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2000-03-08: Celtic 0-1 Rangers, Premier League
|Match Pictures | Matches: 1999 - 2000 | 1999-2000 Pictures|
- John Barnes gave his first decent interview post-sacking to Talksport. In 40 minutes of rather woolly questioning it emerged that Barnes felt he had done nothing wrong, that his football phoilosophy was right and that, though he felt fully supported by Kenny Dalglish, he was undermined entirely by the Scottish media.
ReviewMarketed as a make or break game and Championship decider (which it clearly was not with a dozen games to go to the end of the season), Celtic went into the game with more missing first team players than Rangers.
Gould, Riseth, Boyd, Stubbs, Mjallby (Burchill 85), McNamara, Petrov, Wieghorst, Mahe, Moravcik, Viduka.
Subs Not Used: Kerr, Berkovic, Blinker, Rafael.
Booked: Moravcik, Mjallby (Celtic)
Klos, Moore, Amoruso, Numan, Ferguson, Van Bronckhorst, Wallace, Albertz, Reyna, Vidmar, McCann.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Kanchelskis, Rozental, Nicholson, Tugay.
Goals: Wallace 86.
Booked: Numan. (Rangers)
Referee: Jim McCluskey (Scotland).
- Match Report (see below)
|Shots on Target||5||3|
Individual Player Ratings
|Jonathon Gould||7||The keeper cast out by Kenny Dalglish a month ago tried manfully to keep Celtic's season alive with a penalty save from Albertz. Virtually redundant early on. Left exposed for Wallace goal.|
|Vidar Riseth||6||His reliability allowed McNamara to forge forward without fear. Typically committed performance by the Norwegian.|
|Tom Boyd||6||Playing left-back, saved the jerseys with brave goal-stopping challenge on Wallace and coped well with Reyna's forays.|
|Alan Stubbs||7||Commanding figure at the back, was never seriously troubled by Wallace or McCann, until the last 10 minutes when they were twice breached and paid the price the second time.|
|Johan Mjallby||6||Swede was in no mood to take prisoners. Formed a barrier with Stubbs that looked too powerful for the lightweightRangers attack until they struck in the dying minutes.|
|Stephane Mahe||7||Got forward to reasonable effect and delivered perfect cross which Viduka scorned in the eighth minute. Got involved in a couple of minor spats with Vidmar but kept the head well.|
|Jackie McNamara||8||Possibly his best Old Firm game. He won tackles, played team-mates in and showed a composure missing in these matches in the past. Wasn't as involved in the second period.|
|Stiliyan Petrov||7||Started brightly, winning exchanges in the middle of the park and using ball intelligently. Tired on the gluepot surface.|
|Morten Wieghorst||6||Powerful presence in the middle of the park but didn't stamp his authority on the game as he would have liked. Brought a fine save from Klos with a second-half header.|
|Lubo Moravcik||7||Played too far off Viduka and Celtic suffered for it. Also on receiving end of a couple of hefty challenges. Booked for tackle on Numan and improved dramatically in second half.|
|Mark Viduka||8||Missed sitter in the eighth minute but gave the Rangers defence a torrid time with his control and physical presence. Great finish in second half rightly chalked off for handball.|
|Mark Burchill (Sub)||3||On for Mjallby as Celtic tried to win it at the death. The move backfired but the kid forced Klos into a fine save.|
Rangers all but championsThe Scotsman 09/03/2000
Rangers 1 Wallace (86)RANGERS did what champions do, taking something of a pummelling from challengers so determined that their assault was ferocious, and then exposing Celtic's glass jaw with one jab from Rod Wallace's left foot four minutes from the end.
That stunning winning goal, from Giovanni van Bronckhorst's long pass, may have been Wallace's only contribution to a match that was largely dominated by the home side, but it was enough to ensure Dick Advocaat's second successive Scottish championship, the Ibrox side 12 points ahead with just a dozen matches to play.
Rangers should, in fact, have secured an improbable victory four minutes earlier, but Jorg Albertz allowed Jonathan Gould to save his penalty kick after Johan Mjallby had pulled down Neil McCann. That effort and the goal itself were two of only a handful of scoring attempts Rangers mustered in the 90 minutes.
If the players seemed under-equipped for what was an exceptional set of circumstances, it was because snorkels had not been issued as they exited the dressing-rooms. The drenching rain that has been a feature of Glasgow's winter since the nights began to draw in seemed to intensify in the hours before the kick-off, causing much pitchfork work on a playing surface which normally stands up well to water.
