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1998-01-02: Celtic 2-0 Rangers, Premier Division
| Match Pictures | Matches: 1997 - 1998 | 1997- 1998 Pictures |
- Prior to this game Celtic were 4pts behind in the league, so if we'd lost this then likely could have practically kissed 9 in a row goodbye for us and see the Huns win the coveted ten in a row.
- Our first victory against them (and only one in the season). We never beat them in the previous season.
- Before this game we were third behind Hearts and the Huns in the league.
- This was the Gascoigne's flute playing game, where the less-than-respected oaf did his fantasy musical act to the crowd whilst warming up (see link below).
- This was also the game in which Andy Goram wore a black armband, as he said , for his deceased aunt, Lily Scoles, and not for the Loyalist Billy Wright who had just been killed in the Maze, as was alleged by some parties. Lily Scoles died on 5/10/97.
- Both Smith and Jansen played cagey over selections, neither manager naming his squad before the game.
- Given Blinker’s performances against St Johnstone and Hearts it was no surprise to see him dropped from the squad. Thom was also dropped with HannahMahe and O’Donnell. Stubbs declared himself fit before the game. dropping to the bench, Brattbakk starting – his first full game for the Hoops, Rieper and Larsson returning from injury and injury absences of
ReviewOur most important victory against Rangers in the nineties, this game signalled a comeback in the league for Celtic, where at this point we were 4pts behind in the league prior to the start of the game. Great goals by Burley & Lambert pushed us ahead in the game and gave us the leads that took us through to victory.
Without this victory, we likely would have seen the end of our challenge to stop Rangers in their quest to achieve the coveted ten-in-a-row! Our fightback that psychologically started our run to the title victory.
An excellent win delivered with excellent goals in the second half when the Bhoys dominated, plus a piledriver for Lambert’s first goal with the club. Enrico Annoni had probably his finest game in a Celtic shirt.
Gould ; Boyd , Annoni, McNamara , Rieper , Stubbs , Larsson , Burley , Brattbakk (Jackson ,84 ), Lambert, Wieghorst
Subs not used: Donnelly, Hannah ,
Scorers: Burley (66), Lambert (85)
Bookings: Boyd, Lambert (Celtic)
Goram, McCall, Cleland, Gough, Porrini, Albertz (Gascoigne ,71 ), Thern, Ferguson, Negri, Gattuso (Durie ,59 ), Laudrup
Subs not used: Snelders,
Bookings: Gough, McCall, Negri (Rangers)
Referee: H Dallas (Motherwell)
|Shots on Target||7||0|
Quotes“Old Firm games are very special. I loved going away to Loch Lomond with the team in preparation for the matches. My fondest memory of playing Rangers, in my time at Celtic, was the New Year derby of 1998. I roughed up Richard Gough and gave him two black eyes.”
Harald Brattbakk (2010)
(Sporting Life)By Ken Gaunt PA Sport.
The new year has brought fresh hope to Celtic's Scottish League championship challenge after this emphatic victory today.
Goals from Craig Burley and Paul Lambert delivered the victory they crave more than most.
It was Celtic's first league victory in league 11 games against their Old Firm rivals but more importantly for those sporting the green and white it puts them on the shoulders of leaders Rangers, one point adrift of the top, and level with Hearts.
Those magnificent strikes from new recruits Burley and Lambert gave them a victory that was fully deserved with only the agility and reflexes of keeper Andy Goram preventing Celtic taking a stranglehold early on.
Rangers were able to call on all their heavy artillery for this third Old Firm match of the season with Goram and Richard Gough returning after two match absences because of hamstring injuries.
Jonas Thern was also recalled after being distracted by family matters while Paul Gascoigne, Gordon Durie and Rino Gattuso were back after suspension.
However Gascoigne had to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench and was only recalled after Burley's opening goal.
Harald Brattbakk made his first start for Celtic following his £2million move from Rosenborg two months ago.
