Rangers 1-0 Celtic: Steven Gerrard becomes first Gers boss to beat Brendan Rodgers in Old Firm derby
Rangers produced a dominant display in Saturday’s Old Firm derby to end 2018 level on points with Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Brendan Rodgers had not lost in 12 matches against Rangers but saw that run come to an end at Ibrox at the hands of his former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, with Ryan Jack’s first half goal earning the hosts a deserved victory.
Rangers were handed a boost ahead of kick-off as Scott Arfield, Connor Goldson and Ryan Kent were all passed fit to start.
Celtic, meanwhile, fielded teenager Mikey Johnston in attack, with top scorer Odsonne Edouard only deemed fit enough to be named the bench alongside Kieran Tierney.
Gerrard had bemoaned his side’s lack of belief in their previous meeting but there was no hesitation this time as they pressurised Celtic into mistake after mistake.
Dedryck Boyata was first to wobble as a square pass to no one was almost intercepted by Daniel Candeias. Scott Brown was forced to stretch to save the day but referee John Beaton waved away the Portuguese winger’s penalty claim.
Craig Gordon then had to rescue Celtic twice as he kept out efforts from Candeias and Goldson.
Rangers were turning up the heat and Brown – who had a day to forget – looked relieved as he headed against his own crossbar from Halliday’s inswinging corner.
Boyata had to race back to block a Morelos strike after Filip Benkovic had allowed the Colombian to race free.
But Gerrard’s team got the goal they longed for after 31 minutes. Kent ran Mikael Lustig to the corner before sitting the Swede down with a brilliant turn. He found Jack with the cut back and the midfielder slotted past the wrong-footed Gordon with a nick off Brown’s shins.
While Ibrox erupted, Rodgers looked concerned. This was not how the Hoops boss had planned it and he could have done without losing both Lustig and Benkovic to injury at the break.
Kristoffer Ajer and Anthony Ralston were introduced but it was Boyata who again looked nervous within two minutes of the restart as he allowed Kent to nick possession and race clear. Gordon produced a vital block before Boyata got back on the line to keep out Arfield.
Gordon’s fingertip save kept out a Jack strike and worried by the continued flow of traffic coming at his team, Rodgers rolled the dice as he replaced Johnston with Edouard on the hour mark.
He thought Callum McGregor had levelled after 67 minutes, but the flag was already up as he slotted through his Gers namesake’s legs.
McGregor bailed out his team at the other end with a vital block when another Boyata blunder saw Morelos tee up Arfield.
Edouard had turned the game in Celtic’s favour on their last Govan visit back in March and his run almost handed the visitors their chance with five minutes left but Halliday’s brave block ensured Rangers clinched a precious win – their first over Celtic in the league since 2012.
Source: SportsLatest TS