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Celtic vs Rangers: Top 3 Old Firm derbies in recent years

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Scottish football might not be considered great but the names of two Glasgow-based clubs have kept ringing in and around every football fan’s ears. The rivalry between Celtic and Rangers goes way back to the 19th century, with the first match between the two clubs being played in the year 1888.

The competitive edge has only increased over the years, and in spite of the Gers finding themselves in deep trouble, being relegated to the fourth tier of Scottish football back at the end of the 2011/12 season after the club entered liquidation, the Celtic supporters haven’t been forgiving in nature.

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Rangers though weren’t a club who would take the humiliation easily and fought their way back, earning three promotions over the course of the next four years to reach the Scottish Premiership under former manager Mark Warburton in the 2016-17 season.

However, Celtic fans and officials have refused to refer their matches against Rangers as the “Old Firm” derby, following the Ibrox outfit’s relegation in 2012, and have used the term “Glasgow derby” instead.  The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) also agreed with Celtic and referred to the first derby of the 2018-19 season as the “Glasgow derby” in spite of the disapproval of the Rangers supporters.

Over the course of the last decade, the chances of the two Scottish giants sides meeting each other were limited, owing to the crisis at Ibrox. However, the adrenaline has run high in the build-up to every game that was played between the clubs. So, here is a list of the top three meetings between Celtic and Rangers in the last decade.

#1 Rangers 2-2 (4-5 on penalties) Celtic: Scottish Cup semi-final, 2016

Date: 17th April 2016

Goalscorers: Rangers: Miller (16’), McKay (96’)–Celtic: Sviatchenko(50’) Rogic (106’)

After losing 2-0 to Celtic in the Scottish League Cup the previous year, Mark Warburton’s side were desperate to put up a fight in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup in April 2016.

After the match ended 1-1 in normal time, both sides found the back of the net in extra-time to take it to the penalties. Celtic’s Tom Rogic, who had scored the vital goal in extra-time to level things up, failed to convert his spot-kick, sending it high and wide, and thus handing their Glasgow rivals a spot in the final of the tournament.

Emotions ran high after the match with Warburton telling reporters:

“I read some outrageous reports about how many Celtic would score and how it would be a cricket score. Well, hopefully, we have shown the gap is a lot narrower.”

Former Rangers manager Mark Warburton

Although Rangers failed to capitalize on the momentum and eventually lost the final 2-3 to Hibernian the following month, it was still a statement of intent from a side who were still in the Championship at that point of time. The Gers earned promotion back to the Premiership at the end of the same season.

#2 Celtic 5-1 Rangers: Scottish Premiership, 2016  

Date: 10th September 2016

Goalscorers: Celtic: Dembele (33’, 42’, 83’), Sinclair (61’), Armstrong (90’+2’)–Rangers: Garner (44’)

It was Moussa Dembele who turned out to be the main architect behind Rangers’ undoing in the first league derby in over four years.  A lot had been said and written in the lead-up to the match, but when it came to the players performing their job on the pitch, the newly promoted Glasgow-giants simply failed to hold their nerves and deliver.

Things turned from bad to worse when Rangers defender Philippe Senderos was sent off for a second booking in the 75th minute. The defending champions added two more and could have scored more had Wes Foderingham not made some crucial saves.

Following the defeat, Rangers manager Mark Warburton did whatever he could to lift the spirits of his team.

“I’m not understating the importance of the result, don’t get me wrong for one second but no one’s died.”

Mark Warburton

However, for the passionate home support, the damage had already been made.

#3 Rangers 1-0 Celtic: Scottish Premiership, 2018

Date: 29th December 2018

Goalscorers: Rangers: Jack (30’)

It was Ryan Jack’s 30th-minute strike that proved to be the difference between the two sides in the final game before the winter break in the 2018-19 campaign. The win stands out among the others because of the fact that it was Rangers’ first win against their mighty rivals since returning to the Premiership. It was also Steven Gerrard’s first derby win as a manager, and Brendan Rodgers’ first loss in 13 Old Firm games.

Much had been said about Rangers’ inability to win against their fierce rivals, and pressure had already been building on the former Liverpool player to take three points away from Celtic. Although the win couldn’t help Rangers from preventing Celtic to their seventh successive league title, it showed that the Gers were worthy challengers.

It was a fully deserved victory for Rangers, with the hosts dominating possession and enjoying more shots on goal at Ibrox against their local rivals.

After the match, Gerrard dedicated the famous win to the Rangers fans. 

“This moment is all about the supporters, they’ve been through a lot and they’ve been punished in these fixtures.”

Steven Gerrard

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