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1997-11-08: Rangers 1-0 Celtic, Premier Division
|Match Pictures | Matches: 1997 - 1998 | 1997-98 Pictures|
- Mahe, Gould, Rieper, Burley, Jackson and a certain Larsson were new arrivals at the beginning of the season along with Wim. Paul Lambert had just been signed from Borussia Dortmund after a taxing delay and came on as a sub in this game. McKinlay was out of favour having had a training ground bust-up with Larsson which would lead to his departure on loan to Stoke City. Malky MacKay had begun the season well but was now very much a squad player with the Reserves. Andreas Thom would return to Germany in January. Paolo di Canio had already gone to Sheffield Wednesday in exchange for a hatful of money and Regi Blinker. Chris Hay and Peter Grant had been sold to respectively Swindon Town and Norwich City. Stuart Gray was on loan to Morton and would be sold to Tommy Burns at Reading. And Harald Brattbakk would soon arrive from Rosenborg.
- Phil O’Donnell was out injured with twisted knee ligaments; Darren Jackson was recovering from Hydrocephalus and working his way back to fitness with the Reserves as was Tommy Johnson.
- Prior to the game the Bhoys were a point ahead of Rangers and level with Hearts on goal difference so there was all to play for. They had just come off of a 2-0 win away to Dunfermiline and an 8 game winning run in the League gave them a great platform to the rest of the season after a dodgy start. Rangers were bubbling under with Gascoigne, Laudrup and Negri.
- The club had just parted company with David Hay who had been Chief Scout and Assistant General Manager. This appeared to be much against the wishes of team manager Wim Jansen and was to bubble on and become one of the elements in the falling out between Jansen and Jock Brown. A terse one paragraph statement was issued by Jock Brown and Hay would go on to sue the club for unfair dismissal.
- Larsson, after the training ground bust up with McKinlay, had flown home with his family to attend the funeral of his father-in-law. He flew back immediately prior to this game. Larsson was one of seven Celts who made Old Firm debuts.
ReviewThe Brian Laudrup floorshow in a card happy game full of yellows and a red for Stephan Mahe, with Gascoigne allowed to elbow his way through another game. Stubbs was also stretchered off breaking what was shaping to be a great defensive partnership with Rieper. Oh….and there was Jock Brown…..
Goram, McCall, Cleland, Gough, Porrini, Bjorklund, Thern, Gascoigne (Albertz ,89 ), Negri, Gattuso, Laudrup (Durie ,83). NU Sub: McCoist,
Scorer: Gough (29)
Yellow Cards: Gascoigne, Gattuso, Gough (Rangers);
Gould, Boyd (Lambert ,73 ), Mahe, McNamara, Rieper, Stubbs (Annoni ,16 ), Larsson, Burley, Donnelly, Wieghorst, Blinker (Thom ,60)
Yellow Cards: Blinker, Boyd, Burley, Larsson, Mahe (Celtic)
Red Cards: Mahe (81 – second yellow)
Referee: K Clark (Paisley).
NB: This was Kenny Clark’s first Rangers-Celtic game Attendance: 50,082
- Match Report (see end of page below)
|Shots on Target||7||7|
ArticlesMatch Report from the Scotsman
Round one to Rangers but Celtic coach can take heartRangers 1 Gough (29)
RANGERS have spent almost a decade making a nonsense of the old argument that it is harder to stay at the top than it is to get there. It is, after all, the challenger who has to climb the mountain.
The Ibrox side trail Hearts in the championship, but it may prove to be of greater significance that they have confronted their two closest rivals and shooed them off as perfunctorily as chasing the neighbour's cat from the garden.
Much will now depend on how the Tynecastle side and Celtic respond to their encounters with the harsh reality of trying to take away the title holders' most prized possession.
This latest renewal of the Old Firm ritual is likely to have brought Wim Jansen a curious mix of disappointment and encouragement. Unlike supporters whose immediate reaction to such a setback is wailing and gnashing of teeth, the Celtic head coach will bring a professional rationale to his deliberations.
The Dutch may be among football's most flamboyant performers, but in coaching they are clinically analytical. It will not have escaped Jansen's notice, for example, that, despite Rangers' obvious control of the match, they had only four shots on target to Celtic's three.
He will take satisfaction from having sorted out a Parkhead defence that gave little away and proceed with the business of attending to those areas of the team which failed. Overall, he will surely draw encouragement from having seen his side play poorly against their most powerful rivals and lose by only a single goal.
Jansen's problem is that he has only nine days in which to effect repairs before Rangers are faced again at Celtic Park and for most of this week he will lose five of his first-team players - Craig Burley, Tom Boyd, Jackie McNamara, Paul Lambert and Simon Donnelly - to international duty.
Walter Smith also has players committed to playing for their country, but Rangers showed by their authoritative victory that they are less in need of remedial work. Particularly on those occasions when they are expected to be most severely tested, Smith's players continue to demonstrate their extraordinary resilience.
Yet, in previous matches against Celtic, they have enjoyed less control and won by wider margins. Indeed, but for Andy Goram's two saves from Henrik Larsson's headers in the first half, Rangers may even have been denied victory.
