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Celtic 5 Rangers 1: Hat-trick hero Dembele secures Old Firm bragging rights

Moussa Dembele scored a hat-trick and created another as Celtic secured bragging rights in the Old Firm derby with a 5-1 rout of Rangers on Saturday.

The former Fulham striker may not have even started the contest at Celtic Park had Leigh Griffiths not missed out with a calf injury.

Dembele proved Celtic’s hero, though, opening his Scottish Premiership account for the club when afforded a free header at a corner before doubling the lead with a clever finish in the 42nd minute.

Joe Garner brought Rangers back into the game on the stroke of half-time, but Dembele played in Scott Sinclair to make it 3-1 on the hour before the visitors had debutant Philippe Senderos sent off for a second bookable offence.

Dembele then completed his dream afternoon with a drilled finish in the closing stages and Stuart Armstrong added a fifth in stoppage time as Brendan Rodgers was left to celebrate three points in his first Glasgow derby as Celtic manager.

It was a deserved victory for Celtic in what was the first league encounter between the teams since 2012 due to Rangers’ demotion to the fourth tier after their liquidation. 

However, the opening half an hour failed to match the electric atmosphere in the stands with few chances of note.

But the game burst into life in the 33rd minute. Dembele was afforded a free run from Sinclair’s corner and the striker accepted the gift with a powerful header that cannoned in off the right post.

And Celtic fans were celebrating again when Dembele showed great pace to meet Nir Bitton’s ball over the top before easily cutting inside Senderos and beating Wes Foderingham with a neat outside-of-the-boot finish.

Rangers were back in it a minute before half-time with their first meaningful attack. 

James Tavernier’s deep cross from the right was brilliantly headed back across goal by Kenny Miller and nodded in on the line by Garner.

But Celtic’s two-goal lead was re-established on the hour mark.

Dembele was once again influential and his excellent throughball found Sinclair, who clinically slid his shot past Foderingham and off the right post.

There was worse to come for Rangers when Senderos’ bow came to an end with a blatant deliberate handball when he misjudged the bounce of the ball. 

Dembele put the gloss on a classy performance by controlling Mikael Lustig’s cross brilliantly before drilling across Foderingham and it was 5-1 in injury time when Kieran Tierney’s low ball from the left was met by Armstrong, who took a touch of feet and placed a low effort past the goalkeeper.

 

Sat 10 Sep, 2016
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