SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP: SATURDAY AUGUST 23RD; RANGERS 0 CELTIC 2 (ROGIC 50’, GRIFFITHS 65’)
Celtic moved eight points clear of our former rivals Rangers with a comfortable victory at Ibrox, our third win in a row there under Brendan Rodgers.
The team selection was always going to be intriguing and so it proved with Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic reunited at the back, Tom Rogic and Stuart Amstrong got the nod in midfield, with Patrick Roberts in for James Forrest. Leigh Griffith was the lone striker.
Celtic began the game on fire, with Tom Rogic finding space and having a shot tipped over the bar in the opening seconds. Roberts and Rogic were finding tons of room, and Celtic really should have taken the lead in the 10th minute, Griffiths heading a Tierney cross over bar when it looked easier to score.
Strangely after such a blistering opening spell Celtic seemed to fall out of the game for a spell, and with Rangers only sporadically threatening we ended up doing a lot of passing at the back as we tried to find an opening. The game briefly broke out of it’s lull when Rangers claimed a penalty when Simunovic ‘tripped’ Morelos but Craig Thomson got the decision correct and no penalty was given.
Celtic got our act together again towards the end of the first half and Roberts had a shot saved then Armstrong slipped when it poised to have a shot but at half-time the game was goalless.
Brendan Rodgers must have told the players to up their game in the dressing room, as Celtic immediately began the second half on the front foot, with Sinclair finding Griffiths but his shot was deflected for a corner. The opening goal duly arrived in the 50th minute, and it was another goal in a big game from Tom Rogic, who took advantage of Rangers failing to clear a corner by hammering the ball into the net. 1-0 to the Celts!
Craig Gordon, who until this point of the match had very little to do was finally called into action when he made a fine save at point blank range from a Morelos header. Normal service quickly resumed though, and the second goal arrived in the 65th minute, a pinpoint Patrick Roberts pass finding Leigh Griffiths who finished in style.
The last twenty five minutes of the game for Celtic were almost like a training session, as we were content to keep the ball and probe for openings. Dembele, McGregor and Forrest all came on and the Frenchman was unlucky not to make it 3-0 as he just failed to get a touch on a Tierney shot which fizzed across goal.
The final whistle brought with it familiar scenes, as the Celtic players danced in front of our fans in the Broomloan Road stand.
Brendan Rodgers will be delighted with both the result and the performance, as Celtic once more emphasised how superior we are to Rangers. Next up for Celtic a far bigger game than today’s match against midtable hopefuls - Anderlecht away in the Champions League on Wednesday night.