Jonathan Gould was no busier than Goram at the other end, having to parry a typically searing drive from Gascoigne early in the game and, later, holding a free-kick from the England midfielder under the crossbar.
The impression of Rangers' overall superiority tended to obscure the fact that they did not create a bundle of scoring opportunities. This is most vividly betrayed by the comparative anonymity of the normally voracious Marco Negri, whose only sniff at a chance came from an offside position.
Richard Gough's goal - sweeping the ball with the inside of his right foot to the right of Gould following Brian Laudrup's run down the right and low centre - was a dream for the returning captain, but it also indicated the lack of opportunities contrived by the front players.
Jansen, like Gascoigne, recognised immediately that Rangers' derby debutants had been quicker and more effective in handling the fraught atmosphere of the event. The Celtic coach afterwards naturally dwelled on his own players' failures rather than the winners' strengths, but that did not make his assessment any less accurate.
"Especially in the first half, we weren't really in the game," he said. "We couldn't play as we wanted to, gave the ball away too often and failed to get it to the forward players and move up in support.
"The second half was a little better, but too late. Chances were there, but we didn't really play. In great games like this, all 11 have to perform and we had too many who didn't. On these occasions, players have to stand up and it was our disappointment that too many didn't."
The ineffectiveness of Burley and Wieghorst in midfield contrasted sharply with the inventive marauding of Gascoigne, the composed, studied authority of Jonas Thern and the energetic endeavour of Gattuso. This was further evidence, if it were needed, that Gascoigne is stimulated by these occasions. It is no accident that he seems to be at his best when the stakes are highest, confirmed by his form in the international game.
His keenness for the fray has the elbows flying, although he was cautioned for a tackle on Wieghorst.
Celtic's lethargy and glaring lack of killer-instinct was quite astonishing. The dreadful Blinker finally made way for Thom and Lambert replaced Boyd, but Celtic either refused to impale Rangers, or were simply incapable of doing so.
Laudrup and Gascoigne, both substituted, received lavish ovations from the Ibrox stands. The image of their opponents' insipid efforts, however, will live long in a few memories.
Mahe was sent off for a second yellow card - a lunge at Laudrup - eight minutes from the end.
But neither his departure nor that of the injured Alan Stubbs earlier - Enrico Annoni was a very capable deputy - contributed to Celtic's defeat.
- · Player’s and Manager’s comments Post-Match
Richard Guff, Rangers
"I always seem to have luck against Celtic," he said. "I scored against them on my Old Firm debut which is almost 10 years ago to the day and I've scored a few times since. Not often with my feet though.
"For me last year was a terrible strain winning the championship. This year I don't want to go through the same so I tried to be a bit more relaxed today. I was too tense to enjoy these games last year, but I enjoyed that one."
Walter Smith, Rangers
"That period (the first half) was certainly the most dominant we've been in Old Firms in recent times.
"I thought we controlled the game for the first hour. Then they pushed forward and we were under more pressure at the end, but they didn't really create any chances. I don't think anyone could really argue with the result."
Wim Jansen, Celtic
"This really is a great game. All 11 players need to be playing at their highest level to win the great games and not enough of our players did.
"It was our plan to play the same way as normal but Rangers were far more aggressive and pushed us back.
"Particularly in the first half we didn't really play the way we wanted. We gave the ball away too often and could not get the ball to the forwards to let us push up. We started to play better towards the end of the second half, but it was too late to alter the game."
"Rangers may have had more chances but in the course of 90 minutes we had chances too, but we didn't take them."
Jonathon Gould, Celtic
"The manager let us know in no uncertain terms at half- time that things were going badly wrong.
"He told us that if we continued playing the same way we would lose heavily.
"We sorted things out in the second-half but it still wasn't good enough.
"It's so disappointing because we just didn't do ourselves justice and I just can't explain that".
David Hay (who watched the game from the Broomloan Stand)
"I thought Rangers had far more players who looked up for the occasion and were prepared to dig in for a win.
"Now the pressure is really on Wim Jansen and his players.
"They have lost ground to Rangers and they MUST win at Celtic Park next week.
"And the opinion among the fans beside me was that the team will need to give far more commitment than they turned in at Ibrox if they're to reverse this result."
"Rangers deserved to win because they controlled the midfield through Paul Gascoigne and passed the ball much better than Celtic.
"The fans have been left feeling frustrated yet again and they want to see a marked improvement in their team.
"I would have given pass marks to Jonathan Gould, who had an outstanding Old Firm debut, Marc Rieper and Enrico Annoni.
"The Italian did so well that Celtic couldn't regard the loss of Alan Stubbs after 15 minutes as crucial to the outcome of the game.
"Too many players had an off day. It can sometimes happen in Old Firm matches and there is no logic to explain it.
"I felt that Stephane Mahe was unlucky to be red carded, though.
"I thought the referee's inexperience showed at times. It was Kenny Clark's first Old Firm game and that was obvious.
"He was correct to deny Rangers an early penalty when Negri went down but Walter Smith's team had no need of any help in any case."
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