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  • Derby delight for dominant Celts

    Derby delight for dominant Celts

    By: Tony Connelly on 23 Sep, 2017 14:05

  • Scottish Premiership
    Ibrox, Glasgow
    Saturday, September 23, 2017


    (Rogic 49, Griffiths 68)

    CELTIC reaffirmed their dominance in the Scottish Premiership as they completely outclassed city rivals Rangers on another memorable day at Ibrox.

    Second-half goals from Tom Rogic and Leigh Griffiths cemented the Hoops' lead at the top of the table and extended their remarkable domestic unbeaten run to 57 games.

    Rogic opened the scoring shortly after the break before Griffiths doubled Celtic’s lead midway through the half.

    Celtic dictated the game from start to finish and their dominance was perhaps not reflected in just the two-goal cushion. They enjoyed the vast majority of possession and created numerous opportunities which kept the Rangers defence busy all afternoon.

    Brendan Rodgers made three changes to the side that booked Celtic’s place in the League Cup semi-final in the midweek win over Dundee at Dens Park.

    Jozo Simunovic replaced Nir Bitton in defence as Celtic reverted to a back four, with Dedryck Boyaya in the centre and Kieran Tierney and Mikael Lustig taking up the full-back responsibilities.

    Olivier Ntcham and James Forrest made way for Stuart Armstrong, who started in the centre of midfield alongside Hoops captain Scott Brown.

    Rogic played behind Leigh Griffiths who led the Celtic attack, with Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair on the wings.

    Celtic piled the pressure on Rangers from the off, pressing the home side high up the pitch and subjecting them to wave after wave of attack throughout a first half in which Rangers saw little of the ball and were fortunate not to find themselves trailing.

    Celtic’s dominance was evident with all the Hoops forwards creating openings and ensuring goalkeeper Wes Foderingham was kept busy.

    Celtic started strongly and came close scoring within seconds of the kick-off. Rogic picked the ball up 30 yards and drove at the Rangers defence before letting off a shot from distance which flashed just over the crossbar.

    Roberts began causing problems for the home side early on and created a wonderful opportunity for Rogic just five minutes after the start. The tricky winger slipped an inch perfect pass through to Rogic inside the right-hand side of the box. He took the ball to the by-line and attempted to chip it beyond Foderingham at the near post but the keeper saved it.

    Griffiths looked disappointed not to have scored inside 10 minutes when his header at the back post from Kieran Tierney’s cross went over the crossbar.

    Rogic continued to ask questions of the Rangers defence as he linked up well with Roberts and Scott Sinclair in the Celtic attack. The Australian internationalist threaded a great pass through to Sinclair inside the box but his cutback was headed behind for a corner.

    Midway through the first-half, as the Hoops continued to boss proceedings, Griffiths almost opened the scoring when he latched on to headed clearance 35 yards out. The striker looked to curl the ball into the far corner from distance but Foderingham was able to save.

    Roberts' nimble footwork then left Lee Hodson looking helpless in the 33rd minute as the winger danced past the Rangers defender inside the box, but he couldn’t find a way past the keeper from a tight angle.

    Armstrong joined Rogic in tormenting the home defence and was handed a golden opportunity when Rogic dinked a fantastic ball into the path of the Scotland internationalist, but he stumbled inside the box at the vital moment. Moments later Armstrong fired off a low shot from the edge of box which was stopped by Foderingham.

    Celtic started the second-half from where they left off and increased the intensity and frequency of the onslaught on the Rangers’ goal.

    Brown was instrumental in the Celtic midfield and that allowed Armstrong to push forward and join in on the attack. 

    Within the first minute  of the second period, Rogic found Sinclair inside the box with a great through ball. The winger picked out Griffiths who would have found the back of the net had his shot not been deflected out for a corner.

    It would take Brendan Rodgers’ side less than five minutes of the second half to break the deadlock, however. The Rangers defence struggled to clear a corner and Roberts’ effort broke to Rogic inside the box. The Australian was clinical in his finishing as he fired the ball past Foderingham and high into the roof of the net.

    Moments later and Sinclair himself almost scored after cutting inside and fizzling a shot just wide of Foderingham’s far post.

    Craig Gordon had little to do throughout the course of the afternoon but when the Scotland keeper was called into action around the hour-mark, he pulled off a sublime save, showing lightening quick reactions to keep out a close range header from Alfredo Morelos.

    Celtic’s dominance soon began to be reflected in the scoreline, as 15 minutes after Rogic had opened the scoring, Griffiths joined him by bagging his sixth goal of the season. The Scotland striker timed his run perfectly as he collected a superb through ball from Roberts just inside the Rangers box before firing a low shot beyond the keeper.

    Celtic never relented in their pursuit of another goal as Griffiths was denied by Hodson, while Simunovic headed over from a Griffiths corner.

    The Celtic striker was then replaced by Moussa Dembele shortly before the end, but Lustig, substitute James Forrest and Armstrong all ahd efforts in the closing stages, ensuring Foderingham had no respite with as the clock ticked down.

    The victory continues Celtic’s domestic unbeaten run to a remarakble 57 matches, and the Hoops will now turn their attention to European duties as Brendan Rodgers and his squad prepare for their second group B game in the UEFA Champions League this season when they travel to Belgium to face Anderlecht on Wednesday.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Brown, Armstrong; Rogic (McGregor 65), Roberts (Forrest 71), Sinclair; Griffiths (Dembele 83)
    Not Used: De Vries, Bitton, Ntcham, Hayes

    RANGERS (4-5-1) Foderingham; Tavernier, Cardoso, Hodson, McCrorie; Jack, Dorrans, Windass (Herrera 75), Pena (Miller 52), Candeias (Nemane 86); Morelos
    Not Used: Alnwick, Gomes, Holt, Wilson

    Website Man of the Match: Stuart Armstrong

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