There’s not much worse for a Celtic fan than to lose an Old Firm derby on home soil. They had the ball to do something today, but the hosts just couldn’t find a response on the scoreboard to those goals from Goldson, who has etched himself into Rangers folklore today on one of the strangest of occasions. Glasgow will be blue tonight.
A Connor Goldson double means the spoils go to the visitors at Celtic Park as Rangers emerge triumphant against Celtic in the first Old Firm derby of the season. The centre-back’s first-half header and second-half poke downed the hopes of Neil Lennon’s hosts and brings their unbeaten record in the top-flight this term to an end – and hands Steven Gerrard’s side a four-point gap at the summit. At full-time, it finishes Celtic 0-2 Rangers.
90′ + 3′ FULL-TIME: CELTIC 0-2 RANGERS
90′ + 2′ Goldson rises to meet a Celtic cross close to his own line and sparks a Rangers counter as the hosts desperately back-pedal. It’s been an end-to-end encounter this, but the winners have more than earned their points.
90′ Arfield has played his part for Rangers today and Aribo takes his place. There will be three extra minutes to come.
88′ Tempers are getting a little feisty as Rangers hold the ball close to Celtic’s back-line through a corner. The clock continues to run down towards the end of 90 minutes.
86′ It will be the last act of Morelos today as he makes way for Itten in Rangers’ latest change.
85′ Duffy too is booked for his part in that clash.
85′ Now Morelos gets a booking for an altercation with Duffy, as the former pushes the latter off the ball in a robust challenge and the Brighton loanee responds by knocking him to the ground with a shove of his own.
84′ Turnbull also replaces Welsh for the hosts.
84′ Laxalt’s debut is at an end for Celtic and he makes way for Taylor.
83′ Time is ticking and Alfredo Morelos is continuing to make a nuisance of himself for Celtic. He snags a ball and cuts the legs out from a potential counter before it can really get going, to the Bhoys’ frustration.
81′ Oh, a chance! And what a chance! It’s the loveliest of through-balls to find Griffiths, and he dinks it around McGregor who comes off his line. The touch is too heavy though and by the time he can bring it back in towards goal, the keeper has scrambled back to get there and claim it.
79′ Just over 10 minutes to go. Celtic are going to need an Old Firm miracle to get a result out of this one, it seems. Rangers are holding the cards.
77′ That being said, Ajeti has been allowed to wander into the box in an attempt to latch onto a Laxalt delivery. Keeper McGregor has him covered however and the chance goes begging.
75′ Look away, Celtic fans – the Bhoys have not had a shot this half. That’s any shot, on or off-target. They’re bounding around for absolutely no gain on goal right now.
73′ Celtic are absolutely fuming – they think they should have had a penalty call. The referee is unmoved by Laxalt’s plea.
71′ It’s a cold Scottish day today but this pace has been played at a fiery temperature. There’s yet to be any frustrated boil-over of tensions – but this is the Old Firm. There may be fireworks to come.
69′ Laxalt lays a lovely delivery into the Rangers box that no player is able to latch onto for the hosts, and the visitors blast it back downfield.
67′ Griffiths too is on for the Bhoys, taking the spot of Klimala.
67′ Celtic make their second change now as Rogic replaces Ntcham.
66′ Excellent consecutive chances for Rangers – a slammed finish by Kent that deflects away for a corner, followed by a Barkas misread – come to nothing in the end. They could have been three goals to the good there.
64′ Celtic have had more possession and a better pass ratio than their rivals today. Yet, two moments from Goldson mean they have a mountain to climb in the final half-hour. Football is a funny old game.
62′ Jack is on for Barker as the visitors make a change, before they skim their set-piece wide of the mark and away from any lurking danger around the Celtic box.
61′ The cards are flowing freely now as Celtic captain Brown is shown a yellow for a rough challenge down the opposite end. Rangers will have a free-kick 30 yards out on the right flank.
60′ Klimala is absolutely bulldozed in midfield by Arfield now and the Rangers man becomes the first person to pick up a booking today.
58′ Steven Gerrard looks like Christmas has come early. As his former club Liverpool fight their Merseyside derby down the West Coast, his side are well on their way to proclaiming themselves kings of Glasgow for the foreseeable future.
56′ Nine minutes into the second half – exactly the same amount of time into the first half that he first found the net – and Goldson has just piled the problems on Celtic. They respond with a change as Ajeti replaces Elyounoussi.
