Monday, October 3, 2022

Celtic 4-0 Rangers: Abada double seals Old Firm bragging rights in emphatic win

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 3 Sep 2022

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Liel Abada’s first-half double laid the bedrock for a rousing Celtic victory, as they claimed the Old Firm bragging rights with a 4-0 thrashing of Rangers.

Abada was in superb form as he helped fire the hosts to a sixth successive victory of the Scottish Premiership season, with Jota and David Turnbull also on the scoresheet at Celtic Park.

The win moved Ange Postecoglou’s side five points clear at the top ahead of their Champions League meeting with Real Madrid next week.

For Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s visitors however, it laid bare the gulf in quality, and checks the Gers’ momentum before their midweek trip to Ajax.

Celtic had to recover from an early blow when Kyogo Furuhashi, the league’s top scorer, was forced off clutching his shoulder following a collision with John Lundstram.

Yet those early fears turned to joy when Celtic seized the first chance of the game – Abada turning Matt O’Riley’s cross in off Jon McLaughlin’s palm with a lunging volley.

O’Riley provided again for the Bhoys to double the lead, with a superb ball for Jota, who turned home sharply, and Celtic’s fans were in dreamland when Abada doubled his tally with a first-touch finish from six yards out.

With a three-goal deficit to overturn after the break, Rangers had to make some kind of change, with Scott Wright thrown on for Glen Kamara, but that gamble failed to stem the Celtic onslaught.

Celtic seldom let their foot off the pedal, and when McLaughlin played a short goal-kick straight to Turnbull, an easy finish sealed the deal for the hosts in emphatic, dominant fashion.

What does it mean? Celtic cement frontrunner status

Twenty-five goals in the space of six league games is not just an impressive haul, it is positively confirmatory for Celtic’s title hopes, even at this early stage.

Even before their free-scoring performance in the derby, they had not netted as many goals as they had by this stage of any previous SPL season. They look impossible to stop.

Bhoys buck bad starts

The first league Old Firm derby of a season has been won by Rangers in both of the last two campaigns. Before that, Celtic had won four in a row – and now they have shaken off the slow form that has cost them the past two years.

Van Bronckhorst makes unwanted history

Rangers are yet to win an Old Firm league derby under the Dutchman. It makes him the fourth such man to fail to register a win in his first four encounters, after William Wilton in 1892, William Waddell in 1971 and Graeme Murty in 2018.

What’s next?

Both teams enter the Champions League group stages against two European heavyweights, with Celtic welcoming Madrid and Rangers travelling to Ajax.

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