full of fouls, hard tackles, and struck cross bars, as both teams threatened the goal but Celtic controlled play.

The win moves Celtic to 3-1 on the season, three points back of leaders Hearts. Rangers are now seven points back of first.

Ntcham is a former Man City player, and capped off a tremendous counter attack to put Celtic in front. Tom Rogic started the play on the edge of the Celtic area, and both Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest played parts in setting up Ntcham.

Ryan Christie dove to win a free kick from Connor Goldson on the edge of the 18, but Allan McGregor made an outstanding save to deny Chris Griffith’s solid effort.