Celtic were beaten at Ibrox this afternoon in the dead final Glasgow Derby match of the season. Having played six, won four, drawn one and lost one, with the latter being a meaningless game in terms of silverware.
Ange Postecoglou’s team will be hurting after the loss, especially given the sloppy nature of the play for large parts of the game. Encouragement can be taken from the chances that were created as well as the knowledge that there was nothing to play for. However, the manager will use the match as an opportunity to learn about some players in his team.
When the team lines were published, it looked as if Ange was using the match as an opportunity to see how players like Alexandro Bernabei, Oh and Kobayashi could cope with the intensity of a Glasgow Derby.
Rangers opened the scoring after five minutes through Cantwell. Lundstrum’s powerful shot was parried into the path of the Englishman, who hit a low drive between the goalkeeper’s legs.
Shortly after the opener, Liel Abada, who returned to the starting XI, played in Oh for a great chance. The South Korean Internationalist took a touch and tried to lift the ball over Robby McCrorie but saw his effort hit the post.
Celtic enjoyed a period of possession but were unable to convert the chances created. It was soon 2-0 after a corner was converted by John Souttar. The former Hearts defender lost Kobayashi at the corner and headed the ball into the net.
There were shouts for a penalty after Goldson hit the ball with his arm as he fell to the ground but neither Steven McLean nor VAR deemed it as a penalty.
Half time came and it did not act as a catalyst for an improved second half unlike Fran Alonso’s Ghirls the other night. Matt O’Riley had a chance but McCrorie clawed it over the bar.
Fashion Sakala, who missed two huge chances in the last two games at Hampden, was gifted a chance to make it 3-0 after uncharacteristic mistakes from Callum McGregor and Carl Starfelt. The Zambian forward rounded Hart and found the net.
Rangers had just 32% possession and 1.68 expected goals. Contrast that with the 68% and an xG of 1.17 from the Scottish Champions. It is a potentially misleading score line but doesn’t escape the reality that Rangers appeared hungry from the get go.
For all we expect to hear about Rangers’ dominance, they benefited from poor play from Celtic but were deserving winners. It will inform Ange about the depth of his squad in defence but also the importance of players like Greg Taylor, Alistair Johnston, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kyogo.
This has been only the second defeat in this domestic campaign thus far. At the end of the day and at the end of the season, Celtic will still be Champions.