Rangers won’t have a better chance under Gerrard
Rangers defeated Celtic 2-1 at Celtic Park on Sunday to go within two points of the Bhoys with a game in hand – the title is in their hands.
It is always one of the most hotly anticipated fixtures on the British football calendar even though they play each other at least three times a year.
Celtic and Rangers have a hatred for one another which is palpable usually within the first thirty seconds of a game when challenges begin flying in at pace.
However, today it was the narrow underdogs that would enjoy the bragging rights in Glasgow as Rangers won on Celtic’s home patch for the first time in nine years.
They took the lead thanks to Ryan Kent’s sweeping finish which clipped the bottom of the post following a good pass from left-back Borna Barisic.
Celtic, who had earlier missed a penalty at 0-0, weren’t behind for long however – they managed to find an equaliser in fairly fortuitous circumstances.
Callum McGregor’s long-range strike deflected off Odsonne Edouard’s arm and ended up in the back of the net in a goal which was allowed to stand.
However, the Gers came out pumped up in the second half and scored what proved to be the winning goal just before the hour mark.
From Celtic’s perspective, it was soft – a corner was sent in and defender Nikola Katic nodded in from close range.
Alfredo Morelos, of course, had to get involved and as usual, in an Old Firm derby, it wasn’t in a scoring sense.
The Colombian was dismissed for a second yellow card after diving in injury-time while trying to waste away the last precious few seconds Celtic had to equalise.
Nevertheless, Rangers held on for what could be a vital win – and be significant in them reaching their objectives.
For Gerrard’s second season, the remit was clear – knock Celtic off their perch.
Last season displayed promise as Rangers finished second and nine points behind Celtic as opposed to third and 12 points the year before.
If Rangers win their game in hand, they will go top of the table which could have a huge psychological impact.
Their squad looks so much stronger this season than in recent times if they do drop.
Morelos is set to be suspended so Jermain Defoe will come into the mix – and the 37-year-old has scored 14 goals across all competitions.
Sheyi Ojo and Brandon Barker didn’t even make it off the bench at Park Head, while Greg Stewart and Jordan Jones weren’t even included in the squad – those four players could easily get in most starting line ups across the rest of the division.
In midfield, they have the solidity of Ryan Jack and Glen Kamara, while Steven Davis provides that bit of class.
Celtic have not been at their optimum best this season and still have certain players learning the rigours of the Scottish Premiership.
If Rangers don’t capitalize this season, you have to wonder when they will; their squad is arguably better than Celtic’s, and they have the momentum of a historic Old Firm win.
With that in mind, Steven Gerrard will not allow any slip-ups (no pun intended) for the rest of the season. This is their chance to become top dogs in Scotland. They must not pass it up.