Rangers 4-1 Celtic: Kemar Roofe nets twice as Steven Gerrard’s champions beat their Old Firm rivals for the FOURTH time this season to remain on course for undefeated Premiership campaign and 100 points
- Rangers recorded their biggest win over Old Firm rivals Celtic in 14 years
- It continues Rangers’ unbeaten Scottish Premiership campaign with two to play
- Steven Gerrard’s side need four more points to bring up a century of points
- Kemar Roofe chested them in front at Ibrox with an improvised finish
- Celtic’s Callum McGregor picked up two bookings in three crazy minutes
- The 10 men equalised through Odsonne Edouard but it was false hope for Celtic
- Alfredo Morelos lashed home to restore Rangers’ lead and Roofe made it 3-1
- Jermain Defoe came off the bench to set the seal on an emphatic win late on
The transformation is complete. A fixture that once haunted Rangers in the days before Steven Gerrard has now become a source of consistent fun.
For the first time in 21 years, the Ibrox club have gone through an entire top-flight and cup season without losing a single Old Firm game. Not since 2007 have they beaten Celtic by a three-goal margin.
Doing so means Gerrard’s men now stand just two steps away from an Invincible Premiership campaign to add further polish to their title triumph.
Alfredo Morelos celebrates after scoring Rangers’ second goal against Celtic at Ibrox
The Colombian forward lashed home into the top corner from an acute angle to make it 2-1
The joy was evident on the face of Morelos after he restored Rangers’ lead in the Old Firm
Kemar Roofe ghosts in to head home Rangers’ third goal during the second-half at Ibrox
In a sense, this final derby of 2020/21 told the story of a campaign in which Rangers have capitalised fully on the woes of their rivals.
Here, it was the 26th minute dismissal of Callum McGregor – for two yellow cards in the space of three minutes – that coincided with Kemar Roofe’s opening goal. Almost inevitably, more derby dominance followed.
Odsonne Edouard briefly levelled, but Alfredo Morelos thumped Rangers back in front before the break. Roofe then claimed his second before substitute Jermain Defoe added a delightful fourth in stoppage time.
Celtic failed completely in their last game to grab a fig leaf in this season of embarrassment. In a familiar tale, chances were missed.
Roofe celebrates scoring his second goal with James Tavernier and Alfredo Morelos
Jermain Defoe came off the bench to score Rangers’ fourth goal deep into stoppage time
The veteran former England striker was delighted to score his first Old Firm derby goal
Much of the talk pre-match had centred on captain Scott Brown’s 44th and final Old Firm appearance before he departs for Aberdeen. Beaten in the build-up to the Morelos goal, Brown lasted only an hour before being replaced by Ismaili Soro.
Talk of Rangers laying down a marker for next season has to be treated with some caution given Celtic will have a new manager – replacing interim boss John Kennedy – as well as a new skipper when they teams meet again.
In truth, the Ibrox men are too busy enjoying the last embers of this Premiership term. They managed to respond to that painful Scottish Cup exit against St Johnstone in the best possible manner.
There was an initial feel about the first half of players going gently through the motions. In truth, a tame end-of-season affair would hot have surprised. Instead, that notion was blown to smithereens by extraordinary eight-minute spell of combustible action.
In terms of attacking intent, it began on 25 minutes when Brown robbed Joe Aribo, allowing Mohamed Elyounoussi to take over.
Contrasting emotions as Roofe makes it 3-1 with Steven Gerrard celebrating and his Celtic counterpart John Kennedy reacting with disbelief
Rangers’ James Tavernier begins the inquest after Odsonne Edouard equalised for Celtic
Edouard headed 10 man Celtic level from close range as the visitors levelled up the derby
With the Rangers defences backing off, Elyounoussi advanced before unleashing a ferocious 30-yard strike that Allan McGregor appeared to touch onto the bar. Once again, the Ibrox goalkeeper was rising to the occasion. And the fuse had been lit.
Referee Nick Walsh helped it burn. Booking derby debutant Jack Simpson for bumping over Edouard looked a pretty harsh call earlier in the half. It also left him with no room for leniency when Celtic’s McGregor felled Ryan Kent after being taken out by a lovely piece of skill.
