A STUNNING Kyogo Furuhashi strike just before half-time ultimately secured victory over Rangers for an understrength Celtic in the first Old Firm game of the season at Ibrox today and sent the Parkhead club to the top of the cinch Premiership table.

The narrow defeat leaves Rangers in fourth place in the top flight four points behind their city rivals – and piles the pressure on their manager Michael Beale in the wake of the heavy Champions League play-off defeat to PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands on Wednesday night

But Rangers fans were incensed when referee Don Robertson disallowed a Kemar Roofe goal in the first-half after ruling that Rangers striker Cyriel Dessers had fouled Celtic centre-half Gustaf Lagerbielke in the build-up during a lengthy VAR check.

Brendan Rodgers had been feeling the heat a little after a defeat to Kilmarnock in the Viaplay Cup and a draw with St Johnstone in the Premiership. But he got his team selection, tactics and substitutions spot on. The Northern Irishman has now lost just won of the 14 matches against Rangers he has been involved in. 

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So was Robertson right to rule out Roofe’s strike? Were James Tavernier and his team mates hard done by? Or did Callum McGregor and his men deserve to win and take all three points back across the River Clyde? Here are five talking points from an incident-packed match.


With Cameron Carter-Vickers and Maik Nawrocki both sidelined by injury and new loan signing Nat Phillips not fit enough to start, Rodgers had to persevere with Lagerbielke and Liam Scales in the  of his rearguard.   

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It was far from ideal. Lagerbielke, who joined from Elfsborg last month, had only featured in two games for the Scottish champions. Scales, meanwhile, is more of a full-back than a centre-back.

The duo had their work cut out nullifying the threat posed by Dessers, Roofe and Rabbi Matondo in such a hostile arena. Their opposite numbers Connor Goldson and John Souttar were far busier in the opening 45 minutes.

The visitors dominated possession, controlled long periods of play, kept their hosts camped inside their own half, created by far the better scoring opportunities in the final third and should really have taken the lead long before they did.

Was putting Lagerbielke and Scales under pressure and forcing a mistake not a pre-match directive from Beale? Not nearly enough questions were asked of the inexperienced pair during the course of the game.

The Swede and the Irishman stuck to their task manfully throughout and were rewarded with a clean sheet for their efforts. The latter in particular was absolutely immense in difficult circumstances.  


The roar inside Ibrox when Rangers winger Matondo fired beyond Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart after being supplied by Dessers in just the 38th second must have registered on the Richter scale.

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However, the joy proved to be short-lived. Dessers had been well offside when he received the ball and the Matondo effort was disallowed following a check by the VAR officials over at Clydesdale House.

The Rangers followers may have been disappointed – but the evidence was incontrovertible and they grudgingly accepted the decision.

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The same, however, could not be said the second time their heroes had put the ball in the back of the net. Dessers looked to have dispossessed the dithering Lagerbielke just outside the opposition penalty area by legitimate means before squaring to Roofe.

The VAR official was not so sure. Robertson watched a replay of the incident on his pitchside monitor and then ruled that the striker had impeded his opponent. There was certainly contact. But was it enough to merit a free kick? It was a very, very harsh ruling.   


Japanese striker Furuhashi squandered two excellent chances to break the deadlock in the first-half. First of all, he attempted to back heel a Liel Abada cut back beyond Jack Butland and failed to make proper contact. He then fired straight at the goalkeeper after being sent clear by Matt O’Riley.

But did Scotland’s Player of the Year let his head go down? No, he never stops. He continued to demand the ball, make forward runs and snap at the heels of the Rangers defenders. He was rewarded for his work rate in the second minute of added on time at the end of the first half.

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O’Riley nodded a Goldson clearance to his team mate who allowed the ball to bounce on the edge of the area before volleying beyond the helpless Butland. Souttar played him on. He has now scored six times in his last six Old Firm games. There is no more lethal predator in the country.  


Nobody could accuse the Rangers players of not giving their all to equalise after falling behind. They enjoyed the better of the second-half and laid siege to the Celtic goal at times. Matondo, Tavernier, Goldson, Sam Lammers, Danilo and Todd Cantwell all went close to levelling.

Beale certainly went for it in the closing stages. He took off Dessers, Matondo, Roofe, and put on Danilo, Lammers and Abdullah Sima in a bid restore parity. Hart pulled off some exceptional saves. But do Rangers have the quality they need up front to claim the title this term? Their forwards must do better in the coming weeks and months.

If they fail to improve they will continue to get booed off the park by their own supporters.  


Rodgers described Celtic fans not being allowed in to Ibrox for the Rangers game due to the long-running dispute between the boards of the Glasgow clubs over ticket allocations and safety issues as “a shame” on several occasions at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

He was right. The Rangers supporters who crammed inside the famous old Govan ground created quite a din. However, the atmosphere was badly diminished by the absence of their Celtic counterparts. No goal should ever be met with silence.

Sadly, the next league meeting between these two teams at Parkhead in December will be exactly the same.  The sooner some kind of compromise can be agreed the better. This world-famous fixture is just not the same any more.    

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