Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rangers 1 Celtic 2: Dembele and Sinclair rise to Old Firm occasion once again

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 31 Dec 2016

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Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair once again proved key men in an Old Firm derby as Celtic fought back to beat fierce rivals Rangers 2-1 on Saturday.

Runaway leaders Celtic battered Rangers 5-1 in their last Scottish Premiership encounter in September, with Dembele bagging a hat-trick and Sinclair also on target.

The Gers were much better on this occasion and deservedly took the lead through former Celtic striker Kenny Miller in the 12th minute.

But Dembele, who was also the match-winner in a 1-0 Scottish League Cup win over the Gers in October, smashed home the equaliser shortly after Sinclair had hit the post.

Dembele also hit the woodwork in a second half dominated by the visitors before Sinclair tapped in the winner to ensure that the bragging rights and a 19-point gap at the top of the table belong to Celtic.

Rangers were fast out of the traps and Jason Holt had already tested Craig Gordon, celebrating his 34th birthday, before the hosts opened the scoring.

James Tavernier combined brilliantly with Josh Windass on the right of the area before drilling a cross along the six-yard box where Miller prodded home on the slide at the back post.

Celtic had offered little going forward, but Sinclair struck the right post after a swift counter-attack and shortly after the visitors were level.

Dembele brilliantly controlled Sinclair’s corner from the left before smashing a ferocious effort high past Wes Foderingham from 12 yards.

Celtic continued in the ascendancy after the break and Dembele wastefully fluffed his lines from eight yards before James Forrest was denied one-on-one by Foderingham.

Dembele was then unfortunate to see an athletic attempt hit the crossbar from Callum McGregor’s cross with Sinclair drilling the rebound into the side-netting.

Sinclair was also denied by Foderingham, while at the other end Gordon did well to keep out Danny Wilson’s point-blank header.

Celtic’s pressure finally told in the 71st minute. Substitute Patrick Roberts slipped in Stuart Armstrong on the right of the area and his ball across the six-yard box was tapped in by Sinclair.

Miller almost stole a point for Rangers when he hit the post on a swift Rangers counter, but Celtic – who went close to a third through Armstrong and Sinclair in the closing stages – made it 15 league wins in a row, their best run since February 2014.

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