By Richard Morgan
Football journalist - @Richiereds1976
Celtic 2-1 Rangers: James Forrest's late strike beats 10-man Gers in fiery Old Firm derby
Alfredo Morelos sent off for fifth time this season, before Andy Halliday also sees red after the full-time whistle
Last Updated: 01/04/19 12:20am
James Forrest's late strike saw Celtic beat 10-man Rangers 2-1 at Parkhead as the champions moved one step closer to retaining their Scottish Premiership title after a bad-tempered Old Firm derby on Sunday.
Celtic made the breakthrough after 27 minutes when Odsonne Edouard ran half the length of the field, before scoring his fourth goal in just five Old Firm appearances.
Rangers' task became that much harder when key man Alfredo Morelos was sent off for the fifth time this season (although the first of those was later rescinded) after he elbowed Scott Brown.
Celtic: Bain (6), Lustig (6), Boyata (6), Ajern(6), Tierney (7), Brown (7), Ntcham (7), McGregor (7), Forrest (7), Hayes (7), Edouard (9)
Subs: Sinclair (7), Rogic (7), Toljan (6)
Rangers: McGregor (8), Tavernier (6), Goldson (6), McCrorie (6), Worrall (6), Arfield (6), Jack (7), Halliday (6), Candeias (6), Morelos (3), Kent (8)
Subs: Kamara (6), Defoe (6), Davis (6)
Man of the match: Odsonne Edouard
But against the run of play, on-loan Liverpool midfielder Ryan Kent equalised for the visitors after 63 minutes with his sixth goal of the season, only for Forrest to win it at the death (86).
Further drama followed as Kent was lucky to escape a red for pushing Brown in the face in the immediate aftermath of Celtic's winner, before Andy Halliday picked up a second yellow in the tunnel following a melee on the pitch at the final whistle.
Morelos sees red again
Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos picked up his fifth red card of the season (though one was rescinded) after an off-the-ball incident involving Celtic captain Scott Brown. Three of his reds have come before half-time.
Celtic move 13 points clear of their city rivals after maintaining their unbeaten record at home in the league this season.
As is usually the case in clashes between these two fierce rivals, the contest began at a frantic pace, and Celtic - in control of proceedings right from the off - really should have taken an early lead.
Kieran Tierney rampaged down the left and his cross found the unmarked Olivier Ntcham, six yards out, only for Allan McGregor to deny the Frenchman with an excellent point-blank save.
It was one-way traffic before the interval as the visitors, looking to win back-to-back Old Firm derbies, were barely able to get out of their own half, with the almost inevitable Celtic opener coming just before the half-hour mark.
The move actually began with a Rangers free-kick inside the hosts' half, but within the blink of an eye, Celtic were on the attack as Edouard breezed past the attentions of Andy Halliday and Joe Worrall, before blasting the ball past McGregor.
If that was not bad enough for Steven Gerrard's team, then four minutes later Morelos compounded matters by reacting to some gentle provocation from Brown by elbowing the Celtic skipper, a reckless act not that did not go unnoticed by the referee's assistant.
Celtic made three changes as Dedryck Boyata replaced Jeremy Toljan in defence, while Michael Johntson and Scott Sinclair dropped out as Olivier Ntcham and Jonny Hayes came in to the side.
Meanwhile, Rangers made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Kilmarnock - Joe Worrall, Ross McCrorie, Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield all started. And that meant Nikola Katic, Glen Kamara, Steven Davis and Lassana Coulibaly all dropped out of the team.
From that point on, McGregor became an increasingly busy figure in the Glasgow sunshine, with the 37-year-old denying the likes of Tierney and substitute Scott Sinclair with brilliant stops either side of the break.
The home side were made to pay for that profligacy in front of goal though when Rangers levelled matters with their first shot on target in the game after good build-up involving Daniel Candeias and James Tavernier, before Kent took over to finish off the move with a fine run and finish.
It was actually Rangers who finished the stronger of the sides, with Ryan Jack going close to sealing a remarkable comeback win as Celtic, who had made all three substitutions, were also forced to play the closing stages with just 10 men after Dedryck Boyata picked up another hamstring injury.
However, just as the visitors thought they would leave Celtic Park with pride restored, Tavernier's misplaced pass was picked up by Callum McGregor, before Edouard set up Forrest for the winner.
Neil Lennon: "Brown's being caught by an elbow and then Kent's put his hands in his face. If anyone's got any complaints about provocation it's us.
"I thought it was scandalous that Kent stayed on the pitch and it's the only thing the referee (Bobby Madden) got wrong today."
Steven Gerrard: "You're playing against a player who loves to antagonise. Morelos and Kent are both provoked. Celtic fans have the right to celebrate but to do it right in your race, Halliday has the right to protect his own people.
"The guy who antagonised it all from the beginning deserves to be punished as well. When you're provoked, it's only fair that both sides get punished in my view.
"We've hurt ourselves badly this season with a lack of discipline. I've given my players the benefit of the doubt on too many times. Morelos has asked me for a chat, and that will be picked up.
"The gap was already big and it's even bigger now. The buck stops with me and I'm ready for that. We will move forward from this and try to finish the season as strong as we can."
Man of the Match - Odsonne Edouard
The Frenchman was the best player on the pitch at Parkhead on Sunday, scoring the opening goal, before creating James Forrest's late winner.
The 21-year-old joined the Scottish Premiership champions on a permanent deal from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, and that has proved to be an excellent decision by Celtic with the forward their top scorer so far this season.
And the striker's opener, after a brilliant solo run, now means he has netted four times in just five Old Firm appearances, including the winning goal at Ibrox in March 2018.
Kris Boyd: "He [Morelos] was asking for VAR, but it's probably good for him that there isn't VAR!
"It's a straight red - there's no defending him. It's incredible that someone who has performed this season, and is arguably the player of the season, has been sent off five times for stupid things. It's things he doesn't need to get involved in.
"I'm sick of hearing Rangers fans say he gets wound up. That's why they do it. It's a disgrace. Players throwing their arms about at this level, is a disgrace.
"Because there's nobody who can come in and replace him, he thinks he can get away with anything. Whenever he comes back from suspension, he's straight back into the XI."
Celtic travel to struggling St Mirren, while Rangers host Hearts at Ibrox, with both league matches taking place on Wednesday night.