In what was billed as a contest that could prove to be a pivotal showdown in this year’s Premiership title battle, Celtic cruised their way to a routine 3-0 romp against their arch-rivals on Wednesday night.
Claiming Old Firm bragging rights for the first time in over two years, there is no doubt that the Hoops’ midweek display at Celtic Park will be remembered as one of the most iconic nights of Ange Postecoglou’s tenure.
Skyrocketing their way to the top of the table after a stunning first-half display in front of a sold-out Glasgow crowd, we have taken a look at the main talking points as Celtic laid down their marker on home soil.
Celtic run rampant in Glasgow
Opening up the New Year riding a real wave and making it no secret that they have their sights set on reclaiming their Premiership crown this season, Celtic certainly had all eyes on them here.
Opening up Wednesday’s meeting in Glasgow knowing that they had the chance to leapfrog their bitter rivals, Ange Postecoglou’s men really came flying out the traps as they were backed by a noisy support at Celtic Park.
With January arrival Reo Hatate finding the net on his debut against Hearts at Tynecastle last month, the Japanese international didn’t have to take long to add to his tally in midweek.
Watching his deflected effort find a way past Alan McGregor after just five minutes, Hatate really put in another Man of the Match performance and spearheaded a rampant first-half display on home soil.
Bagging his second of the night after producing a wonderful bending effort from the edge of the box moments before the break, Celtic practically wrapped up Old Firm bragging rights just seconds later.
With Liel Abada finally finding a way past McGregor at the fourth attempt thanks to a glanced finish, Postecoglou was right to praise what was a remarkable night’s work from his side on Wednesday.
Asked few questions and with Joe Hart basically a spectator down the other end, can anyone stop Celtic this year?
Tough questions for Rangers and their new boss
While Rangers’ team bus might have been given quite the send-off when leaving Ibrox on Wednesday evening, their trip to Glasgow in midweek quickly turned into a real nightmare for the defending Scottish champions.
Watching Steven Gerrard make the move to Premier League outfit Aston Villa back in November, it is fair to say that the Blues have largely struggled to immediately find their feet under new boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
Eventually having to settle for an action-packed 3-3 draw away at Ross County last weekend, Rangers will only come under more scrutiny for the way that they were blown away at the hands of their arch-rivals.
Despite taking the decision to make a trio of changes during the half-time break, the one-time Feyenoord boss saw his side fail make any real impact in Glasgow.
With shock Deadline Day arrival Aaron Ramsey not included in their squad as the Welsh international seeks match fitness, it is hard to find any kind of positives van Bronckhorst’s side to leave Celtic Park with.
While one-time Liverpool starlet Ryan Kent might have seen his 30-yard thunderbolt come crashing off of Hart’s crossbar with 15 minutes left on the clock, Rangers will know they now face a stern test if they’re to defend their Premiership crown.
Celtic’s rise under Postecoglou continues
Opening the 2021/22 campaign with a defeat away at Tynecastle, it was no secret that Celtic found themselves at the heart of a real struggle last year.
However, while the Hoops might have been tipped as a real outsider to reclaim their Premiership crown just a few months ago, Wednesday’s hosts are now enjoying a stunning purple patch under Postecoglou.
Storming their way to a 3-0 win and laying down a real marker in Glasgow, the one-time Melbourne Victory boss has seen his side storm their way on a 14-match unbeaten run across all competitions, a run that stems back to November 25th.
Knowing that the winner of this year’s domestic crown will guarantee an automatic spot in next season’s Champions League group stage, the mood in Postecoglou’s will be at a red-hot high.
Claiming their first Old Firm victory in over two years here, there is no doubt that Celtic have really played their way into pole position for this year’s title chase.
Celtic: Hart, Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, Hatate, McGregor, O’Riley, Abada, Giakoumakis, Jota
Subs: Soro, McCarthy, Forrest, Maeda, Doak
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic, Arfield, Kamara, Ayodele-Aribo, Diallo, Roofe, Kent
Subs: Jack, Sakala, Balogun
Goals: Hatate 5′, 42′, Abada 44′
Yellow Cards: Celtic: McGregor, Doak – Rangers: Tavernier, Bassey, Balogun
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Bobby Madden
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!