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.
Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers only spent three seasons together while the former played for the latter at Liverpool, but those 36 months were plenty memory — for reasons both good and bad.
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The duo — with a bit of help from Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, if memory serves well — nearly won the Premier League title in 2014, but the two reportedly had a falling-out over Gerrard’s role as he approached his 35th birthday the following season. In the end, Rodgers won out as Gerrard left his boyhood club for one an adventure with the LA Galaxy. Rodgers’ victory was short-lived, though, as he was fired five months later.
On Sunday, Gerrard and Rodgers will meet again — only this time, it’ll be as adversaries, each of them pacing the technical area for a Glaswegian giant (7 a.m. ET).
While much will understandably be made of the reunion, Gerrard insists there is no friction between himself and his former manager. He won’t treat Sunday’s showdown at Celtic Park any differently than he would the usual Old Firm derby, which never needs any additional spice added to it in the first place — quotes from the Guardian:
“I think everybody wants there to be a problem. I think they want a UFC match on the side. There’s no problem, [our relationship] is fine.
“I know a lot about him and his tactics. I know how he wants to play but Brendan is a clever coach and always has something up his sleeve. The reason why I respect him as a coach is that he always had something different. I think it would be very naive of me to expect what we see a lot of from the Celtic team. It wouldn’t surprise me if he tried something different to try and catch us cold. That’s what he would do as Liverpool manager.”
Rangers haven’t beaten Celtic in a league game since 2011. Gerrard and Co., have their work cut out for them, to say the least.
We’ve seen this before from Burnley, a star goalkeeper standing strong in keeping the Clarets in a match.
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This time, however, it was Joe Hart who helped under siege Burnley in one of a bevy of UEFA Europa League third round first legs on Thursday.
Istanbul Basaksehir 0-0 Burnley
Sean Dyche‘s men were out shot 16-2 at Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu, and could not find an away goal in Turkey.
Joe Hart made a strong Clarets debut between the sticks, and Burnley will hope for a win at Turf Moor next week to move into the next round of the tournament.
Rangers 3-1 NK Maribor
Steven Gerrard‘s men allowed an away goal when Mitja Viler answered Alfredo Morelos’ sixth minute opener, but a James Tavernier penalty joined Lassana Coulibay’s 86th minute marker in giving ‘Gers a healthy advantage after one leg.
Hibernian 0-0 Molde
USMNT midfielder Emerson Hyndman came off the bench for the final nine minutes one day after joining Hibs on loan from Bournemouth.
Pyunik 0-0 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Ufa 2-1 Progres Niederkorn
Alashkert 0-2 CFR Cluj
Hapoel Haifa 1-4 Atalanta
Spartaks Jurmala 0-1 Suduva
Apollon Limassol 4-0 Dinamo Brest
RB Leipzig 3-1 Universitatea Craiova
Trencin 4-0 Feyenoord
Dinamo Minsk 4-0 Zenit St. Petersburg
Hapoel Be’er Sheva 2-2 APOEL Nicosia
Ludogorets Razgrad 1-0 Zrinjski Mostar
Mariupol 1-3 Bordeaux
Sheriff Tiraspol 1-0 Valur Reykjavik
Sigma Olomouc 2-0 Kairat Almaty
Sturm Graz 0-2 AEK Larnaca
Torpedo Kutaisi 5-2 Kukesi
Jagiellonia Bialystok 0-1 Gent
CSKA Sofia 1-2 Copenhagen
Nordsjaelland 1-2 Partizan Belgrade
Besiktas 1-0 LASK
Genk 2-0 Lech Poznan
Olimpija Ljubljana 3-0 HJK Helsinki
Olympiakos 4-0 Luzern
Vitesse 0-1 Basel
Zorya Luhansk 1-1 Sporting Braga
Cork City 0-2 Rosenborg
Hajduk Split 0-0 Steaua Bucharest
Sarpsborg 1-1 HNK Rijeka
Spartak Subotica 0-2 Brondby
New Saints 0-2 Midtjylland
Legia Warsaw 1-2 F91 Dudelange
Slovan Bratislava 2-1 Rapid Vienna
Sevilla 1-0 Zalgiris
ABERDEEN, Scotland (AP) — Steven Gerrard was denied a win in his first Scottish league game as Rangers manager by an injury-time goal on Sunday.
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Aberdeen struck in the third minute of stoppage time to earn a 1-1 draw against Rangers on the opening weekend of the Scottish Premiership.
Gerrard, the Liverpool midfield great, is in his first senior managerial role and has already led the Glasgow club through two qualifying rounds of the Europa League.
He looked set for a successful start in the league when his team recovered from having Alfredo Morelos sent off early on to take the lead through James Tavernier’s penalty.
“We were magnificent,” Gerrard said. “We were very good with 11 men, and even better with 10. Aberdeen had no idea against us. For 93 minutes, it was perfect.”
Celtic, the big rival of Rangers, began the defense of its league title with a 3-1 win over Livingston on Saturday.
New manager Steven Gerrard has a long season ahead of him at Rangers.
The Scottish giants finished a disappointing 0-0 draw against Macedonian club FK Shkupi on the road Tuesday in Europa League qualification, and following the result, Gerrard did not hold back.
“There is definitely a base there for how we want to look away from home,” Gerrard said. “It’s a platform to build on. But I’m disappointed with us in possession for the first 30 minutes. I don’t think we passed the ball well enough, and throughout the game there was a serious lack of quality in the final third.”
Gerrard, in his first season as a manager, has yet to lose, beating FK Shkupi in the first leg 2-0 in the season’s first match. Rangers opens its Scottish Premier League season on August 5th against Aberdeen, while they begin the next Europa League qualifying round on July 26th.
“I’m a bit mixed right now,” Gerrard said. “We’re pleased with one side of the game but there is certainly a hell of a lot of work to do on the other side. Out of possession we were good, our shape was good. We were aggressive and I’m pleased with the clean sheet.”
Rangers will draw either Moldovan club Petrocub or Croatian side Osijek in the next Europa League round. To reach the group stage, there is still a third qualifying round to pass followed by the playoff round. Premier League side Burnley has also progressed to the second qualifying round and will play Scottish side Aberdeen in late July.