Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic once again underlined their Old Firm superiority as they claimed a 2-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win over Rangers at Ibrox.
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There was an angry exchange between Leigh Griffiths and his manager midway through the second half. The striker had got himself involved in some niggle with Josh Windass and Brendan Rodgers wanted him to press the reset button and focus on the game.
By that stage Celtic had made the breakthrough but, as they sought out a second, decisive goal, the Parkhead manager was calling for calm heads and cool hearts, something that is not easy in the heat of a Glasgow derby. It is even more difficult for a player like Griffiths, who continues to taunt and tantalise in equal measure.
Having initially bitten back, the Scotland international eventually raised his hands in submission. Rangers eventually did likewise.
Few had backed them to do any better in the fixture than they did last season. Five wins for Celtic and one draw were ample evidence of the champions’ superiority and contributed to an unbeaten domestic run that has now stretched to 57 games.
It had also, according to Rodgers, left a few scars. It there were old wounds, Tom Rogic sliced them open with a 50th-minute goal to silence the home crowd and leave Celtic partying. Then Griffiths got himself back in his manager’s good books with a second to make sure of the points. As his angled drive hit the back of the net, he wheeled away, picking up a Celtic scarf to whirl over his head as he ran past the home fans where he was joined by ecstatic team-mates.
It was 500 days exactly since the treble winners last lost a domestic tussle and the celebration demonstrated their joy that they would not be suffering their next defeat at the hand of their city rivals.
Celtic had started at full pelt, swarming all over their hosts in an attempt to grab an early opener.
Rogic was first to strike, but his first-minute effort was tipped over the bar by Wes Foderingham. Sensing the need to get a foothold, as Patrick Roberts ran riot and Celtic threatened to camp out in the Rangers half, Ryan Jack made a robust tackle that felled the on-loan Manchester City winger and could have earned him a booking. Later in the game it probably would have been a caution but referee Craig Thomson was reticent to flash cards too early in a game that always has a combustible quality. There was little respite for Rangers in that opening period. Missing key defenders, with Bruno Alves, captain Lee Wallace and Danny Wilson all injured, the makeshift rearguard was placed under severe pressure but with an impressive display from 19-year-old Ross McCrorie, it stood firm.
At the other end, Rangers were shooting themselves in the foot as Alfredo Morelos was foolishly and consistently caught offside. Then, when the striker was through in the 16th minute, he was denied by Jozo Simunovic. There were appeals for a penalty but Thomson kept matters moving.
Roberts was dancing past players at the other end but still the end product was lacking from Celtic. Griffiths came close in the 23rd minute but, after bringing a long ball down on his chest, his strike on the turn was saved by Foderingham.
With things getting meatier in the midfield, Graham Dorrans took joy in turning both Scott Brown and Roberts but his 25-yard shot was wayward.
The in-rushing Morelos was inches from stealing a lead in the 31st minute but couldn’t quite get to James Tavernier’s long ball to the back post.
The frustration for the guests was that it took until the 50th minute for them to finally break through. It came from a scrappy corner which Rangers couldn’t clear and it was Rogic who reacted to finally send the ball high into Foderingham’s net.
But the game was far from done. A Celtic fan was huckled away after a flare was thrown on to the pitch and narrowly missed the Rangers keeper, while Morelos forced a fantastic, reaction save from Craig Gordon at point-blank range in the 55th minute. The striker then flattened him in a later challenge.
But the key moment came in the 65th minute when Griffiths scored the second. It offered Rangers no way back.