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  • Derby demolition for five-star Celts

    Derby demolition for five-star Celts

    By: Mark Henderson on 29 Apr, 2017 14:01

  • Scottish Premiership
    Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
    Saturday, April 29, 2017

    (Miller 81)

    (Sinclair 7 pen., Griffiths 18, McGregor 52, Boyata 66, Lustig 87)

    CELTIC turned on the style to run riot against Rangers on a memorable day at Ibrox, completely outclassing their city rivals 5-1 to extend their domestic unbeaten run since the start of the season to a remarkable 42 matches.

    Scott Sinclair put the six-in-a-row champions in the driving seat in the seventh minute from the penalty spot after Patrick Roberts had been felled in the box by Myles Beerman.

    A thunderous strike from Leigh Griffiths soon doubled the advantage as the Hoops made all the running and Brendan Rodgers’ side could have been out of sight at the interval as they fashioned chance after chance.

    It mattered little, however, as Celtic maintained their control after the restart. Callum McGregor added a third with an accurate finish and Dedyrck Boyata’s thumping header from Griffiths' free-kick sent the travelling support into ecstasy.  

    Kenny Miller pulled a goal back for the home side but, fittingly, the last word went to Celtic as Mikael Lustig waltzed his way through the beleaguered Rangers defence and slotted home.  

    Griffiths came into starting XI in place of the injured Moussa Dembele in the only change from the team that convincingly beat the Ibrox side 2-0 in the Scottish Cup semi-final last weekend.

    And Celtic looked intent on continuing on from their dominant display at Hampden, starting with purpose and urgency and within two minutes they had carved open the home defence.

    A slick passing move down the inside left channel saw Sinclair back-heel the ball to the onrushing McGregor, who drove into the box and saw his low shot blocked by a last-ditch block from Clint Hill, with Griffiths unmarked in the middle and screaming for the pass.

    Josh Windass replied for the hosts with a curling shot flew wide, but the Hoops soon resumed their offensive and opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

    As Roberts darted along the edge of the box, he was sent tumbling by Beerman.  After consulting with his officials, referee John Beaton pointed the spot and, Sinclair, as he had done at Hampden, coolly converted from 12 yards, this time sending Wes Foderingham the wrong way and sparking delirium in the Broomloan Stand.

    It was proving to be an enjoyable afternoon for the travelling support as they watched the Hoops boss possession and play some scintillating football at the home of their city rivals.

    In the 18th minute, Celtic doubled their advantage in stunning style. McGregor sent Griffiths scampering clear down the left and the striker took aim and lashed an unstoppable rocket into the top corner from just inside the box. Cue bedlam in the away end.

    The one-way traffic continued as the Hoops threatened to run riot, cutting open their opponents at will, and only a mix of last-gasp defending missed opportunities prevented them from inflicting further punishment.

    Following a wonderfully-weighted pass from Lustig, Sinclair volleyed wide but the offside flag was raised in any event.

    Sinclair was presented with an even better chance moments later when Griffiths’ curling shot cannoned off the bar and dropped for him in the box but he couldn’t steer the rebound on target.

    With Tierney having acres of space to roam forward down the left, Sinclair was able to drift inside and pick up some brilliant positions.

    And the 28-year-old could easily have had a hat-trick as he spurned another terrific chance just before the half-hour mark after being found in acres of space at the back post from Griffiths’ low centre.

    Roberts was next to try his luck, shooting over from 25 yards as the champions remained in complete control of proceedings.

    And from Griffiths’ inviting delivery, Clint Hill was forced into a hurried headed clearance that could have easily ended up in his own net.

    After McGregor’s dangerous delivery had been hacked clear, Miller belatedly fired wide at the other end for the hosts on the stroke of half-time.

    It had been a completely one-sided opening 45 minutes and the pattern continued as the second half got underway, with McGregor sliding in to connect with Armstrong’s ball across goal, forcing Foderingham into a smart save.

    Playing with his usual sense of adventure, Tierney then picked out Griffiths in the middle but the hit-man was unable to generate enough power with his first-time effort to trouble Foderingham.

    Goal number three soon arrived. The outstanding Roberts was first to a loose ball and fed McGregor, who took his time before drilling into the corner.

    Griffiths had the ball in the net from an acute angle only it to be ruled for offside and the Scotland internationalist also fired over from a free-kick as the onslaught continued on the Rangers goal.

    Just before the midway point of the half, the Ibrox side’s resistance crumbled again. After the Bhoys had won a free-kick on the right, Griffiths swung the set-piece into the box and Boyata bulleted a header home.    

    Martyn Waghorn headed wide for Rangers in their best chance of the game, before Armstrong came within inches of finding the net with a terrific effort from the edge of the box.

    Miller fired home a consolation for Pedro Caixinha’s side after collecting a return pass from Joe Garner but there was still time for Celtic to fashion a fifth, Lustig dancing past Danny Wilson’s challenge and slotting expertly into the corner to cap off a sensational showing from the champions and an unforgettable day for the club’s supporters.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Brown (Kouassi 90) Armstrong (Rogic 77); Roberts (Forrest72), McGregor, Sinclair; Griffiths
    Not Used: De Vries, Bitton, Gamboa, Sviatchenko,

    RANGERS (4-2-3-1) Foderingham; Tavernier, Hill, Wilson, Beerman; Hyndman (Garner 57), Holt, Windass; Miller, Waghorn, Dodoo (Halliday 46)
    Not Used: Alnwick, McKay, Forrester, Bates, O’Halloran

    Website Man of the Match: Callum McGregor

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