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Top Ten Old Firm derbies

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Ahead of Sunday's Old Firm derby at Ibrox, skysports.com takes a look at a few classic encounters from the modern era

Real Madrid against Barcelona may be dubbed El Clasico and Boca Juniors versus River Plate may be the Superclasico, but try telling any Rangers or Celtic fan that those games are any bigger than their Old Firm derby.

Few would be brave, or stupid, enough to suggest such a thing, with clashes between Glasgow's heavyweights invariably producing fireworks both on and off the field.

The Bhoys and the Gers have been doing battle for over a century and it is fair to say that the relationship between the two local neighbours has always been frosty at least.

Whenever Celtic and Rangers go head-to-head there is more than just three points at stake and tensions have been known to boil over once or twice.

To those in the stands these games are as much about social superiority as they are about sporting supremacy, while those on the field know that anything less than 100 per cent will not be tolerated.

A quick glance through the Old Firm history book suggests there have been far too many classic/memorable encounters down the years to squeeze into a Top Ten, with both sides of the divide having enjoyed bragging rights over their local rivals at some stage or another.

A few which leap off the page include a 5-0 victory for Rangers in 1893/94, their first derby success, a 6-2 win for Celtic at Parkhead in 1938/39, a 7-1 mauling for Rangers in 1957/58 and a 5-1 success for the Gers in 1988/89.

The game has also been noted for a number of 'incidents' down the years, with Paul Gascoigne's flute-playing antics and countless questionable gestures from Artur Boruc a couple of the more recent.

It is quickly becoming clear that to try and cover the entire history of this epic contest, and do it justice, is too great a task for one man.

With that in mind, skysports.com will therefore focus their attention on the SPL era and offer up 10 enthralling encounters between Celtic and Rangers from the last decade or so.

1998 - Celtic 5 Rangers 1

Things do not get much better than putting five past your arch-rivals on home soil, and that is precisely what Celtic managed in November 2001. The opening Old Firm contest of the 1998/99 campaign had been a forgettable affair, with a goalless draw played out at Ibrox. The touch paper was lit, however, when attentions turned to Parkhead, with Hoops supporters left in dreamland. Lubo Moravcik set the wheels in motion after just 11 minutes, before the Slovak striker doubled the home side's lead minutes after the interval. Swedish sensation Henrik Larsson then bagged a quick-fire brace either side of a Giovanni van Bronckhurst reply for Rangers to put the tie to bed. Mark Burchill rounded off the scoring in the final minute, but the party was already in full flow by the time he wrapped up Celtic's most convincing success over Rangers in 30 years.

1999 - Rangers 2 Celtic 2

This fixture was a real New Year treat for those in attendance at Ibrox, with the action on the field helping to warm the cockles of those who had braved the January cold. For 39 minutes it appeared as though the game could be one to push to the back of the mind, but suddenly it sprang to life once Alan Stubbs became the unlikely source for an opening goal. Gabriel Amato - another name which rarely springs to mind when recalling Old Firm classics - levelled matters before the interval, before Rod Wallace fired the Gers in front after 58 minutes. Having turned the tie on its head they were unable to hang onto their lead, though, and Henrik Larsson plundered an equaliser eight minutes later. A point apiece was probably a fair reflection on an entertaining contest, but both sets of supporters trudged off afterwards feeling their side could have taken more.

1999 - Rangers 4 Celtic 2

The 1999/00 campaign proved to be a fruitful one for Rangers as they successfully negotiated four Old Firm dates without suffering defeat. They would also end the season as SPL champions, taking the crown a full 21 points clear of Celtic's challenge in second. An early success over the Hoops undoubtedly helped their cause, with confidence aplenty taken from a come-from-behind 4-2 victory at Ibrox. Jonatan Johansson edged the Gers ahead after 21 minutes, only for Eyal Berkovic to grab a first half brace to turn the tide in favour of the men in green and white. Jorg 'The Hammer' Albertz ensured the scores were level at the interval though as he converted from the spot. Lorenzo Amoruso proved to be a useful provider of goals during his time with Rangers and he restored their advantage shortly after the re-start. Celtic huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser, but they saw their hopes extinguished once Gabriel Amato - yes, him again - put the seal on a six-goal thriller.

2000 - Celtic 6 Rangers 2

This was an era of classic Old Firm derbies, with the 2000/01 season seeing both sides enjoy a crushing success over their fiercest rivals. Celtic were first up, prevailing 6-2 in one of the most end-to-end contests in recent memory. A balmy day in late August provided the setting with Chris Sutton enjoying one of those days at Parkhead. In his first taste of the all-Glasgow affair, the one-cap England international grabbed the first and final goal of the afternoon, in the first and final minute. In between, Stilyan Petrov and Paul Lambert had helped to fire Celtic in front early on. Claudio Reyna and Billy Dodds restored some pride for Rangers, sandwiching yet another goal from the talismanic Henrik Larsson. The Gers may have felt they were still in with a shout at 4-2 down with over half-an-hour to go, but another from Larsson and Sutton's late show soon put a stop to such thoughts.