54′ GOAL! CONNOR GOLDSON ONCE MORE FOR RANGERS! 2-0! Oh, that is a scrubby finish in a cluttered box, but a finish it is! Rangers work it well around the area from the set-piece and a threaded delivery finds its way to the defender a handful of yards away from the box. His first attempt is caught between the legs of two Celtic defenders, but it rebounds back into his path and allows him a second bite, rolled past a stationary Barkas. Double delight for the defender – and double the lead for the Gers.
52′ A fine tackle in the box from Ajer to deny Kent now and there will be a corner for Rangers as the ball trickles out of play.
50′ There’s been no changes at the break from either side but don’t be too surprised if Neil Lennon makes one sooner rather than later. His side are still chasing this match on the scoreboard.
48′ Another long delivery from Celtic cuts out Rangers’ midfield in its entirety to find Elyounoussi up front but the striker can only put a glancing header wayward in the box, which McGregor cleans up without complication.
46′ Steven Gerrard will have much to be happy about, but less so Neil Lennon. Both will be handing out two of the more important team talks of the season right about now.
Steven Gerrard will have much to be happy about, but less so Neil Lennon. Both will be handing out two of the more important team talks of the season right about now.
A Connor Goldson header inside the first 10 minutes is the difference in what has been a high-energy encounter between Celtic and Rangers in the Scottish Premier League – or in other words, an Old Firm derby through and through. The visitors have their noses in front but they won’t be getting too comfortable – and they are perhaps lucky to not have Alfredo Morelos in the book for good measure. At half-time, it’s Celtic 0-1 Rangers.
45′ + 1′ HALF-TIME: CELTIC 0-1 RANGERS
45′ There’s just the one added minute at Celtic Park before the break here.
43′ Laxalt is looking a little more settled now on the wing for Celtic, but Rangers have identified him as a potential weak link on debut here. He spent part of last year at Torino, and has swapped Italy for Scotland this season.
41′ The referee hands another free-kick to Celtic, this time in the centre-circle, and again words are exchanged between Brown and Morelos. The Rangers man follows it up with an elbow-leading challenge down the other end of the pitch he is lucky to escape from with no card.
39′ There’s a bit of a niggle going on between Morelos and Brown right now that could boil over into something. The former concedes a free-kick he is furious about some 40 yards or so clear of the Rangers box, and though the ultimate delivery results in an offside flag, he appears to then clip the Celtic man around the ear in the box, unnoticed by the officials.
37′ The tempo of this match isn’t off the charts, but neither side is playing with what could be called a reserved air any more. Moves break from left to right as both teams counter smartly every time they find their box threatened.
35′ An excellent take from Rangers keeper McGregor between the posts now as he plucks out a dangerous cross hurtling towards a gaggle of Bhoys players who had broken free of the visitors’ defensive line.
33′ The set-piece beats the wall but hits a header from Brown who redeems himself with a sturdy clearance.
32′ A wayward touch from Brown spills to Rangers just outside the Celtic box and the Gers pick up a free-kick for an apparent handball a moment later. It’s going to be a delivery from over 30 yards out…
30′ Morelos makes a dramatic swan dive as a Rangers free-kick flies into the box and the referee promptly hands a second free-kick to the hosts instead. No card however and the striker isn’t given a stern word either.
28′ Rangers think they have a shout for a free-kick way down the touchline near the Celtic box but the referee waves them away. A throw comes the way of the visitors instead a moment later and Brown wastes no time in nudging it away.
26′ Celtic are shading possession now, and are looking perhaps the more promising side going forward. They have to attack though, of course – and Rangers will look to exploit that when the wing-backs such as Laxalt come too far forward.
24′ This has been said so many times in the last few months, but it really is eerie without the roar of a crowd, isn’t it? You can hear the screams, the shouts and the exertions these two sides are pouring into each play, and it doesn’t even feel like they’ve hit top gear yet.
22′ Celtic pick up a corner now and McGregor whips it in – but before anyone can get a touch on it, a free-kick is handed to Rangers for a shove in the box by Duffy.
19′ Rangers snap up the first corner of the game and the visitors flood the box with blue shirts. Celtic manage to bring it away through an impressively twisty-turn run from Elyounoussi and almost tee up a golden chance down the other end before losing it with the final ball.
17′ Neither side has been shy to have a crack from somewhere so far, with seven shots inside the first 20 minutes of this match.
15′ Elyounoussi! It’s a half-chance at best as Celtic beat out the Rangers midfield with a long ball from the back, to find the striker close to the edge of the opposition box. He tries to loop the ball over the last man and the keeper with the outside of his boot and sends it off in the wrong direction entirely.
