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2008-03-29: Rangers 1-0 Celtic, Premier League
|Match Pictures | Matches:2007 - 2008 | 2007-2008 Pictures|
- McGregor is first Rangers goalie to have 4 clean sheets in 4 old firm games in a row.
- League is over for us, Rangers effectively sealed it today.
- Well so they thought!!
ReviewLeague is over, with Rangers now effectively 6pts in front with a game in hand. Disappointing for Celtic in this game as we dominated the first half yet made nothing of it which lead Rangers to sneak a goal and coast the ret of the game. An abject Rangers team and we still lost, but that pitch was a disgrace!
McGregor, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Whittaker, Dailly, Thomson (Adam 77), Davis (Naismith 80), Ferguson, McCulloch, Darcheville (Novo 68).
Subs Not Used:- Alexander, Boyd, Furman, McMillan.
Booked:- Thomson, Dailly, Naismith.
Scorer:- Thomson 45.
Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Scott Brown, Hartley (Robson 81), McGeady, Vennegoor of Hesselink (McDonald 79), Samaras.
Subs Not Used:- Mark Brown, Wilson, Sno, Donati, O'Dea.
Booked:- Vennegoor of Hesselink, McManus, Naylor, Boruc, Scott Brown
Ref: S Dougal (Scotland).
KDS MOTM:- Hinkel (Link to MOTM Winners)
- Match Report (see end of page below)
RANGERS v CELTIC
Rangers 1-0 Celtic
Kevin Thomson's strike proved enough to give Rangers an Old Firm win and take them six points clear at the top
Richard Aikman and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 29 March 2008 14.54 GMT
Thomson wheels away in delight after scoring the winning goal that clinched Rangers' Old Firm win at Ibrox. Photograph: Stephen Pond/PA
Rangers strengthened their hold on the Scottish Premier League after Kevin Thomson's first-half strike gave the leaders an Old Firm win at Ibrox to take them six points clear of Celtic at the top of the division and still with a game in hand.
Thomson scored out of the blue when he started and finished a fantastic move at the end of a scrappy first half and thereafter Celtic never really created enough clear-cut opportunities to get back into the match. Scott Brown had earlier missed a presentable opportunity for the visitors when his close-range shot was saved by Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor and he subsequently hit the post from an improbable angle but, with the interval approaching, Thomson hared into the Celtic penalty area, worked a superb one-two with Jean-Claude Darcheville, and slotted past Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc to bring the home fans to their feet.
Although Rangers welcomed back Barry Ferguson, Allan McGregor, Christian Dailly and Lee McCulloch, all of whom missed Scotland's friendly against Croatia on Wednesday night, they struggled to press home their advantage against a determined Celtic lineup, which manager Gordon Strachan decided to deploy without striker Scott McDonald in favour of an untried starting strike partnership of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Georgios Samaras.
The huge punt aimed towards Vennegoor of Hesselink straight from kick-off indicated how the visitors were set to play - his clumsy foul on Weir setting the tone for the opening exchanges. A frantic, disjointed and mostly aerial battle ensued with the ball seeing little of the grass as it sped from corner to corner and end to end. Amid the early chaos, Vennegoor of Hesselink stabbed an Aiden McGeady cross past the near post after six minutes and, a minute later, McCulloch came close at the other end when he climbed high at the back post to head Thomson's free-kick just wide of Boruc's left-hand post.
Brown missed a chance to break the deadlock when he glided on to a clever chip from Samaras deep inside the Rangers penalty area, but the ball would not sit up well enough for the former Hibernian midfielder to allow good contact on his shot, allowing McGregor to save comfortably. It was all getting messy with Vennegoor of Hesselink, Thomson and Dailly picking up yellow cards before Brown struck the outside of McGregor's post from an acute angle. With half-time looming Thomson was rewarded for his initiative when he set off on an incisive run, received Darcheville's return pass and calmly dispatched it right-footed past Boruc.
Within three minutes of the re-start Nakamura picked out Vennegoor of Hesselink with a pinpoint free-kick but again McGregor saved with ease. Lee Naylor's booking for dissent in the 57th minute - which took the yellow card tally to five - was more evidence that the tide had turned in the Ibrox side's favour but there was little to keep either goalkeeper occupied.
Celtic gradually pushed forward with increasing confidence, earning several corners and putting the hosts on the back foot for prolonged periods. In the 64th minute Andreas Hinkel was denied by McGregor after he cut inside and unleashed a ferocious 30-yard drive which McGregor tipped wide with a full-stretch dive to his left.
