51 mins: Callum McGregor’s corner is whipped invitingly to the far post – unfortunately, everyone had run towards the near post.
49 mins: Gerrard is up and appealing for a penalty as Tavernier collides with Sinclair in the area – but there was nothing in it, and Bobby Madden isn’t interested.
47 mins: Rangers get their first corner, from which Celtic clear and break – but Forrest is flagged offside, much to Neil Lennon’s chagrin.
As Paul O’Sullivan points out, it’s ironic that Morelos’ shirt sponsor – 32Red – proved to be prophetic.
“I agree that Gerrard can’t help his players passing to the opposition, but he picks the players and Morelos has a history of picking up ridiculous numbers of red cards,” says Adam Kline-Schoder.
“Playing him in this intense of a fixture was bound to backfire eventually. I know he’s probably Rangers’ best forward so how could you leave him out, but it’s not like that came completely out of the blue.”
Who’d be a football manager, eh?
Half time: Celtic 1-0 Rangers
Odsonne Edouard’s fine finish gives Celtic the lead, but the major talking point was Alfredo Morelos’ fifth red card of the season, for an elbow on Scott Brown. Celtic are in total control as a result. More soon.
47 mins: Another dangerous Tierney cross falls to Forrest, whose mishit effort almost lands at the feet of McGregor.
45 mins: The announcement that there will be three added minutes draws a roar from the home fans. Tierney’s cross is thunked away by Goldson.
44 mins: Rangers need to keep, or indeed find, their heads here. McCrorie clatters Boyata and is fortunate not to be booked.
43 mins: Candeias links up with Ryan Kent, who finds Jack – but he’s crowded out and as Celtic try to break away, Arfield drags McGregor back and is booked.
41 mins: Tierney feeds a low ball to Edouard, who can’t get it under control as he looks to turn in the penalty area.
39 mins: From the replays, it’s pretty clear Brown was hoping to get a reaction from Morelos, sidling up behind him and giving him a nudge. I bet he didn’t think it would work first time.
37 mins: Celtic look to turn the screw, with Tierney opting to smash a shot across goal from left – and McGregor has to dive at full stretch to turn it behind! Rangers have to get to half-time just one down…
35 mins: Tavernier’s cross towards Kent is cleared away. I feel a bit sorry for Steven Gerrard here (let me finish) – he’s come here with a game plan but he can’t help his players passing the ball to their opponents, or doing something as monumentally stupid as what Morelos has just done.
33 mins: The commentator has just nominated Morelos as the most short-tempered player in Old Firm history. That’s quite a claim.
RED CARD! Morelos is sent off!
Alfredo Morelos is shown a straight red card, for throwing his elbow into Scott Brown’s face. It’s undeniably a red card, Morelos completely losing the run of himself, not for the first time. Rangers are right up against it now…
30 mins: Ooh! Rangers nearly catch the hosts sleeping, Candeias pulling the ball back smartly across goal when the ball looked to have been out – but Celtic scramble it away…
29 mins: Edouard gets a booking for going overboard with the celebrations. A few Celtic fans spilled onto the pitch, but all seems to have calmed down again now.
From the free kick, Worrall is careless in possession again and Celtic break downfield, McGregor’s incisive through ball finding Edouard, who has support from Scott Brown. Edouard twists one way then the other, taking his time before lashing the ball past McGregor. What a finish!
GOAL! Celtic 1-0 Rangers (Edouard 27′)
Celtic take the lead from a devastating counter, finished quite brilliantly by Odsonne Edouard!
26 mins: Rangers clear and threaten to break away, before Hayes unceremoniously sends Kent to the turf in midfield. He’s booked by Bobby Madden.
25 mins: Rangers can’t really get out just now, with Morelos and McCrorie conceding free kicks in quick succession…
23 mins: Goldson again has to marshall Edouard away from goal – he’s keeping Rangers level at the minute – before Ross McCrorie gets back to clear, and then deals with the corner under pressure from Lustig.
22 mins: Eek, Joe Worrall gives the ball away cheaply and Celtic are onto the chance in a flash, with Edouard racing onto a through pass – but Goldson is back to pull off a clinical sliding tackle! From the corner, Hayes causes bother with three separate deliveries, but Rangers scramble away.
