Glasgow Derby Review: Glasgow is Green and White

Not for the first time this season, Glasgow is Green and White after goals from Kyogo (2) and Jota sealed another Glasgow Derby win for Celtic.  The victory, Celtic’s 16th in a row, leaves the Champions 12 points clear of Rangers with 7 games to play and moves a second successive title to within touching distance.

Going into the game, much of the pre-match discussion was centred around the absence of Reo Hatate and who would make up the Celtic midfield.  As suggested in the preview blog, Ange decided to recall Aaron Mooy, at the expense of Tomoki Iwata, to play alongside Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley in the middle of the park.

However, a curveball was thrown into the mix from the Rangers starting line up with John Souttar replacing injured captain Connor Goldson in defence, partnering one-time Celtic target Ben Davies.

In front of a packed Celtic Park with a capacity crowd of 60,000 Celtic supporters the stage was set for a thrilling 90 minutes.  Victory for Celtic would all but seal the title, while a Rangers win could conceivably re-open the title race.

Paul John Dykes, Lawrence Connolly, Liam Carrigan, and Kevin McCluskie discussed their pre-match thoughts, including the potential weakness at the heart of the Rangers defence.


Celtic started the match in uncharacteristic fashion, looking nervous and conceding possession cheaply to their opponents who looked to take confidence from Celtic’s slack play.

Kyogo had the ball in the next after 6 minutes with a wonderful finish after latching on to a ball over the top from the impressive Alistair Johnston, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

Despite not settling into a rhythm, Celtic continued to create half chances; McGregor and Jota both forcing saves from the Rangers keeper inside the opening 20 minutes, and before the first major talking point of the game when Alfredo Morelos had a goal disallowed on 21 minutes.

The Colombian forward was involved in a tussle with Johnston at a Rangers corner which ended with the forward shoving Johnston to the ground before poking home.  Kevin Clancy did not hesitate to disallow the goal, however, the call did split opinion during the half-time show.

Morelos’ disallowed goal roused an instant reaction from Celtic who took the lead 5 minutes later when Kyogo was on hand to control and finish a Matt O’Riley cut back to give the Hoops the advantage.

Jota again went close for Celtic before McGregor and Raskin were booked following a flashpoint after a foul on Johnston.

With the half almost over, James Tavernier levelled the scores with a fantastic freekick that crashed in off the underside of the bar.  Not at their best by any means, Celtic had had their advantage stolen from them on the stroke of the halftime.


Clearly motivated by their equaliser, Rangers started the second half well and could easily have gone in front were it not for a great reaction save from Joe Hart to deny Morelos from close range.

Mooy, who had struggled with the pace of the game in the first half, continued to do at the start of the second and was replaced by Iwata on the hour as Celtic looked to gain a stranglehold on the midfield.

Within 2 minutes of Iwata’s introduction Celtic had regained the lead as Kyogo, once again, put Rangers to the sword.

Jota’s cross from the right was half cleared by Davies who then made a hash of completing the clearance under pressure from Jota.  When the ball fell to Kyogo there was only ever one outcome as the Japanese goal king smashed his shot into the net.

At this stage, Celtic had finally gained control of the game and were sensing blood.  The killer blow was struck on 73 minutes when Jota latched onto a slack back pass from John Souttar, rounded Alan McGregor and slotted home.

The finish was reminiscent of Larsson’s 50th goal of the 2000/01 season.  The celebration reminiscent of Jinky.  The scorer; a man on his way to becoming a club favourite in his own right.

Ange threw on Oh and Hakšabanović in an attempt to inflict more misery on the Ibrox club, but inadvertently allowed Rangers back in as Celtic adapted to a new shape.

Tavernier pulled one back with 12 minutes to play and gave the visitors renewed hope.

A change of formation back to the usual 4-3-3 with Bernabei entering the fray saw Celtic shore up at the back and see out the remaining minutes to claim the three points.  There was even time for Bernabei to attempt a square pass to no one when clean through on McGregor.

The overall performance may not have been pretty, it may be far from Celtic’s best under Ange, but these are the wins that make Champions.


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