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SPL wrap: Old Firm derby ends goalless

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 24 Apr 2011

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The Scottish Premier League title race is still too close to call after leaders Rangers drew 0-0 at home to second-placed Celtic.

Celtic missed a chance to overhaul their fierce rivals when Greek striker Georgios Samaras had a penalty saved with eight minutes remaining at Ibrox Stadium.

Sunday’s draw leaves defending champions Rangers top by one point with four matches left.

Celtic, meanwhile, have five games still to come, leaving Neil Lennon’s team slim favourites to collect their first league championship since 2008.

The match was played against a backdrop of mounting sectarian tension after a parcel bomb was sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

But despite the usual deafening atmosphere inside Ibrox, the match appeared to pass without incident in the stands.

The same cannot be said on the pitch, where a full-blooded encounter never appeared likely to end in a goalless draw.

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor had to keep out shots from Daniel Majstorovic, Charlie Mulgrew and Emilio Izaguirre.

And the Scotland international confirmed his status as the hero of the day for the home team when he pushed clear the 82nd-minute spot-kick of Samaras after substitute Anthony Stokes was fouled inside the box.

Rangers might also have broken the deadlock with chances to Kyle Lafferty, Maurice Edu and Steven Naismith.

Stokes was booked for diving late on by referee Craig Thompson after an unconvincing attempt to claim a second penalty for the visitors.

But with neither side able to claim the decisive goal, a stalemate leaves everything to play for over the closing weeks of the campaign.

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