Rangers stroll on towards an unbeaten league campaign
Alfredo Morelos celebrates his goal (pic: SNS Group)
Rangers 4 Celtic 1
Rangers stayed on course to finish a league season undefeated for the first time in more than a century after a comfortable victory over their arch rivals.
You have to go back to 1899 to find the last time they completed a top-flight campaign without losing a game but they are now within touching distance of repeating that feat with just two matches remaining.
Steven Gerrard’s champions need to avoid losing at Livingston on Wednesday week and then Aberdeen at home three days later to finish the job off in style.
Goals from Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe (2) and an injury-time effort from Jermain Defoe ensured the Ibrox outfit went undefeated against Celtic in a whole season for the first time in 21 years.
Celtic had to play with ten men for more than hour after Calum McGregor’s dismissal for two yellow cards and the victory meant it was the first time Rangers had won an Old Firm game by three clear goals since a 3-0 at Ibrox in the October of 2007.
“It was a really strong performance. We’ve ran away with it in the end,” said Gerrard.
“It’s been a while since you’ve seen that score line. I’m sure there’s a lot of players and ex-managers who are proud of the team this season. It’s our job to add to it, to keep striving and be better.”
The win underlined how far ahead of their rivals Rangers are, with Celtic facing a major rebuilding job in the summer as they bid to redress the balance.
Dominic McKay has replaced Peter Lawwell as Parkhead chief executive but there has been no decision yet on the managerial front.
Caretaker boss John Kennedy has plugged the gap since Neil Lennon’s departure in February and expectations remain that Eddie Howe will be in charge at the start of the new season.
“It didn’t quite fall into place today. I’m disappointed with the result, massively,” said Kennedy.
“Going down to 10 men puts you on the back foot, but we managed to create within that. Rangers were more clinical once again, but the sending off is the big part of the game.
“The second tackle, he’s on a yellow and he goes to ground and it’s a red card. That’s not a problem. It’s the first yellow. I asked the referee at half time: ‘What did you book McGregor for’?
“He said it was a reckless tackle. I don’t see any recklessness in it. He’s on his feet and Kent has just managed to nip in front of him.”
Goals: Rangers – Morelos, Roofe (2), Defoe; Celtic – Edouard.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Simpson, Barisic (Wright, 79), Kamara, Davis, Aribo, Kent, Roofe (Defoe, 86), Morelos (Hagi, 84).
Celtic: Bain, Kenny, Welsh, Ajer, Taylor, Brown (Soro, 60), McGregor, Forrest (Christie, 60), Turnbull, Elyanoussi, Edouard (Johnston, 75).