Celtic now hold an eight-point lead at the summit of the Scottish Premiership following their 2-1 triumph over bitter rivals Rangers in the second Old Firm derby of the season.
Goals from Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo Furuhashi secured the victory for Brendan Rodgers’ side. Rangers’ Philippe Clement suffered his first defeat in the Ibrox since replacing Michael Beale at the hot seat, marking the 17th match of his tenure. Although Rangers have two games in hand, the momentum in the title race has shifted towards their rivals.
Celtic faced defensive challenges in the absence of Cameron Carter-Vickers, and while Stephen Welsh initially replaced him, he succumbed to injury after 35 minutes, making way for Maik Nawrocki. Rangers, despite the pre-match injury doubts surrounding Connor Goldson and John Lundstram, couldn’t overcome the defending champions at Celtic Park.
In the absence of away fans due to an allocation dispute, Rangers faced a significant challenge against Celtic.
Despite Clement’s unbeaten run of 16 games since taking over, the injury-hit Rangers fell behind as Bernardo capitalized on Sima’s weak clearance. Rangers had chances to level, including a penalty claim checked by VAR, but offside in the build-up ruled it out.
Celtic extended their lead early in the second half with Furuhashi’s precise strike. Despite Balogun’s red card for fouling Maeda, Tavernier’s late free-kick narrowed the gap, setting the stage for a tense finish with 11 minutes of stoppage time.
Reacting to the game, Premier League legend, Chris Sutton heaped praise on Kyogo’s display at Celtic Park while lambasting people for underrating his performance. He tweeted: Certain people have been quick to write Kyogo off👀… fools🤣🤣👏👏
Certain people have been quick to write Kyogo off👀… fools🤣🤣👏👏 https://t.co/0HMc3Rs2CN
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) December 30, 2023
Celtic’s lethal goalscorer, Furuhashi, showcased his goal-scoring prowess once again by curling in a sublime second from 20 yards less than two minutes into the restart.
His magnificent strike proved to be the decisive factor in this thrilling Old Firm derby, earning massive plaudits from the Hoops faithful.
Furuhashi, now with seven goals in the last seven games against Rangers, left a lasting impression with this exceptional goal, leaving Jack Butland with no chance.
Receiving accolades as the talisman, Furuhashi made way for Hyun-Gyu Oh, capping off a remarkable performance.
Celtic’s upcoming fixture is away at St Mirren on January 2, while Rangers will face Kilmarnock at home before the league takes a three-week break.
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