2000 - Rangers 5 Celtic 1

The scars of their humiliating defeat at Parkhead three months earlier were still sore by the time Rangers reconvened with their old adversaries on home soil. The Gers would leave it late before exacting their revenge, but exact they did - in spectacular fashion. Barry Ferguson's 34th minute opener had given the home support hope that this could be their day, but Henrik Larsson - who else - restored parity 11 minutes into the second half. The Gers could easily have crumbled at this point, but instead they rose to the challenge ahead of them and plundered four goals in a dramatic final 30 minutes. Tore Andre Flo, Ronald de Boer, Lorenzo Amoruso and Michael Mols were the heroes for the home side, leaving the blue half of Glasgow positively beaming.

2002 - Celtic 3 Rangers 3

Rangers would claim a last-gasp success over Celtic in the Scottish Cup over the course of the next two years, but in the league the action failed to reach the heights Old Firm fans had grown accustomed to. Then, in October 2002, the first derby of the new season conjured up another six-goal thriller. The clash at Parkhead would swing from one side to the other so often throughout the course of the afternoon that it is a miracle any fans walked away from the ground with nails, hair and a heartbeat. Mikel Arteta brought the game roaring to life inside six minutes, only for the irrepressible Henrik Larsson to tip the balance towards the Hoops with two goals either side of the interval. However, just seconds after he had the hosts in front, Ronald de Boer had the Gers back on level terms. Georgian goal machine Shota Arveladze then had Rangers supporters dreaming of a rare success behind enemy lines with 15 minutes remaining, but Chris Sutton brought those lofty aspirations crashing back down to earth three minutes later. All in all, the type of game with does not allow for a lot of breathing and tends to be watched through the gaps between your fingers.

2005 - Rangers 3 Celtic 1

Not necessarily a fixture which falls into the same thrills and spills category of some of the games already mentioned, but this clash in August 2005 provided plenty of talking points to keep fans amused until the next Old Firm date rolled around - and plenty more after that. The first incident of note came 23 minutes in when Alan Thompson, obviously affected by the red hot temperatures, scythed into Nacho Novo and was duly given his marching orders. Eleven minutes later Dado Prso had Rangers in front, and they would never surrender that lead. Thomas Buffel doubled their advantage six minutes into the second half and that appeared to be that. Shaun Maloney did convert from the spot with four minutes remaining, but that appeared to be a minor blot on the Gers' copybook. There was still plenty more action to come, though, with Novo coolly crashing home a penalty of his own as the game ticked towards a conclusion. Even the final whistle failed to bring a halt to proceedings, though, as Neil Lennon saw a red card flashed in his face following a particularly heated discussion with the referee. Rangers supporters went home happy, while the Hoops departed with their blood still boiling.

2008 - Celtic 2 Rangers 1

We will wrap up our Top Ten derbies with a flurry of confrontations from the past 18 months. First up is Celtic's nail-biting 2-1 victory on home soil in April 2008. The game followed much the same sort of trend as many of its predecessors, with a tight encounter seemingly set to end all square. Shunsuke Nakamura put the Hoops on their way inside 20 minutes and they would remain in control until shortly after half-time. Nacho Novo, who always seems to be at the forefront of proceedings during these games, hauled Rangers level five minutes after the break and appeared to have secured a share of the spoils. Celtic, though, had other ideas and stole all three points in stoppage-time when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink bagged a late, late winner. Rangers slumped back across town with their tail between their legs, while Celtic had found much-needed momentum at a crucial stage of the season.

2008 - Celtic 3 Rangers 2

Just 11 days after crashing to that agonising defeat at Parkhead, Rangers were back on Celtic territory for what was, to all intents and purposes, a winner-takes-all title decider. With so few games remaining, and with the title race too close to call, the victor in this contest was expected to go on to take the crown. So it proved, with the Hoops going on to finish in top spot for the third consecutive year. Gordon Strachan's side were pushed all the way though in the final grudge match of the campaign. Scott McDonald offered them the perfect start inside four minutes, but David Weir and Daniel Cousin swing the tie in favour of the visitors with half an hour gone. McDonald equalised shortly before half-time and the second period was set perfectly. It failed to replicate the entertainment value of the first, but a Barry Robson penalty was enough to see Celtic over the line, in more ways than one.

2008 - Celtic 2 Rangers 4

The third instalment from a thrilling era in the history of this long-running feud sees yet another Old Firm contest produce six goals - amazing how many times that has happened. On this occasion there were also two red cards thrown into the mix for good measure. A lively, yet unspectacular, first half took 37 minutes to get going, before Daniel Cousin and Georgios Samaras notched for either side. Kenny Miller, a former Bhoys star, then got Rangers' nose in front before Pedro Mendes had the away support in raptures. Miller grabbed his second of the game 11 minutes from time, ensuring a late effort from Shunsuke Nakamura was nothing more than a consolation. It is also worth nothing that by that stage both teams were down to 10 men, with Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink - who managed just four minutes on the field - and Cousin having being dismissed within seconds of each other as the game entered the final 15 minutes.

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