13′ Now Kent, playing off the right wing, is allowed to wander and he gets around two Celtic defenders before cutting back into the box and cracking an effort towards goal. Barkas has it covered but there’s a little fumble that has hearts in mouths for a moment.
11′ Neil Lennon will have to rally his side now and in quick fashion too. Rangers have played one game more than them in the top-flight this season but defeat for the hosts would put a four-point gap between them.
9′ GOAL! CONNOR GOLDSON FOR RANGERS! 1-0! First blood to the visitors at Celtic Park and Neil Lennon will be furious with how his side switched off there. A free-kick just under 30 yards out on the right edge is swung in by Tavernier and the centre-back beats out his marker by a fine margin, to skim a header past Barkas and into the bottom-left corner. Steven Gerrard is delighted on the touchline. Rangers lead.
9′ It is a lovely ball from Tavernier that might have had a chance of confounding the keeper had it not taken a touch from Goldson. A rich assist from the Rangers captain to get the first goal of the game.
7′ Now the visitors go the length of the field in response! This time Barker is able to cross smartly into the box and though it passes everyone by, Barisic is there to latch on at the far side, though his finish is whistled well over the crossbar.
6′ What a break from the hosts! Arfield is flagged for a soft foul inside Celtic’s half and they respond with a quick flat free-kick that releases McGregor down the left side. His square delivery gets mixed up around the feet of several players in the end and Rangers survive the assault on their defences.
4′ Now the hosts stroke it downfield themselves, looking to play the overlap on the left wing. Barker heads off an initial delivery but Celtic are undeterred and retain the ball around the middle of the park.
2′ It’s not quite the start Diego Laxalt will have wanted to his Celtic life as he concedes a free-kick on his flank outside of his own box. The delivery in from Rangers is headed out of the immediate danger zone but the visitors win a throw-in to keep some sustained pressure on the penalty area before they are pushed back to halfway.
1′ After players from both sides have taken the customary knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, we are underway in this Old Firm derby!
The teams are out at Celtic Park and we’re moments away from kick-off.
The pair met three times last season, and it was Celtic who prevailed when it mattered; they won the first Old Firm league clash of the season, and then came up trumps in the Scottish League Cup Final thanks to a Christopher Jullien effort in December. But the Gers got their own back in their next meeting a few weeks later – which means this game remains ripe for the taking.
Subs: Calvin Bassey, Ianis Hagi, Ryan Jack, Jermain Defoe, Cedric Itten, Joe Aribo, Jordan Jones, Leon Balogun, Jon McLaughlin.
RANGERS (4-3-3): Allan McGregor; James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Filip Helander, Borna Barisic; Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield; Brandon Barker, Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent.
Subs: Greg Taylor, Leigh Griffiths, Albian Ajeti, Ismaila Soro, David Turnbull, Tom Rogic, Scott Bain, Ewan Henderson, Anthony Ralston.
CELTIC (3-5-2): Vasilis Barkas; Shane Duffy, Kristoffer Ajer, Stephen Welsh; Jeremie Frimpong, Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, Callum McGregor, Diego Laxalt; Mohamed Elyounoussi, Patryk Klimala.
Five players make their Old Firm debuts for the hosts today, but the most eye-catching name is arguably that of Milan loanee Diego Laxalt. The Uruguay international will play his first game for the club since he arrived from Italy earlier this month. Stephen Welsh also makes a surprise start, while for Rangers, Ryan Kent and Brandon Barker form a potentially dangerous front three either side of Alfredo Morelos.
But don’t let the lack of a live audience fool anyone – this is a match both teams will have earmarked with a big red circle on their calendars when the fixture lists landed. And the build-up has been exactly what any punter would have wanted; unbeaten domestic runs and just a point to separate Steven Gerrard’s league-leading Gers and Neil Lennon’s second-place Bhoys. Both sides will head into the Europa League next week – but neither will have anything but victory over their greatest enemies on their mind right now.
It’s going to be one of the oddest spectacles of this pandemic-blighted year yet – a full-blooded cross-city encounter between these greatest of rivals, played out amid the empty echo of a 60,000-plus stadium. 2020 has served up some strange sights when it has come to sport behind closed doors, but there will not be anything quite as stark in Scotland as these two titans bellowing at each other with the absence of a roaring crowd.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 2020-21 Scottish Premier League as Celtic and Rangers square off for the first Old Firm derby of the season in a table-topping clash at Celtic Park in Glasgow.