That call would prove significant. Within three minutes, Rangers were both a goal and a man up.
McGregor clattered late into Glen Kamara but Walsh rightly allowed play to continue in case an advantage unfolded. It did.
Rangers celebrate after Kemar Roofe handed them the lead with an improvised finish
Roofe deflected the ball home with his chest after reacting quickest inside the Celtic box
Roofe celebrates with Joe Aribo after handing Rangers the advantage early on at Ibrox
Rangers (4-3-3): A. McGregor; Tavernier (c), Goldson, Simpson, Barisic (Wright 79); Aribo, Davis, Kamara; Roofe (Defoe 86), Morelos (Hagi 84), Kent
Substitutes not used: McLaughlin (GK); Itten, Stewart, King
Manager: Steven Gerrard
Scorers: Roofe 26, 58; Morelos 33; Defoe 90+2
Celtic (4-2-3-1): Bain; Kenny, Welsh, Ajer, Taylor; Brown (c) (Soro 60), C. McGregor; Forrest (Christie 60), Turnbull, Elyounoussi; Edouard (Johnston 75)
Substitutes not used: Barkas (GK); Bitton, Griffiths, Ajeti, Ralston, Laxalt
Interim manager: John Kennedy
Scorer: Edouard 30
Booked: McGregor, Elyounoussi
Sent off: McGregor 26
Referee: Nick Walsh
Kent fed it wide to Aribo before accepting a cut-back in return. The £7 million man fired at goal from the edge of the area, with Roofe reacting superbly to alter his body position and divert the ball beyond Bain via his chest.
Walsh hadn’t forgotten the earlier infringement. As the Rangers players ran to Roofe in celebration, he summoned McGregor for another yellow card followed by a red. The official may have painted himself into a corner but there could be no disputing the merits of that second booking.
Being depleted in numbers obviously forced a rejig for Celtic, who had initially set out in a 4-2-3-1 shape following the return of James Forrest. Gerrard also offered a tweak from recent derbies, as Kent was withdrawn into a slightly deeper central role between the forward pairing of Roofe and Morelos.
Any thought of a strategic battle of wits had long since disappeared, though. This was now a breathless exhibition of to-and-fro.
The Parkhead side found parity within four minutes. And lost it again three minutes later.
Their equaliser came after a Jonjoe Kenny cross threaten to loop in until McGregor tipped it over. David Turnbull swung over the corner, Kris Ajer headed back across goal and Edouard nodded in.
Instantly, Rangers sought a response. Bain had to save from Roofe and Aribo before the Celtic defence simply couldn’t get out after a Borna Barisic corner.
Morelos picked up on the right and nicked the ball through Brown’s legs as he sized up his options. Power was picked. A thunderous left-foot shot flew past Bain and into the top corner of the net.
After 14 Old Firm appearances without a goal, Morelos now has two in his last three against Celtic. His delight in this one was clear – and likely intensified by seeing an earlier opportunity slip away from a brilliant James Tavernier cross.
Celtic’s Callum McGregor was sent off for this challenge on Glen Kamara on 26 minutes
McGregor was booked a couple of minutes earlier and was dismissed after a second yellow
Again, though, the visitors could have levelled. Ajer could have done more to block the Morelos goal, yet showed the positive side of his game by charging forward and sliding in Forrest. Cutting onto his left-foot was the wrong call and the chance was blocked.
Kennedy sent Celtic back out in a something akin to a 4-3–2 shape but saw another opportunity wasted ten minutes after the restart.
A terrific cross from the right by Forrest found Turnbull at the near post. He should have scored, but angled a mis-connected header across goal and wide.
Two minutes later, Rangers made victory safe. Roofe pirouetted around 22 yards out and fed the ball left for Barisic before getting himself into the area. No-one in green-and-white tracked the run. Barisic delivered perfect and Roofe headed in.
Edouard and Ajer had chances to reduce the deficit but it was Defoe who had the final say. Twisting this way and that, he bamboozled Stephen Welsh before slotting home.
Celtic captain Scott Brown and Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos exchange words
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