Bhoys claim Old Firm win
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
A Craig Bellamy-inspired Celtic moved five points clear of Rangers with a 2-1 win.A Craig Bellamy-inspired Celtic moved five points clear of Rangers with a 2-1 win in the Old Firm derby.
The speedy striker produced 45 minutes of top class football and capped his display with a stunning goal, with the other coming from Stilian Petrov, as Celtic stunned their hosts at Ibrox.
The Bhoys now hold a commanding advantage at the summit of The SPL and on this form the title is theirs to lose, but there could yet be a twist as Bellamy limped off moments after half time with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and Martin O'Neill's men do not appear the same force without the Welsh marksman.
Bellamy made his intentions known as early as the second minute, as he went on a probing run which was stopped by a posse of Rangers defenders.
The Newcastle United loanee was the architect of the opening chance, as his dazzling run resulted in Neil Lennon firing in a shot which was beaten out by Ronald Waterreus.
Nacho Novo fired wildly over for Rangers as they struggled to make their mark and Celtic took the lead on 22 minutes when Petrov guided a superb header into the corner from a teasing Didier Agathe cross.
The Bhoys doubled their advantage 12 minutes before the break, as Bellamy proved exactly why he is such a bonus to Celtic's title push.
His run down the left was tracked by Sotirios Krygiakos, but the defender was no match for the proven Premiership quality of Bellamy, as he cut inside before curling a fine strike beyond Waterreus and into the corner.
The second goal prompted Rangers to emerge from their slumber, with Gregory Vignal and Dado Prso testing David Marshall with fine shots.
Moments before the break, Celtic survived a real scare as Marvin Andrews climbed highest at a corner, but his powerful header thudded against the crossbar.
With Bellamy limping out of the piece, Celtic were content to hold their advantage and it was understandably Rangers who called the tune.
Hamed Namouchi headed over, Nacho Novo saw Marshall make a fine save before Jackie McNamara cleared his effort off the line, while Agathe did the same from Krygiakos ten minutes from time.
Craig Beattie replaced Bellamy and he wasted a great chance when shooting over when well clear.
Rangers grabbed a lifeline two minutes from time when Steve Thompson powered home at the far post, but Celtic held firm to claim a stranglehold on the title race.
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|9||Shots on Target||6|
|10||Shots off Target||5|