The idea that the first of these great rivals to adapt to the conditions would have a telling advantage seemed to be vindicated by a Celtic team who virtually monopolised the first 25 minutes of the game; it was, however, an indication of their recent trials and tribulations that they managed to spurn several golden scoring opportunities.
Harnessing the climatic conditions was not, however, the sole reason for the home side's clear superiority during that opening third of the game. They also went about their work with purpose and self-certainty, causing Rangers lengthy periods of uncharacteristic nervousness.
The champions were anxious, erratic and palpably unsure of themselves. It was indicative of Celtic's authority during the first half that Stilian Petrov, hitherto a serious disappointment for Celtic supporters, looked like a star. The young Bulgarian not only toiled like a hod-carrier in midfield, but looked like a master craftsman when in possession, frequently releasing Mark Viduka and Lubomir Moravcik into threatening areas.
It was from Petrov's interception of a pass from Albertz that Viduka was released down the right, where he hurdled past the lumbering Lorenzo Amoruso and bolted into the penalty area without a challenge. His low cut-back eluded friends and enemies alike, however.
That was the least of Viduka's bad moments, though, as he contrived to miss two chances which were made all the more shocking by the realisation that he is the country's leading scorer and was attempting to establish a new Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive matches.
The big Australian managed to miss the seemingly unmissable after only eight minutes. Petrov released Stephane Mahe on the flank, and the full-back's low cross was missed by Craig Moore, leaving Viduka with the ball at his feet and only Stefan Klos to beat. His unconvincing prod merely sent the ball against the goalkeeper's left foot.
Next he was sent clear on a pass from defence by Morten Wieghorst. This time, Viduka delayed his scoring attempt until Moore came back to wrap his right foot around the striker for the tackle.
In the certainty that Rangers would not be subdued for the entire 90 minutes, the home support had cause to wonder if their team's failure to exploit their superiority would be "rewarded" with the kind of killing counter-thrust at which Rangers have excelled down the years. Even if it took the Ibrox side 55 minutes to win their first corner kick, indeed, the first of the match, they showed in the few minutes thereafter that they could still be menacing.
It was when Arthur Numan cantered down the left and suddenly cut the ball low inside that the conditions favoured Wallace and allowed him his first close-up look at the Celtic goal. But Stubbs was alert to the danger and blocked the shot.
If the home support had that sinking feeling then, it would turn to a sick feeling shortly after when Viduka, with supreme irony, produced a thunderous finish to drive the ball past Klos from around 20 yards. But the far-side linesman's flag ensured cancellation, the striker having used a hand to control a long kick from Jonathan Gould.
Viduka was prancing around Klos soon after, when he received Moravcik's pass on the right side of the area. This time, the goalkeeper made the save, conceding a corner kick from which he had to go to work again, this time to push Vidar Riseth's header off the line.
The most unusual aspect of Rangers' play for most of the time was that players such as Albertz, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Claudio Reyna, who normally play the early, wicked through pass seemed to be lumbering both mentally and physically.
Celtic were contrastingly sharp and decisive, with Riseth, Stubbs, Boyd and Mahe diligent and determined at the back and Wieghorst, McNamara, Petrov and Mjallby forceful and bright in midfield. The quick feet of Viduka and Moravcik in the forward areas ensured that the champions, on a very difficult night, would encounter more scares than they could normally expect in a month of Premier League matches.
PA Sport Match Report
- Manager Interview
“We get a lot of credit but no points and that is what counts.
"It's difficult for us to take, but I never saw a championship trophy being handed out there tonight.
"We'll come out here again on Saturday against St Johnstone and we'll go into that game with determination and spirit. Any game we compete in we want to try and win.
"We got an injury to Johan Mjallby and had to make a decision. We put a striker on in Mark Burchill because we wanted to win the game. I could have brought on Rafael, but we decided to go for it. If I'd brought a defender on instead I would have been criticised."
Celtic 0 Rangers 1 By Simon Stone, PA SportRod Wallace emerged the Rangers hero to deny Jonathan Gould assuming that mantle for Celtic as the title was effectively decided at Parkhead for a second successive season.
After the on and off-field drama of the Championship decider on May 2 the Scottish Premier League opted to move forward the closing Old Firm dates of the campaign to avoid a repeat.
But while there may be 12 games remaining, the reality with Rangers now 12 points ahead is that two months earlier than last year the Ibrox outfit have again all but settled matters on rival soil.
It was a match which had drama throughout but it looked set for a stalemate until a dramatic finale.
