Celtic extended a comfortable six-point lead over Rangers at the top of the Cinch Premiership with a 2-1 comeback win at Ibrox.
Loan ers midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored from close range in just three minutes in his first Old Firm game, but Hoops midfielder Tom Rogic equalized four minutes later and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers sent off the 700 fans who had travelled in ecstasy when he fired the visitors just before the break with a crucial goal in front.
With six games remaining, including another old firm game at Parkhead – as well as a Scottish Cup semi-final between the two Glasgow giants – Ange Postecoglou’s side are on course to bring the title back to the whole city, backed by a goal difference advantage of 16.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side meet Braga in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-finals in Portugal on Thursday – their boss Carlos Carvalhal watched from the stands – but their national ambitions suffered a major blow at the hands of their bitter rivals.
The home side had suffered serious injury damage ahead of the much-anticipated encounter at Govan.
Colombian striker and Gers top scorer Alfredo Morelos was absent with a muscle problem and was replaced by Kemar Roofe while Ramsey Glen replaced Kamara.
Postecoglou had promised to give it his all for the win but the Light Blues jumped out of the traps and Ramsey opened the scoring in the third minute when he slotted in a Ryan Kent cross after the wideman was put through by defender Calvin Bassey.
The Govan side rode into second place and a couple of dangerous deliveries shot over the Celtic gate.
But in the seventh minute, after Gers keeper Allan McGregor parried a 25-yard drive from Reo Hatate, Parkhead midfielder Rogic – who shook off a shot to play – returned the ball high into the net.
Celtic began to dominate and Rogic ended a fast move in the 25th minute by firing over the goal from 16 yards.
In the 33rd minute, Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo fell under pressure from defender Carl Starfelt in the box as he attempted a cross from James Tavernier, but referee Willie Collum ignored loud calls for penalties.
At the other end, McGregor thwarted Daizen Maeda when the Japanese attacker tried to circle the keeper in the box and Rogic’s follow-up shot from the loose ball caught Bassey, eventually eliminating the threat. Shortly thereafter, Celtic forward Giorgos Giakoumakis headed a Jota cross wide of the post.
McGregor ran out to block Maeda – this time Celtic called for a penalty – but a Hoops goal was in sight and three minutes from the break, when Rangers failed to clear Jota’s free-kick from the left, Carter-Vickers spun and drilled a left foot deep in the web.
The start of the second half was delayed when ground staff cleared glass from a broken bottle from the Celtic goal area, but as the game got underway the Light Blues looked to reassert themselves.
There was another penalty claim from Rangers when Ryan Jack’s cross hit Carter-Vickers, but play went on.
Matt O’Riley and Nir Bitton replaced Rogic and Hatate in Celtic midfield, while Ramsey and Jack made way for Fashion Sakala and Scott Arfield as tempers began to crumble.
Rangers were under pressure and in the 75th minute Celtic keeper Joe Hart saved a Sakala shot well.
Moments later, Jota’s Celtic substitute Liel Abada squandered a huge opportunity from Giakoumakis when he went wide from 10 yards. McGregor then tipped another Abada attempt over the bar.
Rangers came back and Roofe turned a Connor Goldson cross over the bar but in the end Celtic held on to victory that could prove crucial.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/other-soccer/celtic-take-huge-step-towards-regaining-premiership-title-with-comeback-win-over-rangers-at-ibrox-41516411.html Celtic take a big step towards regaining the Premiership title with comeback win over Rangers at Ibrox