Celtic were growing increasingly frustrated as the prospect of slipping to their fourth consecutive Old Firm defeat and, worse still, almost certainly relinquishing their title to their dreaded rivals, and both McManus and Naylor were fortunate not to see a second yellow card as referee Stuart McDougal showed some leniency.
As the game became more fraught substitute Steven Naismith found his way into McDougal's notebook, while Thomson, the goalscorer, was stretchered off after falling awkwardly after being challenged on the edge of the penalty area. As the clock ticked down Celtic resorted to hopeful long punts into the Rangers penalty area in the hope of a lucky break but it was Rangers who came closest to scoring in the dying seconds, Boruc tipping Charlie Adam's powerful effort over the bar after a delightful defence-splitting pass by Nacho Novo.
The honours went to Rangers, who must now be strong favourites to wrest the title away from Celtic even if there are still two more Old Firm derbies before the end of the season.
Rangers 1-0 CelticBy David Sharp
Kevin Thomson celebrates scoring for Rangers
The outstanding Kevin Thomson scored the crucial winning goal
Kevin Thomson picked an opportune moment to score his first goal for Rangers as they went six points clear of Celtic at the top of the SPL.
Celtic settled first and Scott Brown squandered two superb chances when his control deserted him in the box.
On 44 minutes, Thomson played a clever one-two with Jean-Claude Darcheville before tucking the ball under Artur Boruc to give the home side the lead.
Allan McGregor made a terrific save from Andreas Hinkel's goal-bound drive.
McGregor, Barry Ferguson, Christian Dailly and Lee McCulloch all returned from injury after missing Scotland's friendly against Croatia in midweek.
Frenchman Jean-Claude Darcheville made his Old Firm debut as the lone striker.
But his striking counterpart Scott McDonald was left on the bench by Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, with Georgios Samaras partnering Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink up front.
Straight from kick-off, Boruc launched a huge punt aimed at the head of Vennegoor of Hesselink as Celtic indicated how they were set to play.
It was a typically frantic, disjointed and mostly aerial battle from the start, with both sides engaging in an extended game of heady tennis.
Vennegoor of Hesselink failed to connect with Aiden McGeady's menacing cross, while McCulloch flashed a header just wide at the other end.
Celtic were enjoying marginally the better of the early possession without posing any real threat until Samaras threaded a neat ball into the path of Brown in the Rangers box.
The midfielder found himself clean through on McGregor.
But, as he attempted to shoot, the ball got caught under his feet and the Rangers goalkeeper did well to scramble the ball away.
Brown ghosted in at the Rangers back-post after 32 minutes, latching on to Samaras' weak header, but he was again thwarted by McGregor.
Rangers were dangerous on the counter-attack and created a flurry of chances in the space of the four minutes approaching half-time.
First, Carlos Cuellar had a header cleared off the line then Ferguson's snap-shot from 12 yards was saved by Boruc.
A quick Celtic break saw Brown in space inside the Rangers box, but again his touch let him down and Rangers punished the mistake, countering at speed.
The impressive Thomson gathered the ball on the edge of the Celtic penalty area and ran towards goal.
He prodded the ball through to Jean-Claude Darcheville, who timed his return pass to perfection.
Thomson ran on to it and swept the ball low under Boruc for a classy finish.
The Ibrox side were spraying the ball about with confidence after the break as Celtic struggled to get possession.
But Hinkel brought out an athletic save from McGregor after 64 minutes when he unleashed a rising left-foot shot from 25 yards.
McGregor leapt to tip the ball over the bar to retain Rangers slender advantage.
Rangers substitute Nacho Novo twice broke clear in the final 10 minutes, but Boruc was equal to his rifled efforts.
Charlie Adam should have put the match beyond Celtic with minutes to go but his shot lacked conviction and Boruc again saved easily.
Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Whittaker, Dailly, Thomson (Adam 77), Davis (Naismith 80), Ferguson, McCulloch, Darcheville (Novo 68).
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Boyd, Furman, McMillan.
Booked: Thomson, Dailly, Naismith.
Goals: Thomson 45.
Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Scott Brown, Hartley (Robson 81), McGeady, Vennegoor of Hesselink (McDonald 79), Samaras.
Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Wilson, Sno, Donati, O'Dea.
Booked: Vennegoor of Hesselink, McManus, Naylor, Boruc, Scott Brown.
Ref: S Dougal (Scotland).
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