Jonathan Gould demanded to be transfer-listed after being left out of Kenny Dalglish's opening game at Dundee, but a change of heart and injury to Dmitri Kharine saw him gain a recall.
He justified that with an 82nd-minute penalty save to deny Jorg Albertz from the spot after Neil McCann had been pulled back by Johan Mjallby who was fortunate to remain on the field.
Gould's save looked to have kept Celtic in the hunt, but it proved only a temporary reprieve as four minutes later Wallace turned the ball into the net for game over in every sense.
Celtic's Mark Viduka went into the game seeking to establish a Scottish Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive matches, but it was not to be his or his team's night.
The first and best Celtic chance of the contest fell to the Australian, but from close range the opportunity was missed and it was Rangers who for all Gould's efforts ran out winners.
As anticipated there was to be no dramatic comeback for Henrik Larsson, the Swede still recovering from a broken leg, but Jonathan Gould was given the vote in goal with Dmitri Kharine ruled out for four to six weeks with a knee problem.
A heavy downpour ahead of kick-off made for appalling conditions from the outset with both sides quick to realise slick passing would be a virtual impossibility.
It was the kind of pitch which prompted mistakes and the first of note came on eight minutes when a seemingly harmless Stephane Mahe cross was missed entirely by Craig Moore.
The error stunned Mark Viduka who despite time and space only eight yards from goal struggled to find his bearing and had his eventual shot charged down by Stefan Klos.
It looked a crucial miss the moment it happened and Viduka was again wasteful moments later when he broke clear on the right only to miss both Stilian Petrov and Lubomir Moravcik with his cross.
Morten Wieghorst's searching long pass found Viduka after he eluded Lorenzo Amoruso's attentions, but his compatriot Moore closed him down as he bore on goal and made a fine sliding tackle.
By the half-hour the match was becoming a scrappy affair as Celtic seemed to lose heart at not having capitalised on their initial pressure.
Frustration at the conditions turned nasty ahead of the interval as firstly Arthur Numan was booked for fouling Moravcik, an overdue first caution from Jim McCluskey.
The Slovakian was duly yellow-carded himself minutes later for crashing into Numan and the break came at a time when tempers needed to be quelled.
After 49 minutes, Viduka, keen to make amends, teased the Rangers' backline at the edge of the area before unleashing a fierce effort just wide of the mark as the visitors retreated.
The home team needed more in attack with Mahe's weak angled drive no test for Klos - but after 65 minutes they did have the ball in the back of the net only for the effort to be disallowed.
The crowd were furious, but the decision was clear-cut, Viduka handling the ball in a mid-air leap with Amoruso before running on, the flag up on the right, and firing past Klos.
Celtic continued to press forward aware a draw would do their ambitions little good, Moravcik's swirling corner picking out Riseth's head but Klos made an important low save.
On 71 minutes another talking point as after Claudio Reyna fed Albertz he stumbled under challenge from Stubbs with the German midfielder making muted claims for a penalty.
This prompted a furious reaction from the Celtic defender who screamed his displeasure at Albertz who in turn needed to be led away by his team-mates to avoid a full set-to.
Celtic were committing everything to attack and a Rangers break was inevitable, but what happened next was astonishing as McCann was hauled back by Mjallby in the area in the 83rd minute.
Referee McCluskey's first decision was beyond dispute, a penalty, but his second was more surprising as Mjallby escaped being sent off despite denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Albertz stepped up to take the penalty but with half the crowd turning away in anguish he fired it too close to Gould who saved with his legs to keep Celtic's faint title hopes alive.
Rangers were not to be denied, however, as with Celtic's defence still ragged, Van Bronckhorst found Wallace free on the right and he skipped around Gould.
The 86th-minute finish was a simple tap-in for Wallace and even with 12 games remaining it must effectively seal a Championship race which now looks well and truly run.
Celtic: Gould, Riseth, Boyd, Stubbs, Mjallby (Burchill 85), McNamara, Petrov, Wieghorst, Mahe, Moravcik, Viduka.
Subs Not Used: Kerr, Berkovic, Rafael, Blinker.
Booked: Moravcik, Mjallby.
Rangers: Klos, Moore, Amoruso, Numan, Ferguson, Van Bronckhorst, Wallace, Albertz, Reyna, Vidmar, McCann.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Kanchelskis, Rozental, Nicholson, Kerimoglu.
Goals: Wallace 86.
Ref: Jim McCluskey (Scotland).
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