On this day in 2005 Celtic moved three points clear of nearest rivals Hearts at the top of the SPL and increased the pressure on then Rangers boss Alex McLeish with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Celtic Park.
Big John Hartson shot Gordon Strachan’s side into a 12th minute lead, with the visiting defence posted missing. The visitors were punished for some slack play with Hartson netting his 101st goal for Celtic. Alan Hutton’s poor cross-field pass was cut out by Shunsuke Nakamura, who found Maloney in space on the right. The Scotland youngster delivered a swift low cross into the centre of the penalty box and Hartson swept the ball home with ease.
Cult hero Bobo Balde then glanced in a neat header after 56 minutes doubling the hoops lead. Nakamura turned and twisted before whipping in a great cross for Balde to steer a header beyond Ronald Waterreus, who was preferred to Stefan Klos in the Rangers’ goal.
The visitors to Celtic Park seldom threatened the Celtic defence throughout the game and faded completely once the second goal had been conceded.
Just a few minutes after Bobo’s goal, a delivery from Stilian Petrov was met by Aidan McGeady and the youngster’s side foot finish from 10 yards crept under the outstretched hands of Waterreus.
Celtic did not hit any great heights during the match but coped easily with whatever their opponents could muster and always enjoyed a more creative edge.
This defeat left Rangers trailing Celtic by 15 points in what had been a nightmare start to the season by the Ibrox club. They also lost their biggest goalscoring threat, Croatian striker Dado Prso to injury during the game.
McLeish at the time had been told his position was under review after failing to win any of the last 6 games in what was a disastrous run from September through to November. The winless period actually extended to 10 games at one point, making it a club record.
In December, chairman David Murray publicly announced his support for McLeish. Only a few months later though on 9th February 2006, it was announced by chairman David Murray that McLeish would be standing down as manager at the end of that season. It was later announced that he would be succeeded by former Olympique Lyonnais manager Paul Le Guen.
The 2005–06 Scottish Premier League was won by Celtic, with a 17-point margin over their nearest challengers Hearts in the first season under the management of Gordon Strachan. Rangers, who finished third, failed to finish a Scottish top flight campaign as champions or runners-up for the first time since 1988.
This marked the first time since 1995 that a club outside of the big two in Glasgow finished in the top two.
This was the team line ups on that day:
Celtic: Boruc, Telfer, Camara, Balde, McManus, Petrov, Lennon, Nakamura (Agathe 76), McGeady, Maloney (Thompson 57), Hartson. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Virgo, Lawson, Varga, Wallace.
Rangers: Waterreus, Ricksen, Andrews, Kyrgiakos, Hutton (Lovenkrands 53), Hemdani, Ferguson, Murray, Namouchi, Jeffers, Prso (Thompson 66). Subs Not Used: Klos, Alex Rae, Pierre-Fanfan, Burke, McCormack.
19th November 2005, Celtic 3:0 Rangers.
— Li’l Ze (@LilZe_7) November 19, 2021