Celtic deliver ‘catch us if you can’ message to Rangers and Scottish football

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Highlights: Rangers zero-2 Celtic

Sunday morning, the execute-as a lot as a mouth-watering Ancient Company derby practically at a climax, hundreds believed – myself integrated – this is able to seemingly well be Rangers’ opportunity to strike a psychological blow to Celtic’s iron grip on the Scottish Premiership title.

Each facet had begun the season smartly domestically, nevertheless Celtic’s Champions League exit to Cluj had resulted in supporters and pundits questioning Neil Lennon’s credentials to lead the club to the hallowed ninth and Tenth consecutive league titles.

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers regarded to have sharpened up defensively from final season and, having safely negotiated their method to the Europa League community stage, were high in self perception going into a fixture they had very easily received at house within the previous campaign.

Like a flash ahead to fleshy-time at Ibrox and the parable had modified dramatically.

Celtic had bullied the challengers, suffocating their midfield, ravenous their assault of present and carving birth their defence with ruthless precision.

Neil Lennon whooped with joy down the lens of the tv camera as the final whistle sounded and then vented his disdain for folks who had wondered his and his players’ perceived shortcomings.

And why no longer? With this level to, he had earned the exact to let off some steam.

Underdogs to swaggering muscle flexers

Scott Brown led by example as Rangers and Alfredo Morelos did now not negate at Ibrox

Lennon’s issue is a queer one. Supporters esteem him for all that he has finished for Celtic as a player and a manager and but many wondered his reappointment and howled their disapproval as the club crashed out of the Champions League qualifiers for a second successive season.

Sunday’s victory may maybe seemingly well also have brought a few of those doubters inspire on board, nevertheless either method, the Celtic boss will waddle into the realm spoil quietly delighted with the hole couple of months of the season – Cluj however.

His facet went to Ibrox within the irregular issue of underdogs as a long way as the bookmakers were concerned, nevertheless from kick-off they swaggered around the pitch with a perception that this may maybe per chance be their day.

Early within the first half, the cameras zoomed in on the Celtic captain, Scott Brown, taking half in his thirty seventh Ancient Company game, flexing his muscles, bellowing at those round him, clearly revelling within the position of chief antagonist.

Ibrox modified into the scene of two of Brown’s poorest performances final season, nevertheless on Sunday, he rose to the event, leading by example as he snapped into tackles, broke up play and drove his group ahead. There modified into no-one in a Rangers jersey who did the same.

A watch on the Celtic group-sheet beforehand may maybe seemingly well also have given Rangers followers an even increased sense of optimism.

Hatem Elhamed modified into pitched in at exact-inspire despite his manager saying he had a hairline fracture in his facet, Nir Bitton modified into all all over again worn as an auxiliary centre-half alongside Christopher Jullien on his Ancient Company debut and, at left-inspire, Boli Bolingoli took his issue despite an uneasy birth to his Celtic profession.

But that quartet repelled the full lot Rangers threw at them, which if truth be told modified into no longer extra special.

Rangers tumble flat on and off pitch

Certainly, Rangers’ beget group-sheet may maybe seemingly well also were in an analogous fashion reassuring for Celtic supporters. No Alfredo Morelos, no Sheyi Ojo or Jordan Jones. As a replace, Jermain Defoe bought the nod up front and Joe Aribo – so spectacular within the Rangers midfield this season – modified into asked to play extra ahead as Glen Kamara came into a conservative-taking a watch center three.

Aribo regarded lost. He modified into beaten in a 50-50, that may maybe seemingly well also were more have 60-forty in Aribo’s favour, by Brown within the first half, typifying the steadiness of vitality within the center of the park.

Kamara, who had taken Brown to the cleaners final outing, has no longer began the season smartly and his efficiency on Sunday modified into in step with that sooner than being zigzag at half-time for Ojo.

Gerrard acknowledged pre-match that he had long previous for Defoe over Morelos because the Englishman modified into more energizing after the shift the Colombian put in in opposition to Legia Warsaw on Thursday. Realistically, it did no longer topic a jot who modified into up front as there modified into puny or no provider for the lone striker, with many of the Englishman’s work finished birth air the box to puny affect.

The Rangers manager held his palms up afterwards, admitting he must bewitch his fragment of the blame for the first defeat of the season.

He’s peaceable a relative newbie within the managerial game and may maybe seemingly well peaceable clearly make errors as he learns his exchange, nevertheless even this early within the season, those errors on Sunday glimpse costly.

Celtic dent excellent Rangers optimism

Jonny Hayes modified into the toast of Celtic with their second method at Ibrox

As a replace of a psychological blow being struck in opposition to Celtic, the replace is classy. Rangers all all over again win themselves trailing their great rivals, albeit Gerrard made the level they are four points greater off now than they were this time final year.

But this modified into a immense opportunity overlooked by Rangers. A likelihood to enter the realm spoil sooner than Celtic within the league for the first time since re-entering the tip flight. Easiest by three points seemingly, nevertheless the stress on and criticism of the defending champions would have grown whereas Rangers’ momentum persisted to mount.

They are able to also no longer be inspire to sq. one, nevertheless a excellent optimism that they’ll be title challengers this season has taken a first-payment dent.

It is a long way as a lot as them to uncover their mettle when league exchange resumes on 14 September to make advantageous they dwell on their city rivals’ coat-tails unless they win a likelihood to avenge that defeat when they visit Celtic Park on the tip of December.

The champions were with out Kristoffer Ajer and Tom Rogic, Olivier Ntcham modified into handiest required for a second-half cameo pretty than the unusually quiet James Forrest (credit score to Jon Flanagan), Leigh Griffiths modified into no longer required from the bench and so that they peaceable have Mohamed Elyounoussi and seemingly Greg Taylor to arrive inspire in.

Lennon acknowledged Celtic despatched out a message to Scottish soccer with Sunday’s seize. The message: “Remove us whenever you will most definitely be ready to.”

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