Brattbakk did not look at all overawed by the occasion after stepping out of Norwegian football and was left cursing his luck in the first half.
He broke clear after being released by Morten Wieghorst in the 28th minute only to see his shot beaten away by Goram.
Then the Scotland keeper showed superb positioning 10 minutes later to push away another effort from the Norwegian after a superb cross from Tommy Boyd.
Brattbakk was denied for a third time by Goram 16 minutes into the second half when he again got a hand to another fierce shot.
Jackie McNamara latched on to the rebound, only for Alex Clelland to clear at the far post.
Celtic eventually made the breakthrough with Lambert steering the ball through to McNamara.
He delivered a delightful reverse pass inside the penalty area and Burley got on the end of it to steer a precise shot beyond Goram and into the corner.
Rangers manager Walter Smith, making his last league appearance at Parkhead as he retires in the summer, brought Gascoigne on immediately after the goal.
However Celtic continued to dominate and Goram somehow got a hand to a superb effort from sub Darren Jackson.
The ball eventually broke to Lambert 25 yards out and he hit an unstoppable shot beyond the Rangers No 1.
That set the Celtic supporters off into a chorus of "a happy new year" as they took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Rangers' best chances came early in the game when Marco Negri knocked the ball down to Gattuso on the edge of the area but he dragged his shot wide.
Gattuso remained busy and lively but was again off target in the second half after another knock down from Negri.
Rangers never found their rhythm with Brian Laudrup being well shackled by Enrico Annoni and they had no-one able to unlock the Celtic defence.
The result was a marvellous boost for head coach Wim Jansen, in his first season at the club.
He has already seen his team lift the Coca-Cola Cup and now they are firmly on course to deny Rangers a record 10th successive title.
A CELTIC victory that sets up the most exciting title run-in for years was brought about by a combination of pressure to end a dismal run against Rangers and the uncharacteristic wrath of Wim Jansen, revealed the Man of the Match, Craig Burley, after the game.
"It's all very well to say there was no pressure, but to have gone seven points behind meant we would have been really chasing it," said Burley, who scored the first goal and led Celtic's domination of the midfield.
"We would have performed anyway, but we didn't want to hear that we were seven points behind and have never beaten Rangers for ages. After last weekend's game we did have a bit of a ding-dong in the dressing-room. During the week there were also a few harsh things said so we had to pull it out of the bag today."
Among those venting their fury after the 1-0 setback at St Johnstone was Celtic's Dutch coach, whose avuncular facade conceals a gritty determination which he formerly displayed in the midfield of his national team in the 1970s.
"He is one of the quietest men I have worked under and I have had a few at Chelsea," Burley continued. "Very rarely do you see him shouting, but last week he was as angry as I have seen him. Everybody got it off their chests and everybody knew what was expected of them today. There would have been no excuses this week."
But instead of excuses, Celtic were earning plaudits for their first victory over Rangers in the league since 7 May, 1995, and the first New Year win since 1988. While that increasingly burdensome monkey has been finally removed from the back of players and supporters alike, the result clearly has more than purely parochial interest.
Though Rangers fans would disagree, a defeat for the team who have won the last nine titles is good for the domestic game in Scotland.
Instead of a stately procession to another title that a Rangers victory could have presaged, the excitement promises to extend right through until the end of the season with Celtic now moving into second place, just a point behind Rangers, and ahead of Hearts only on goal difference.
"I think the important thing is that it keeps the gap up there between the three teams tight and that can only be good for the whole of the league," said Burley.
"There is no point in someone being seven or eight points ahead and galloping away with the title."
That view was shared by Henrik Larsson, who combined well with Harald Brattbakk after missing the Perth defeat with a hamstring injury. "It just makes it more interesting because now there are three teams involved," said the Swede.
Yesterday's encounter, when Celtic managed seven shots on target while the visitors failed to trouble Jonathon Gould, was in stark contrast to the two Old Firm meetings last November, when Rangers won the first at Ibrox more comfortably than the 1-0 scoreline suggested, and were then denied a repeat result at Celtic Park 11 days later only by a last-minute equaliser by Alan Stubbs.