21 mins: Celtic corner which Hayes whips into the right area, but nobody in green and white can get a touch. Hayes throws his hands up in frustration.
19 mins: McGregor almost finds Edouard with a prod through the Rangers defence, while in midfield, Scott Brown and Scott Arfield tussle beefily off the ball.
18 mins: Celtic go down the left again, this time through Ajer’s long ball, which Goldson has to head clear. The hosts looking almost as lively as Rod Stewart’s footwear so far.
17 mins: Hayes gets beyond Tavernier down the left and fires in a low cross that Goldson, stretching out his boot, does well to turn clear of danger.
15 mins: Candeias concedes a free kick and Celtic work the ball from left to right, before Forrest find Ntcham on the edge of the box. He gets his shot on target, but it lacks the power to test McGregor.
14 mins: Rangers push forward, and Lustig has to drop in to head away Tavernier’s cross under pressure from Morelos.
12 mins: Tierney’s cross from the left takes a big deflection and loops towards McGregor, who again fails to gather, but gets both hands on it second time around.
11 mins: Rangers are set up to try and hit Celtic on the break, but Kent’s pass to Morelos is misjudged as they try and motor forward.
10 mins: Celtic build from the back, before Edouard is upended by Goldson. Jonny Hayes lifts the free kick into the box, but Goldson makes amends with the header clear.
6 mins: Ajer has to get patched up and change his shirt and shorts before he’s allowed back on. In the meantime, Rangers have the chance to swing a deep cross in from a free kick, but Boyata deals with it.
“Manchester United vs Leicester or Celtic vs Hamilton?” asks Ben Oates, in reference to Chris Sutton.
4mins: The corner is cleared but Edouard has a go from 20 yards, and McGregor spills his shot! Rangers clear for a corner, which is whipped in towards Ajer – but the goalkeeper gathers. The defender has a cut on his head, and the physios are on to take a look.
3 mins: Celtic’s first chance – and they should have scored! Tierney cuts inside and his cross is flicked into the path of Olivier Ntcham. From point-blank range, he can only volley at McGregor!
2 mins: Rangers hot-shot Alfredo Morelos – who is yet to score in an Old Firm game – thinks he’s in the clear from a long ball, but is flagged offside.
1 min: The two Ryans, Jack and Kent, combine early for Rangers, before Kent’s cross is turned away from danger.
Neil Lennon and Steven Gerrard exchange a handshake and a few friendly words. Speaking of words, Lennon has had a few on the Rangers manager in the last year:
Not long to go now, then. The sun is shining at Celtic Park, the weather a balmy 10 degrees. Let the summer begin…
Here’s the table as it stands. Celtic lead Rangers by 10 points, with eight games to go. Anything but an away win would surely leave Rangers too much to do to deny Celtic an eighth consecutive title.
Hearts’ win over Aberdeen on Sunday, coupled with Kilmarnock’s thrashing of Hamilton, means Killie are in the driving seat to finish third. Surely if Scotland are to jettison Alex McLeish, Steve Clarke should be top of their list?
Celtic: Bain, Lustig, Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Ntcham, Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Edouard, Hayes.
Subs: Toljan, Simunovic, Sinclair, Rogic, De Vries, Burke, Weah.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Halliday, Candeias, Arfield, Jack, McCrorie, Kent, Morelos.
Subs: Kamara, Defoe, Davis, Foderingham, Flanagan, Katic, Coulibaly.
Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland)
When Rangers inflicted Brendan Rodgers’ first Old Firm defeat in the last days of 2018, a title race for the ages looked a real possibility. The 1-0 win put Rangers level with their rivals at the top, with Aberdeen and Kilmarnock within three points.
It didn’t last. A win today would put Celtic 13 points clear, one hand on the trophy and as good as two Cup wins away from the historic ‘treble treble’. Rodgers, of course, is no longer around but the slight wobble under Neil Lennon – a draw and two last-ditch winners in their last three – has gone unpunished by Steven Gerrard’s side, who have remained consistently inconsistent.
The stakes are not as high as we might have hoped back in December, but an Old Firm game – even at this eye-wateringly early hour – is always worth tuning in for. Kick-off is at 12pm, BST.