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1998-09-20: Rangers 0-0 Celtic, Premier League
| Match Pictures | Matches: 1998 - 1999 | 1998-1999 Pictures |
- Martin Dahlin was being linked to the club. Officials at Blackburn Rovers said that they had received no bids but that his agent was saying that Celtic wanted him.
- Vidar Riseth was first linked to the club when he was spotted in Glasgow on 19/9. Rumours had it that Celtic had offered his club LASK Linz £1.5million.
- This was Stuart Dougal’s first Old Firm game as referee.
- Marc Rieper (ankle), Phil O'Donnell (thigh muscle strain), Regi Blinker (hamstring) and Harald Brattbakk (‘flu) were all doubts.
- Simon Donnelly had recovered from flu. Tom Boyd was out with a hamstring and Paul Lambert was suspended. Also missing were long-term injury victims Jackie McNamara, Morten Wieghorst, Tommy Johnson and Mark Burchill.
ReviewA pretty even contest. Despite the bags of money that Rangers had spent in the closed season they failed to capitalize on mistakes. Jackson and Larsson both played well and were unlucky not to score, and Hannah did a pretty good holding midfield role in the absence of Lambert - one of his best games in the Hoops. Rangers squandered a heap of chances and had Charbonnier to thank for keeping it goal-less at the end.
TeamsRangers: Charbonnier, Porrini, Amoruso, B Ferguson, Kanchelskis (Graham, 78), Van Bronckhorst, Amato (Miller, 69), Albertz, Wallace, Moore, Hendry
Subs not used: I. Ferguson, Vidmar, M Brown
Celtic: Gould, Boyd , Mahe, Rieper, Stubbs , Larsson, Burley , O'Donnell (McKinlay, 83), Donnelly, Jackson, Hannah (Annoni, 84)
Subs not used Kerr, McBride, Burchill
Bookings: Hendry, Van Bronckhorst (Rangers) Boyd, Burley, Donnelly, Mahe (Celtic)
Referee: S Dougal (Scotland)
- Match Report
The Scotsman 21/09/1998
CELTIC'S smash and grab policy worked so well at Ibrox yesterday that they might even have pickpocketed a victory.
While this would have been an act of grand larceny, the manner in which this expensively assembled Rangers side was frustrated by the champions suggested once Celtic stop fighting themselves, the destiny of the first Scottish Premier League title will be anything but a foregone conclusion.
This Old Firm derby was as fiercely contested as any of its predecessors.
The pattern of the game was set early with Rangers enjoying the bulk of possession and making most of the chances. Having invested 28 million in new faces, however, the worry for Rangers was that their latest crop of players lacked composure in front of goal.
Rangers created a couple of gilt-edged chances and two or three other openings which might also have produced goals. The failure of their strikers, Rod Wallace and Gabriel Amato, to convert any of these openings will have caused a shiver of alarm at Ibrox.
"You play football to score goals and we didn't score any," acknowledged Dick Advocaat, the Rangers manager. "I agree that Celtic deserved to win the last five minutes of the game but we won the 85 minutes before that. We played some good football and made the better opportunities to win the game."
In the end, it was probably a better point for Celtic than Rangers, particularly in view of the Parkhead club's pre-match injury problems. "I was pleased with the spirit shown by the players," said coach, Jozef Venglos. "We played as a unit and worked hard for each other."
This was the first game in the 110-year history of the Old Firm match in which both sides were managed by foreign coaches. Of the 22 who started the game, nine Rangers men and four Celtic players were foreigners.
Even the weather in Govan looked imported. After the worst summer in recent memory, the first Old Firm contest of the season was bathed in warm sunshine. It could have been an evening in Palma or the south of France, which of course, was where Amato and Lionel Charbonnier played most of their football last season.
In spite of all the pre-match chatter about this being just another game with only the allotted three points at stake, it was interesting to spot Advocaat leave his seat in the stand midway through the first half and sprint to the front of the technical area where he screamed instructions to his players. Fourth official, Kenny Clark, must have thought the Dutchman was going on the pitch as he made a block tackle which would guarantee selection for Scotland's rugby team.
In terms of style, the continental influence on the match was, of course, marginal. If Ibrox had been a restaurant, the meal served up to the 50,000 crowd was a white pudding supper rather than coq au vin.
True, there was a little more space and room in which to play. The days of the cavalry charge are long gone even in this dinosaur of a derby. When, for example, Rangers could find no way past a Celtic side which packed every man behind the ball in the 31st minute, Lorenzo Amoruso simply played a pass back to Charbonnier and started again. Patience proved to be a virtue at the second time of asking as van Bronckhorst was released in the inside-left position and tested Jonathan Gould with an angled shot.