Much credit must go to Jansen and the rapid learning curve he has ridden since his arrival in Glasgow. Yesterday, he was able to beat Rangers at their own game.
"We know the system they like to play, so we wanted to play pretty much the same way with an extra man up front," he said of giving Brattbakk his first start.
"We had done the same to secure a 1-1 draw here last November and it worked for us in a game I feel we deserved to win. I'm delighted with the way we played, especially in the second half when we put them under pressure from the first minute.
"I feel the way we played today can give us confidence. I reckon we played better as the match progressed and dominated the game after the break."
Jansen agreed with Burley that there was some relief in the Celtic dressing-room beforehand when the news filtered through that Paul Gascoigne was fit enough to be only a substitute. "We know about Paul's qualities. He has the ability to change any game and it made it a bit easier for us that he did not start."
Walter Smith, Rangers manager, admitted he had never seriously contemplated throwing the England midfielder back into such a fierce fray after missing the last month through suspension. "Having not played five of the last six games it was too much to ask of him," said Smith.
On his last league visit to Celtic Park, the Ibrox manager was magnanimous in defeat but the manner of the reversal for a team without Gascoigne and where Brian Laudrup was well shackled must have brought back memories of some European disasters where organised opponents have proved too much for his band of assorted talents.
"I'm disappointed, but have no complaints in the sense that Celtic won the match in the only period of the game when one of the teams gained the upper hand," he said of his team's second league defeat of the season.
"The 20-25 minute spell after half-time was when they won it and we lost it after we had started the game well. Just before half-time the signs were there that we were playing well and it was straight after the interval which cost us the match.
"We have two home matches now and that is a help - but we will have to do better than in the second half today."
How they played
Jonathan Gould: 7 - Did not have a shot to save, but was always alert to danger around him.
Tom Boyd: 7 - Given an attacking wingback role after Regi Blinker was dropped, he struggled to supply the forwards, but adapted as the match progressed.
Enrico Annoni: 9 - Effectively man-marked Brian Laudrup and battled superbly throughout.
Jackie McNamara: 8 - Revelled in attacking role and produced a great reverse pass to set up Craig Burley's vital opening strike.
Marc Rieper: 7 - Worked hard throughout and was a calming figure during a fraught period after Celtic went ahead.
Alan Stubbs: 8 - Was again dominant in the key to the Bhoys' transformation - a solid, reliable defence.
Craig Burley: 8 - Showed his prowess in supporting the attack with several driving runs, one of which culminated in a neat finish for the opening goal.
Henrik Larsson: 8 - Offered fine movement throughout and was always a threat with his pace.
Harald Brattbakk: 7 - Looked overawed at first but settled and could have netted with more luck.
Paul Lambert: 8 - Battled hard in midfield, and was rewarded by a strike that he will never forget.
Morten Wieghorst: 7 - Unsure what position to adopt initially, but improved as the game wore on.
Substitute: Darren Jackson (85 mins for Brattbakk) - 7.
- Managers' Comments
“We changed our system to counteract th way Rangers play and it worked for us.
“I had tough decisions to make about who started and who didn’t but I made these taking into account the game situation.
“I considered playing Regi Blinker but knowing how we wanted to play against Rangers we were aware there would have to be some positional changes.”
“I was especially pleased with the way we played in the second half.
“After a shaky first twenty minutes we just got better and better and increased the pressure on them as time went on and scored two excellent goals.
“After the break we passed the ball to feet at all times and defended very well.
“And we stayed firm when they attempted to get back into it.”
"It was such an important game for us because I think if we had gone seven points behind, it would have been too far away. Rangers had to make their decision about Gascoigne. He can change a game. It was a little bit easier for us when he didn't start."
Walter Smith post match:
"We were motivated enough but Celtic have had this record pushed in their faces for a while so you would expect their motivation to be up."
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