Rangers 0-2 Celtic: Odsonne Edouard and Jonny Hayes settle Old Firm clash
Report as Neil Lennon gets better of Steven Gerrard in rivals' first meeting of 2019/20
By Allan Valente at Ibrox
Last Updated: 02/09/19 11:06am
Goals from Odsonne Edouard and Jonny Hayes settled the first Old Firm clash of the season as Celtic beat Rangers 2-0 at Ibrox.
The win moves Celtic three points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership table and ends Rangers' 12-game unbeaten run at the start of the new campaign.
Edouard gave his side the lead after 32 minutes following a mistake from Connor Goldson and, despite Rangers improving on a lacklustre display after the break, they could not find an equaliser before substitute Hayes finished off the scoring in injury-time.
Rangers: McGregor (7), Tavernier (5), Goldson (5), Katic (6), Flanagan (6), Jack (6), Davis (6), Kamara (5), Aribo (6), Arfield (5), Defoe (5).
Subs: King (NA), Helander (NA), Ojo (N/A), Foderingham (N/A), Morelos (N/A), Jones (1), Barisic (N/A).
Celtic: Forster (7), Elhamed, (6) Jullien (7), Bitton (7) Bolingoli Mbombo (7), Brown (7), McGregor (6), Forrest (6), Christie (6), Johnston (7), Edouard (8)
Subs: Gordon (NA), Griffiths (N/A), Bayo (N/A), Bauer (N/A), Hayes (6), Morgan (N/A), Ntcham (N/A)
Man of the match: Odsonne Edouard
How Celtic triumphed to open early gap
Steven Gerrard decided to start with Jermain Defoe up front instead of Alfredo Morelos and Rangers struggled to carve out any real openings in the opening period before Edouard struck.
Critics had questioned Celtic's defensive capabilities coming into this match but Neil Lennon's side were compact and quick to snuff out any danger early on.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between throughout the opening 45 minutes as the visitors started the brighter. Ryan Christie was the first to try his luck from range but his effort from the edge of the box sailed just over the bar.
- Rangers: Steven Gerrard made a big call by leaving Alfredo Morelos on the bench and opting to start with Jermain Defoe. He pushed Joe Aribo up to start with Scott Arfield, while Glen Kamara came into midfield.
- Celtic: Fraser Forster returned in goal for Celtic after their midweek European win, while new loan signing from Stoke Moritz Bauer started on the bench.
Gerrard's decision to play Glen Kamara, Ryan Jack and Steven Davis, supporting Scott Arfield and Joe Aribo further forward, meant Rangers struggled for width and Celtic capitalised by being compact on the edge of their box, not allowing the hosts any space.
Defoe did manage to get into the box after a ball through from Aribo but was denied by a last-gasp tackle before he could shoot.
The opening goal came out of nowhere as Mikey Johnston pounced on a mistake by Goldson to set Edouard away and he finished coolly under the oncoming Allan McGregor.
Rangers tried to hit back immediately but struggled to break down a stubborn Celtic backline as James Tavernier's cut-back failed to find anyone in the box.
Sheyi Ojo replaced Kamara at the interval as Rangers sought to find more space out wide and his early effort forced a save from Celtic 'keeper Fraser Forster at his near post.
Morelos was introduced on the hour-mark and immediately blazed a powerful shot just wide before Aribo's effort was saved by Forster.
Rangers' passing let them down and Celtic looked dangerous picking up loose balls and driving forward. Edouard and substitute Olivier Ntcham had efforts saved by McGregor as Celtic broke with purpose.
Rangers were then hit on the counter-attack late in stoppage-time as they chased the game. Hayes burst out from the back and cut inside before his first effort was saved by McGregor, but he made no mistake with the follow-up to slot the ball into the empty net and seal the three points for Celtic.
Tensions boiled over at the end for the hosts as substitute Jordan Jones was shown a straight red card for a late foul on Moritz Bauer.
Man of the match - Odsonne Edouard
A constant threat for Celtic, and he took his goal superbly well. It was his fifth goal in seven Old Firm games and his composure was again telling on the big occasion.
Steven Gerrard: "Our performance collectively and individually wasn't good enough to win a derby. I'm part of that so I'll take as much responsibility that comes my way.
"To win these games we have to win more one-v-ones than the opposition but I think there's only one player who can hold his head up high and that's Jon Flanagan.
"I don't think Celtic outplayed us they just pressed us hard and were effective in their game-plan. We couldn't handle their direct play."
Neil Lennon: "I'm so proud. I'm proud of the team. I thought it was another outstanding performance. Everyone has written us off. We've had a difficult couple of weeks.
"Myself, the board, the players have all been written off so early. But we don't believe the noise. We don't believe the hype. We've come here and performed an outstanding masterclass of how to play in a derby at Ibrox."
Kris Commons: "It was possibly one of the easiest games Celtic have had at Ibrox, especially considering the last two times they have come here. I don't think Fraser Forster would have had an easier clean sheet than that in his career. It was dominating from Celtic."
Kris Boyd: "It was a disappointing afternoon from a Rangers point of view. Stevie Gerrard will be annoyed with that performance because all the pressure was on Celtic. They're the champions and given their performances the last two times, they were under pressure to come here and perform. They've answered all those questions, they've came and left with the three points."
Celtic travel to Hamilton on Saturday September 14 when the Scottish Premiership resumes after the international break. Rangers host Livingston on the same day.