A first Rangers win at Celtic Park since 2010 was notable only because it was so fully deserved. Ryan Kent and Nikola Katic were the matchwinners for Steven Gerrard’s team, who will now be firm in their belief that Celtic’s title winning run can be halted at eight.
Gerrard’s deployment of a team which was more cohesive than the opposition throughout is of great credit to the former Liverpool captain. Rangers’ only negative was the stoppage time red card issued to Alfredo Morelos, the striker having collected a second booking for a dive. Michael Beale, one of Gerrard’s assistants, was also dismissed in the ensuing melee.
Celtic’s ragged display was evident from the opening stages. And yet, the hosts should have taken the lead having been afforded a penalty. Katic, later a Rangers hero, hauled down Christopher Jullien inside the box but Allan McGregor was on hand to produce an excellent stop to deny Ryan Christie.
As Jullien had a header cleared from the line moments later, there was a sense that Celtic had woken from their slumber. Instead, Kent fired Rangers in front in superb fashion with a first-time shot via a post after Borna Barisic had played the ball infield.
Undeservedly, Celtic restored parity before the break. There wasn’t much danger in a long-range Callum McGregor shot but the ball flicked off the hand of Odsonne Edouard, with the deflection sufficient to leave Allan McGregor helpless. With the benefit of VAR, and given new handball rules, the goal wouldn’t have stood. Instead, Celtic celebrated.
Rangers started the second period in a similarly impressive fashion to the first. Morelos missed a terrific opportunity to edge the visitors ahead again before Katic struck. The centre-back producing a thumping header when meeting a corner from his Croatian compatriot, Borna Barisic.
Jullien had another header kicked from the Rangers line, this time by Steven Davis, as the hosts chased an equaliser. That, and a Boli Bolingoli shot aside there was never really a prevailing feeling that such salvation would arrive for Celtic.