July 19, 2024

Celtic ended Philippe Clement’s unbeaten Rangers’ record to move eight clear of their Old Firm rivals after a frantic encounter at Parkhead.

The pressure was on Brendan Rodgers’ side with their Old Firm rivals closing in on them at the top of the Scottish Premiership, but goals from Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo Furuhashi either side of the break secured the win.

Leon Balogun was shown a straight red card for hauling down Dazien Maeda as he raced through on goal as Rangers’ frustrations showed.

Captain James Tavernier’s stunning free-kick pulled a goal back for the visitors, but it was too little too late.

Rodgers has never lost to Celtic’s fiercest rivals at home while Rangers, who have two games in hand, once again lose ground in title race.

How Celtic reasserted title control

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 30: Celtic...s Paulo Bernardo celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 Celtic during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park, on December 30, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Paulo Bernardo opened the scoring for Celtic

The Celtic fans were on their feet early on as Kyogo picked up a ball from the left, but Jack Butland tipped his shot round the post for a corner which Rangers then cleared.

Rangers then went on the attack and Ross McCausland sent in a low cross which Joe Hart saved before efforts from Cyriel Dessers and Todd Cantwell were blocked.

Team news

Stephen Welsh started in place of injured defender Cameron Carter-Vickers for Celtic.

Reo Hatate and Liel Abada were named on the bench as they return from injury.

Rangers defender Connor Goldson was fit to start despite being forced off at Motherwell.

Philippe Clement made one change with John Lundstram replacing Kieran Dowell.

It was then back to Celtic as Luis Palma whipped in a lovely ball for Paulo Bernardo who headed it just wide of Butland’s far post.

Kyogo’s blushes were then saved by the offside flag as he failed to connect with Daizen Maeda’s cross as the hosts pushed for an opener.

Bernardo then let rip from 20-yards as his powerful strike rippled the side net, then minutes later he took his chance as Celtic Park erupted.

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Celtic took the lead thanks to a crisp volley from Paulo Bernardo

A corner was whipped in after Greg Taylor’s effort was deflected over the bar. It was cleared as far as the Portuguese midfielder who caught the ball beautifully, leaving Butland with no chance.

Dessers then had a brilliant chance to equalise as he robbed Welsh, but the Rangers forward took too long, allowing Alistair Johnston to clear.

The Celtic defender was immediately replaced by Maik Nawrocki after injuring his shoulder as he attempted to clear the ball.

Rangers had more chances through McCausland and Todd Cantwell before they thought they had won a penalty after Johnston appeared to handle the ball in the box. Referee Nick Walsh was not even called to the monitor with Abdallah Sima judged to be offside in the build-up.

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Kyogo Furuhashi’s stunning strike puts Celtic in control in the Old Firm against Rangers at Parkhead

Celtic doubled their lead just after half-time, and in some style. O’Riley found the striker on the edge of the box and he sent a curling strike into the top corner.

Dessers again passed up a chance for Rangers before Celtic duo Johnston and Bernadro were lucky to avoid second bookings for late challenges.

Rangers’ afternoon then went from bad to worse as Leon Balogun was shown a straight red for hauling down Maeda as he looked set to score.

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Rangers defender Leon Balogun is shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Daizen Maeda

Brendan Rodgers’ side continued to press. Butland denied David Turnbull minutes after he came on, with the Rangers stopper also keeping Kyogo and Palma at bay.

James Tavernier pulled a goal back late on, his powerful free-kick leaving Hart helpless in the Celtic goal. But it was too little too late as Rangers suffered their second Old Firm defeat of the season.

What’s next?

Tuesday 2nd January 4:30pm

Kick off 5:00pm

Celtic’s next Scottish Premiership match is at St Mirren on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 5pm.

Rangers’ next Scottish Premiership match is at home to Kilmarnock on Tuesday. Kick-off 3pm.

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