Walter Smith, the Everton manager who steered Rangers to so many hit-and-run victories over Celtic in the Nineties, was an interested spectator at the game - like the rest of us, he must have been struck by the reversal of roles which Celtic and Rangers took into the latest Old Firm contest.
On this occasion, it was the Parkhead club who dropped players behind the ball and sought to catch Rangers on the break. Craig Burley and David Hannah draped a midfield screen in front of the back four while Simon Donnelly did a surprisingly good job of man-marking Barry Ferguson. Alan Stubbs was a rock in central defence.
Although Rangers enjoyed the lion's share of possession, they were often forced to play the ball across the pitch rather than up it. The most incisive moment of the first-half came when Henrik Larsson broke from midfield and fed Darren Jackson on the left flank. The Swede then scampered into the box and threw himself at the Scot's cross. Larsson's header was powering towards the roof of the net until Charbonnier tipped it on to the crossbar.
These feverish occasions are as likely to be settled by a mistake as a flash of inspiration. Marc Rieper must have thought he'd cost his side three points at the start of the second half when he gave the ball away to Albertz. He set up Wallace for what should have been a clear-cut scoring opportunity but the Englishman wasted the opening by demanding two touches when only one was required. To secure the lead, Celtic were so intent on smothering the game that it appeared for long stages of the second half as if they'd come to Ibrox to stage a sit-in. This policy carries risks as well as benefits and van Bronckhorst, who was easily the most creative player on the pitch, was allowed to run at Celtic with venom as the action streamed towards Jonathan Gould.
None of this huffing and puffing caused the visitors too many problems as the momentum of the matched ebbed and eventually petered out.
Advocaat said: "We wanted to play the game in Celtic's half while they kept men behind the ball and counter-attacked. It takes more energy to play our way and maybe that explains what happened at the end."
Celtic didn't exactly appear to have thrown caution to the wind when they sent on Enrico Annoni and Tosh McKinlay for the last five minutes but, ironically, only another top-class save from Charbonnier in the dying seconds prevented McKinlay's swerving shot from nicking all three points for Celtic.
The Scotsman 21/09/1998
Rangers defence/Celtic attack
Colin Hendry's re-introduction brought three changes from the Rangers midweek rearguard. Sergio Porrini was moved from right to left-back, with Craig Moore shifted from central position to the right flank, where he reverted to his former uncomfortable self. Celtic were prepared to allow Porrini the space to wander, knowing that the former Juventus defender doesn't match Daniel Day Lewis for useful left feet.
Hendry and Lorenzo Amoruso were faced with Henrik Larsson and Darren Jackson, who offered differing threats. The Swede's ability to drop deep and turn, especially in Porrini's channel, caused difficulties while the Scot's main contribution was a succession of needless fouls.
Advocaat's apparent adventure in midfield - playing a creative quartet of Andrei Kanchelskis, Barry Ferguson, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst and the recalled Jorg Albertz - was met by the caution of his Slovak adversary. David Hannah took the midfield holding role, while Craig Burley and Phil O'Donnell were also occupied with more defensive duties, and Simon Donnelly snuffed out the threat of Barry Ferguson, at the expense of any creative contribution.
Most of Rangers' attacking efforts came down the left, where Van Bronckhorst and Albertz switched positions and passes to telling effect. The Dutchman's runs proved one of Rangers more effective ploys, but the midfield deadlock was a microcosm of the game.
Rangers attack/Celtic defence
With Argentine Gabriel Amato the only out-and-out striker deployed by Rangers, Tommy Boyd was given licence to push forward up the right flank and attack Porrini, though the Scotland internationalist made little impact.
Despite being chaperoned by two men, Amato found the space to miss two golden opportunities in two first-half minutes, while Rod Wallace fluffed arguably the game's best chance when set up by Albertz. Wallace's tireless work and his cleverly-angled running did offer his team a consistent outlet, but such a talented team deserves better finishing and Advocaat's search for a top-class marksman will continue.
- Manager Interview
"I think it was a very good, exciting derby.
"We had our chances and Rangers had theirs, but we had some opportunities to win at the end of the game.
"Both teams worked hard and I thought it was a very good game. We tried to attack and from my point of view it was a very determined performance with a lot of team spirit and tactical discipline. In derbies it is never easy to play football, but we showed the determination to do so.
"Derbies are always open and you can't say whether you will win or lose or draw. Every team wants to win. You could see that we played an open game and we worked hard to win the game, especially in the last few minutes.
"It is nice when the game is played in a fair way."
"I thought Celtic deserved to win in the last five minutes, but we deserved it in the first 85.
"We played exciting, good football and made many chances, but we failed to score. In the last five minutes, it was difficult because we had used up so much energy. They had played with everyone behind the ball and counter-attacked, and that made it difficult, but we had better opportunities to win the game. Still, in the end, it was a fair result."
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