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Celtic 2-1 Rangers: Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo stunners secure win against 10-player Gers in Old Firm clash

Report as Celtic move eight points clear of Rangers; goals from Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo Furuhashi secured their second Old Firm win of the season; Leon Balogun was sent off before James Tavernier scored a consolation; it was Philippe Clement's first defeat as Rangers manager

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Highlights from the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers.

Celtic ended Philippe Clement's unbeaten Rangers' record to move eight clear of their Old Firm rivals after a frantic encounter at Parkhead.

The pressure was on Brendan Rodgers' side with their Old Firm rivals closing in on them at the top of the Scottish Premiership, but goals from Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo Furuhashi either side of the break secured the win.

Leon Balogun was shown a straight red card for hauling down Dazien Maeda as he raced through on goal as Rangers' frustrations showed.

Captain James Tavernier's stunning free-kick pulled a goal back for the visitors, but it was too little too late.

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates after scoring to make it 2-0 vs Rangers
Image: Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates after scoring to make it 2-0 vs Rangers

Rodgers has never lost to Celtic's fiercest rivals at home while Rangers, who have two games in hand, once again lose ground in title race.

How Celtic reasserted title control

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 30: Celtic...s Paulo Bernardo celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 Celtic during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park, on December 30, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Image: Paulo Bernardo opened the scoring for Celtic

The Celtic fans were on their feet early on as Kyogo Furuhashi picked up a ball from the left, but Jack Butland tipped his shot round the post for a corner which Rangers then cleared.

Rangers then went on the attack and Ross McCausland sent in a low cross which Joe Hart saved before efforts from Cyriel Dessers and Todd Cantwell were blocked.

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Stephen Welsh started in place of injured defender Cameron Carter-Vickers for Celtic. Reo Hatate and Liel Abada were named on the bench as they return from injury.

Rangers defender Connor Goldson was fit to start despite being forced off at Motherwell. Philippe Clement made one change with John Lundstram replacing Kieran Dowell.

It was then back to Celtic as Luis Palma then whipped in a lovely ball for Paulo Bernardo who headed it just wide of Butland's far post.

Kyogo's blushes were then saved by the offside flag as he failed to connect with Daizen Maeda's cross as the hosts pushed for an opener.

Bernardo then let rip from 20-yards as his powerful strike rippled the side net, then minutes later he took his chance as Celtic Park erupted.

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Celtic took the lead thanks to a crisp volley from Paulo Bernardo

A corner was whipped in after Greg Taylor's effort was deflected over the bar, it was cleared as far as the Portuguese midfielder caught the ball beautifully, leaving Butland with no chance.

Dessers then had a brilliant chance to equalise as he robbed Welsh, but the Rangers forward took too long, allowing Alistair Johnston to clear.

Player ratings

Celtic: Hart (6), A. Johnston (6), Welsh (3), Scales (7), Taylor (7), McGregor (8), O’Riley (7), Bernardo (8), Maeda (7), Palma (7), Kyogo (8)

Subs: Nawrocki (7), Turnbull (5), M. Johnston (n/a), Oh (n/a), Abada (n/a)

Rangers: Butland (6), Tavernier (7), Goldson (6), Balogun (5), Yilmaz, Lundstram (7), Sterling (7), McCausland (7), Cantwell (6), Sima (6), Dessers (6)

Subs: Dowell (4), Wright (4), Souttar (6)

Player of the match: Callum McGregor

Welsh was immediately replaced by Maik Nawrocki after injuring his shoulder as he attempted to clear the ball.

Rangers had more chances through McCausland and Todd Cantwell before they thought they had won a penalty after Johnston appeared to handle the ball in the box. Referee Nick Walsh was not even called to the monitor with Abdallah Sima judged to be offside in the build-up.

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Kyogo Furuhashi's stunning strike puts Celtic in control in the Old Firm against Rangers at Parkhead

Celtic doubled their lead just after half time, and in some style. O'Riley found Kyogo on the edge of the box and the striker sent a curling strike into the top corner.

Dessers again passed up a chance for Rangers before Celtic duo Johnston and Bernardo were lucky to avoid second bookings for late challenges.

Rangers' afternoon then went from bad to worse as Leon Balogun was shown a straight red for hauling down Maeda as he raced in on goal.

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Rangers defender Leon Balogun is shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Daizen Maeda

Rodgers' side continued to press. Butland denied David Turnbull minutes after he came on, with the Rangers stopper also keeping Kyogo and Palma at bay.

James Tavernier pulled a goal back late on, his powerful free-kick leaving Hart helpless in the Celtic goal. But it was too little too late as Rangers suffered their second Old Firm defeat of the season.

Rodgers: An important win

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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says his side showed their 'strong' mentality after holding on to beat Old Firm rivals Rangers 2-1 at Parkhead.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers on Sky Sports:

"Very important win for us, December has a lot of games. The atmosphere was fantastic. The players did well on the surface, which was difficult I have to say, and we scored two very good goals.

"My only downside was when we were playing against 10 men then we have to play better than that and keep our positioning better.

"We have to have that synchronisation again and we went a bit solo, gave the ball away too many times.

"Callum [McGregor] is on a different level. I've worked with him here the first time, I see him here and we're very lucky to have someone like him.

"He's an absolutely brilliant leader from this group. I'm pleased to have him as a manager.

"It's still such a long way to go, it's nice for the confidence the players. You win at Ibrox, you win here. The second half of the season will get better.

"I'm delighted for the supporters, I sensed a bit of anticipation ahead of this game."

Clement questions officials after Old Firm defeat

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Rangers manager says he was pleased with his side's performance despite defeat to Celtic but questions a number of decisions from the officials and VAR that didn't go their way.

Rangers boss Philippe Clement:

The result is not good of course because you want to win. We had more shots than Celtic today. We played 15 minutes with 10 players, and that was the right decision, it's a red card.

"But I have other questions also about, why not a handball in the first half to get a penalty? It's a handball. Why not a second yellow card for some tackles and then at the end of the game a lot of yellow cards? A few strange decisions in that way.

"But I'm focused on my team today and what they performed. We did a lot of good things, they were brave on the ball and showed quality, that they created enough chances. We were not decisive enough in our finishing today and they were really decisive, the second goal was a really quality goal.

"You can lose games, it can happen, if the team shows this quality, even with 10 men when we were pushing and creating chances and even scoring a goal.

"There's not much negative to say about my team, a few actions we could have done better, that is clear. Today, from where we were two months ago, it's a big difference.

"The decision was not made about an offside, the decision of no penalty was made about the handball. That was the decision. So that was a strange decision for me."

What's next?


Celtic's next Scottish Premiership match is at St Mirren on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 5pm.

Rangers' next Scottish Premiership match is at home to Kilmarnock on Tuesday. Kick-off 3pm.

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